Why can’t I read?
Well, it’s official. I can’t read. I am experiencing a reading slump. Actually, it isn’t a complete reading slump, it’s a fiction reading slump. This is odd for me for a couple of reasons. One: I am a primarily fiction reader – 2 out of the 75 books I read last year were non-fiction. Two: I love to read. I read whenever I can. So, why can’t I read?
Since, the beginning of January, I have read the following:
- Finished Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (audiobook started in December)
- Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poetry)
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers (inspirational)
- The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (poetry – audiobook)
- The Sewing Book by Alison Smith (non-fiction – 400 pages)
But, we are heading into the second week of January and I have barely started my book club book! Right now, I have no urge to pick it up. I missed reading aloud to my students on Wednesday and Thursday (what?!). And, during silent reading, I am distracted by watching my students read (huh?). I just can’t make myself read.
Take today for example, first, I checked out Facebook. Then, I read emails, made my next moves on Scrabble, skimmed headlines on my Google cards, and watched sewing tutorials on Youtube. When I had drained my coffee cup, I looked at my book and my book looked at me. I looked at it longer and it just sat there looking all “Ahem” I and sat there “Nah”. What’s with that! Now, I am down in my husband’s office writing this post when usually I would have been lost in a book since 5:30 am when my alarm went off.
You’re probably thinking, “Maybe it isn’t the book for you” which is a fair thought based on what you know about me. But in actuality, this is the perfect book for me. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles has been getting really good reviews on my FB group page and Goodreads. But, I can’t bring myself to read it. It’s historical fiction which makes up the majority of my reading each year.
Here’s the summary from the back of the book and it’s just what I’d pick out for myself.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Okay, so what would I say to someone who told me all this? I’d probably say that reading slumps happen to everyone now and then. I remind them that it’s okay to enjoy other hobbies and activities. Perhaps, audiobooks and non-fiction are the break you need from the steady stream of fiction you’ve been reading. Even though reading can take you away from the thoughts and worries in your life, maybe there are too many that are getting in the way. Just cut yourself some lack, forget about book club timelines and enjoy whatever it is you are doing. The slump will end eventually. This is good advice and it’s the advice most bookish people would give you.
After having written the above paragraph, I went in search of advice elsewhere in the booknerdish realms of the internet. That’s when I found an article by Sarah Mecham, at Book Cave called: 19 Ways to Beat a Reading Slump. So, it seems that I am working on suggestions 1 and 19 right now. I might try a screen break and continue on with my non-fiction titles for now. It will make me a bit antsy leaving my book club book til later on but I’ll see how I feel in the next few days. I only have 430 pages to go…