Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Salon: Obstacles to reading and other disgruntlements

Have you ever had a day, a week, a month, or longer, where every time you tried to read, something came up and prevented you from cracking open that book? I don't mean being in a reading slump although some of the things that prevent a reader from reading can certainly throw you into a slump, taking over your thoughts to the point that you can't concentrate on the page. This past week has been a rough one for reading for me. First, after all that dithering about which books to take with me and the eventual choice of 60+, we left on vacation. This means that I drove two consecutive nine hour days. Despite the fact that I have been known to read at stoplights, I didn't get any reading done either of those two days.

The kids and I did listen to two books though. The first, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, was one that all of us had read previously. Now I freely admit that audio books are a tough sell for me so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I didn't love the narrator on the audio. And having read the book already, I know that it wasn't the book itself that was irritating me. I think it was the reader's voice. But if that was a minor irritation, the second book, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, provided major irritation. I had high hopes but found it duller than ditch-water with characters who are supposed to be highly intelligent but in actuality are slower than molasses in January. It was painful to listen to a book so incredibly boring, an opinion with which my daughter concurred. My boys thought it was interesting though so I guess that tells you who the better target audience is. (We actually finished the second book on the five hour drive back from the cottage to the airport to come home again.) So two audiobooks and two strikes of varying degree.

Once we were actually on vacation I did do some actual physical reading but then got blindsided by the news that my 90 year old grandmother was taken to the hospital after a suspected stroke. Later that same day my parents found out that their beloved dog has cancer. Nothing like an emotional earthquake followed by a nasty aftershock to snuff out any interest in reading. I have since walked out the door several times without a book in hand. I was even unmoved by the selection of books at the airport bookstore, buying one for each of my children but none for myself. Of course, it doesn't help that an overwhelming majority of what was available there was all about vampires. Frankly I wish the publishing world would bury the undead and be done with it. I know that eventually the fog I seem to be living in will lift and I will get back to books, but in the meantime, I'm just going to sit and stare and hope that I can see over the top of these reading obstacles to a time in the future where I am happy to settle down into my comfy chair with a book in hand.

I did read a few books this week in addition to starting and setting aside a slew more. I spent time in Duluth with a father and son as the father told the story of the freighter shipwreck he survived and that has destroyed his life and his relationship with everyone he cared about ever afterwards. I peeked in on a romance kindled on the set of those newfangled movie-things being created out in California. I nurtured an inborn talent for cooking, moving from a restaurant in India to Michelin starred restaurants in France. And I visited Sassy Spinster Farm, where an extended family, cantankerous and loving, lives their lives together.


  1. Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope your vacation starts to look up.

  2. Sometimes an audiobook will do the trick. Hope things get better on your vacation.

  3. Hopefully, you will get a chance to unwind and relax. Sorry about your G.M and the dog :)

  4. I only managed to finish one book on the 12th day of July! How is that?

    Don't worry, reading will come.,.

    Here is my TSS post where I talk about my non-reading mode!

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother and the dog :( Hopefully things are looking up for your family soon!

    And *ugh* I completely agree- why won't the undead just die already?

  6. Is your Grandma doing better? I hope so. My Grandma's had about 100 strokes and she's still alive and kicking so hopefully yours also will have little impact. Don't worry - it'll come back. Read something crazy-easy like People. But also taking a break occasionally can be a good thing. You can come back to the books with enthusiasm. Can you tell us what you brought with you?

  7. Sorry you had to hear bad news. I can't read at times like that either. Hope things look up for you soon.

  8. Sorry about your grandmother; I hope
    she recovers quickly.

    You just need to count down the days until your eldest can drive - then he can chauffeur and you can read! Too bad it's a few years off still.


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