I probably would never have though of calling it this, even though it is a phenomenon I know well. If you’re any kind of regular reader, you’ve lived through this.
You all know me, I love to read. LOVE to read. I read more than pretty much anyone you know (I’m assuming a bit there) but there are simply times when I do not read. There are many reasons for it, life, busy, movie, television, no good books, tired, you name it. However, sometimes there is no reason at all. For no fathomable reason, I will just stop reading and have no desire to do so. It’s that last part that scares me some. I LOVE reading.
With everything happening with my mom, August/September, typically prime reading months for me, have been remarkably low. The thing is, I’ve carved out time, but I haven’t wanted to read. It was just one more thing and I was not remotely in the mood.
Then, about a week ago, I was looking for something online and read an article called, “The Reasons I Don’t Read: Causes of the Dreaded Book Slump” and I was blown away. Before I got to the end of the article I started to wonder if I’d been sleep posting again, because I thought I actually wrote this. It was like this author reached inside my head and wrote down what I’d been thinking without ever realizing I’d been thinking about it. (Seriously, read the article, it’s not long, and it sounds like I wrote it. But I didn’t. Turns out, a GUY wrote it. Go figure that one.)
My favorite line, very apropos for life lately, is this, “Life, on the whole, is infinitely preferable to the alternative…but despite that, I swear life spends fully half its time wearing big boots, trying to kick you squarely in the side of the head.” Amen.
I have lived, felt and dealt with every single one of these at various times. Sometimes all in the same month. Reading isn’t a science. It’s an art. And with most art, it is creative and beautiful and vexing and tempermental and refreshing and unique; and sometimes I don’t understand it at all. That’s how reading is to me. To readers. I love it wholly, but I don’t always like it and I don’t always understand it, and sometimes I want no part of it. But most of the time, I just want to immerse myself in it and never surface again.
That’s how I am as a reader. And I am a reader. There’s no doubt about that.
I’ve even got the photographic evidence to prove it.
Yes, I am a reader, but I don’t always want to read, and that surprises people, including me. But there can be just as many reasons to start again as there are to stop. For instance, in the 90s and early 2000s, I was an historical romance reader. I basically read every historical romance written during this period. After a while, I grew bored with the genre. For the past…..10 years?….I haven’t read hardly any books in that genre. On occasion, an author I adore (I’m looking at you Julia Quinn) will publish a book and I will read it even if it is historical romance. But I haven’t actively sought out books in this genre in a decade or more. Then, last weekend, I watched the movie Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, from 1996. I saw this movie in the theater with Elena, when we were in high school. We loved it because it was like the books we loved come to life. And last weekend, after I watched it, I was suddenly in the mood to read historical romance again.
Out of the blue. After more than a decade.
So I did. I’ve actually read several of them over the past week, remembered why I liked them, and why I stopped reading them all at once. But it broke my slump. Watching a movie broke my reading slump…there may be some irony creeping in there.
And why am I telling you this? Because sometimes I have these thoughts and I don’t know what to do with them. So I blog. You may not care, but I promise you, a year or more from now, I’ll want to remember I felt this way, I’ll want to reread that article, I’ll find this fascinating. I will find myself agreeing, all over again, with what I’ve written here.
Book slumps happen, even to the best of us. It may be it’s just part of the process, part of what I go through, as a reader. A lover of books and stories and words and language.