This is difficult to admit, but let’s try: I sometimes suffer from reader’s block. I never knew such a thing existed, and I never thought there would be this many references to it on the interwebs. There is some ‘debate’ on whether the writer of the Guardian article on Reader’s Block was smoking pot when he wrote it. I find myself agreeing with much of what he wrote. And I will happily use reader’s block; I love fashionable words.
Earlier today I discussed books with someone and I admitted that sometimes, I just don’t read that much. It’s much better than in 2003 when I was dating a boy who hated reading, though. Well, I do read, but surfing the interwebs isn’t reading; I prefer to call that ‘surfing the interwebs’. Reading fiction counts as ‘reading’. And it’s only something I do when I find an amazing book. But because I have become far too discriminating, such books are impossible to find. There’s almost always something wrong with a book: it contains too many adjectives; there are too many cliches; the writing is just generally sloppy; or it’s BO-ring. Sometimes it’s also to do with timing. I might not be receptive enough to enjoy the book. I tried reading both The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Color Purple many, many times. I only succeeded on the third or fourth attempt. I now count these two books among my favourites.
Something even stranger: when I find my reader’s block approaching again, I re-read The Color Purple. That helps me to clear my mind and I can focus again on reading some of the other books in my bookshelve.
What’s to blame? The interwebs? I do spend an insane amount of time on it. Some people watch television; I read and edit Wikipedia and send friends funny comments about Cuil. Thanks to the internet I can read The New York Times and The New Yorker; Vanity Fair and the BBC; as well as blogs on grammar and style. So perhaps I need to rethink what I qualify as ‘reading’. Browsing on the Gummy Tree might not qualify, but I’m sure Vanity Fair’s intense articles would. So perhaps I don’t suffer from reader’s block; perhaps I suffer from reading-thick-novels block.