The gradual or sudden lack of desire to pick up a book and read occurs frequently to me. There’s no discernible reason for it. One day I’m finishing an exciting thriller, the next I can’t find the interest to open my favorite author’s latest book. No specific time of the year, week, or day indicates a dry spell. I may be reading one book a week, or three, the amount of books devoured has no relevance to the empty feeling I get when I can’t summon enough enthusiasm to turn the next page. In an effort to bridge the probable dead book zone, I’ll choose one book after another, reading synopsis’, first paragraphs, even starting a title, only to set it aside for another, then another and so on. Right now I’ve four different books partially read. One by Cornell Woolrich, my favorite writer, a book I’ve never read that I’ve been looking forward to. It has all the elements that captures my imagination and the suspense and atmosphere that should propel me swiftly through each chapter. But I stopped. I can’t find a reason why I’m NOT emotionally invested in the characters. I’m aware it isn’t the writing, not like another book I grabbed in desperation and started—and stopped within a chapter or two because it was boring me to tears, and I didn’t like the characters or storyline. That one I won’t force myself to return to later on when I’m able to concentrate again. The Woolrich is a temporary left behind book. But what about the Peter Robinson? Superior plotting, deep characterizations, fantastic setting in the UK, you feel as though you are walking the streets of a specific city when reading Robinson. Still! I can’t keep on the page.
And I am bedeviled as to the reason! I want to read—I really do! I look at my stacks of books and mentally salivate thinking of the scrumptious meals waiting within. I say to myself—‘Ok, after working on an article, or some jewelry, go into bed early, and take up a book.’ I read mostly before bed, or if I awake in the middle of the night unable to return to sleep, or before I am to start my day. But instead of acting upon my thoughts, I linger online, reading comments on the blog, or rereading my posts, or others. I go to flickr and spend hours perusing friend’s streams, I work in photoshop cleaning up vintage illustrations, I check all 600 odd Facebook pals statuses. In other words, I waste valuable reading time.
And again, I’ve no conscious reason for doing so. I was a good way through a typical early 30s title with the prerequisite mansions, rich suspects and capable amateur detective when I finally folded after giving it the old college try—it was boring enough to put a manic individual into a coma. Or so my itchy self says. So far I’ve ditched a not so wonderfully written book, a Woolrich, a Robinson, a golden age mystery, and after reading the book jackets—three! Three Ruth Rendells I’ve not yet read. Now I k now this is a serious desert spell, because I’ve read all that Rendell has published up until I no longer worked for a bookstore and got free reading copies. I now wait like the rest of the reading society for the book to be published—preferably in paperback, and I missed several when they were first published.
So what to do? I picked up yet another book, one that, gulp, I saw the film version before reading. It’s a forties or fifties title with a nice enough dust jacket, and a swift introduction into character and plot. And I know what happens next, which either should help, or completely destroy the suspense. I’ve gone a couple of chapters, and am dithering about continuing. Sigh. If this keeps up, I’ll have to turn in my biblio badge, and rip up my library card. Each day I hope the curse has been broken, and even Moby Dick will appeal to me. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, and a nice comfortable cosy pulls me out of the no book is good enough blues. Wish me luck.