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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 2:11   #1
bill
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Default I Can't Read

Seriously, I'm in a reading funk. I honestly feel like I'm having an off year, because outside of my run on Philip Roth books earlier, I feel like I've struggled to stay interested in just about everyhing I've read, including the books I've liked.

But this happens periodically. I hate it, but it happens. Does it happen to the rest of you? How do you break out of it? I feel like there's one book in my collection that will set me right, but I don't know what it is.

Erg. I'm frustrated, and I feel like a lump.
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 2:55   #2
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Default Re: I Can't Read

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Seriously, I'm in a reading funk. I honestly feel like I'm having an off year, because outside of my run on Philip Roth books earlier, I feel like I've struggled to stay interested in just about everyhing I've read, including the books I've liked.

But this happens periodically. I hate it, but it happens. Does it happen to the rest of you? How do you break out of it? I feel like there's one book in my collection that will set me right, but I don't know what it is.

Erg. I'm frustrated, and I feel like a lump.
I keep a "trustworthy" pile for when I get into that kind of funk -- mainly books that I have already read more than once that I know I will be happy to go back to, with a couple of authors who would be classed as recent positive discoveries for me.

Alas, a glance at your list shows we don't have much in common so my pile is not of much use to you. Since you liked Roth, maybe Salinger's Glass family stories -- three short volumes that would give you an option?
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 7:27   #3
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Default Re: I Can't Read

I get it sometimes too. What usually works is to either stop reading completely for a couple of weeks, or to contemplate writing something myself. After a page or two of struggle I find the idea of reading something by someone else much more appealing.
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 7:28   #4
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Default Re: I Can't Read

I've certainly felt more than anything this year that a lot of the books I've been reading (or it at least feels that way) have been books I *ought* to read or that it's been my duty to get through them. Not many feel as if they were a free choice and hence less onerous so some reads have been more like a slog. The exceptions have been the YA stuff because no-one (bookclubs etc) have told me to read those, so I get a bit more genuine pleasure out of the reading experience, whether or not I actually liked the book.

Unfortunately there's meant to be a bit of an embargo on my book-buying until I've got through the pile of forty next to my bed so that's a long pile of "oughts" still coming my way.

None of which helps you, bill But I would recommend Salinger's shorts just because they cheer me up; but after my own example, also find out some good YA fiction because it can be more inventive, engaging and exploratory sometimes than adult fiction and it rarely beats the crap out of you.
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 7:52   #5
John Self
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Default Re: I Can't Read

As you've seen already, bill, this does happen to everyone. I'm not going to recommend particular titles, but this thread might provide some inspiration.
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 9:10   #6
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Default Re: I Can't Read

I know how you feel, bill. I'm in a bit of a rut myself, and finding it hard to break out of. Normally when it happens, I go back to one of my "comfort" authors - usually Stephen King. Sometimes I'll just try a few short stories and sometimes I'll try a graphic novel or two. My main problem is that I have so many books crying out for my attention that, when I start one I immediately think I should l be reading something else more important. Does that make sense?
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 9:18   #7
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Default Re: I Can't Read

I'm in a permanant rut now. Probably because I'm trying to fit in too many things rather than just sit back and relax.
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 12:43   #8
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Default Re: I Can't Read

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a permanant rut
Eek, this might be considered a scary groove! Reading ruts always hit me in late winter, and they are so discouraging. At the moment I'm churning happily and easily through whatever I choose. It must be a seasonal or tidal thing. bill, have you read Oryx and Crake?
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 13:14   #9
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Default Re: I Can't Read

Okay...

First, thanks all! Kevin, we may have more in common than you think (maybe), because this has been a slightly strange reading year for me, even counting what I have read. But in any case, Salinger's Glass family stories might be a good idea, since I like Salinger, but A) I've never gotten around to picking those up, and B) the last two books I've failed to get along with have been story collections.

Fanshawe, I can't take a couple of weeks off. I just can't. And I should always be writing something of my own, but that's a harder rut for me to break free of than my current reading rut.

Col, you're making me wish that I had a copy of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I'd probably jump right on that now if I could. Maybe I'll pick it up this weekend. Though I say that sort of thing a lot, and rarely follow through.

Comfort fiction is a great idea, Adr, and I was thinking last night how strange it is that I've read very few of my favorite authors this year. I was thinking about On Chesil Beach by McEwan (brevity!), and may still go that route. King would also be good, but I've pretty much read all his best stuff, and my experience tells me that his more recent stuff isn't what I'm looking for right now. I hardly think that, for example, Duma Key is what's going to break the spell. If only I still hadn't read 'Salem's Lot... But comfort fiction is a good idea. Just have to pick the right one.

I haven't read Oryx and Crake, Beth, and actually haven't read any Margaret Atwood, unless you count an aborted attempt to read The Blind Assassin. The kicker in that case was that I was really enjoying that book. Why would Oryx and Crake in particular be a good choice (and I have a copy of that one!)?
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Old 2nd Jul 2009, 14:04   #10
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Default Re: I Can't Read

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Eek
Permanent was perhaps the wrong one, as was rut. I've slowed, as I'm still reading, pushing on through books, but taking time to get through them and sometimes taking big gaps between picking up the next one. Part of that, of course, is because of university, but that's all past until after the summer, so I should be expecting to be racing through pages. I don't doubt that if I wasn't writing the books up for the blog, I'd be getting through more (as I tend to take ages writing them, getting distracted all the time), but I do like writing them. I'll need to find a middleground.

I don't have 'comfort books', so that's never an option.
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