Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Reader's Block

I have been suffering from a form of Reader's Block for about 18 months, since my husband started working in London. I always read a book at bedtime before, but once he was gone, I couldn't finish any book, let alone get started. I read magazines and newspapers instead while watching TV. I went to sleep thinking about my buddies on Lost (which I can't watch anymore now that it's on Sky), Prison Break, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, House, Ugly Betty.

Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm lonely, and these TV characters help me feel not so lonely. But I also get involved in the characters, as I do in a good book. I love the feeling of reading a good book, one I can't wait to read again, can't put down while I am reading, and miss when it's finished. It's like falling in love, and it's been awhile since I had that feeling. Some books that made me feel that way are "The Corrections" and "Alias Grace". Also, anything by Annie Prouilx. But where is the love now? My bedroom, indeed my house, is full of books I've started and not finished or haven't started at all. I thought I'd enjoy reading Alan Bennett's "Untold Stories." It lies spreadeagled on the floor, open to page 167. I thought I'd like Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay." Same story again.

I have read books over the past 18 months, crime fiction or something lighthearted like "Queen Camilla". But these books feel like one-night stands: OK while it lasts but nothing memorable. I'm thinking I might try Don DeLillo's latest when it comes out in paperback. Only thing is I've never liked any other Don DeLillo book.

I used to belong to a book group, which was peopled with very worthy, intellectual types -- and me. They wanted to read about science (I'm starting to gag even as I write this) and other Mensa-style topics. I wanted to read what I wanted to read. Two of the women totally intimidated me with their Firsts in English from Oxford and Cambridge. I finally left the group when the hirsute one from Cambridge made a rather snide remark that the U.S. deserved what happened on 9/11. It's like your family: you can criticize them all you want, but nobody else can.

Anyway, I read in the Guardian yesterday that some people are starting up TV groups. Great, I thought. We can talk about the mindless crap I love to watch. No, that's not what they talk about. They talk about how different networks cover the news, wildlife programs, how programs are put together. Yes, that does sound interesting. But what about Meredith Grey and Dr. Shepherd? Is Gabbie going to marry Vincent? Will House have to go into rehab?

So, I will keep an eye out for a book that will consume me and finish off my latest crime fiction. And just keep reading -- and watching.


Snuffleupagus said...

So does that mean that you are American? You need to add to your profile that you are an 'exotic' desperate housewife then. I know exactly what you mean about the television characters. I love Meredith and all her buddies. And House... well, I missed a few episodes and then got lost a bit, returning to find him an addict?? I was shocked! And yes, me too, I lost Lost to Sky. And then I got Sky recently but they had moved so far ahead that I have now resolved to simply buy the box set.

Yes, being lonely can make you an ardent television fan.

I am afraid I cannot recommend any books to you. But I am sure the love of fiction will return. Just give it time. I hear that Grey's will soon deteriorate (my North American friends tell me) and no doubt the other American TV nonsense will also disappear and then you will have no choice but to turn back to your beloved stories.

Take heart that you are not the only one out there without a life (Well actually I think you probably have one - I'm the one who doesn't!)And not all of us are married! Ha!

Omega Mum said...

Get a TV group started. You can guarantee that the hairy Oxbridge crowd will think it's beneath them. Go for it.

lady macleod said...

Take your enjoyment where you can find it. I dare say you are not alone. As a matter of fact just downstairs on Q's desk are the season DVDs of Grey's Anatomy - and it was her grandmother who got her hooked! I am a movies and books girl myself. Once a reader, always a reader. I have no doubt your ability to read and love a good book will return. It could just be a hormonal flux?

I thank you for your kind words to me yesterday. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

So nice to know there are fellow Grey's addicts. I didn't think I'd like it, but I quite fancy some of the men (always important and why I miss Lost so much). Yes, Snuffy, I am an American ex-pat, but I'm not sure about "exotic." Omega, I just might do that. Lady M., I'm thinking of you.