Saturday, September 12, 2009

The intrusion of life

I don't think I've opened a book to read in days. This is mostly because I'm currently going through some rather unfortunate symptoms of life, change and things not going quite as I'd hoped for. Not just your run of the mill unfortunate circumstances either, I've spent the last few days feeling really pretty horrible.

It's interesting to me that I don't react to this by burying myself in books. I just haven't quite been able to get up the energy, and the ease to distraction ratio of watching episode after episode of The West Wing apparently wins out over reading. By contrast, all of last month when I definitely had things I was worrying about, I read like crazy. I'm wondering if this sort of goes in cycles. If you're extremely happy in every way, likely enough you don't read a whole lot. If you're generally cheerful but have one or two things nudging at the back of your mind, you do read a lot. If the one or two things at the back of your mind become three or four things thwacking you over the head, you stop reading entirely. Is there a further unhappy layer, I wonder, where you start reading again? I suppose I'd like not to find out.

It's generally acknowledged that most people read for a view of another life, to escape for a while from their own. Which books do this best for you? Which books aren't read for this purpose at all? I wonder whether I would have read this week if I had been in the middle of more absorbing books, but there's certainly a point where your problems are too pressing to allow you to concentrate on a book. Do you reread books that make you happy or that you associate with a better time, or do you find something new and fascinating and just dive into it?

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