I think I’m suffering from reading fatigue. A dull, grey feeling fills me as I read, as though my brain has been replaced by cotton wool. I read words, and they’re good words, I know this logically. They’re good words in a good order. And yet they have no effect on me. It’s like I’ve eaten a delicious meal, and I’m so full that nothing I eat really tastes of anything any more.
Perhaps I’ve been spoilt. Just recently I’ve read a few utterly sublime works. Books that became instant favourites. Impossible Views of the World, with its awkward intellectual heroine who felt like she’d been crafted just for me.The Raqqa Diaries, so brutally honest, its simple style revealing unbearably painful truths.Spill Simmer Falter Wither with its lyrical eloquence belying the heartbreak of a person at odds with the world. Few books are going to live up to these experiences. And yet I keep reading.
Perhaps I’ve just read too much. My reading muscle has seized up, cramped, needs a break. I spent two weeks doing work experience in the editorial department of a publisher recently, so was reading non-stop during the day and on my 4-hour commute. It was an absolute dream. It was my job to read books, write about books, and talk about books. Dream though it was, perhaps a break would be no bad thing. And yet I keep reading.
Perhaps it’s because, since starting this blog, I feel like I have to have something to say about everything I read. I have to have An Opinion. I have to assess what I like and dislike. I have to write down my favourite moments from each reading experience so that I never forget them. And then I have to package those thoughts into a neat parcel to be read, perhaps, by someone else. Perhaps because now I have to read, it’s no longer fun.
And yet, I keep reading. I reach for it, instinctively. As though I’m on a reading treadmill and I have to keep turning the pages or else I’ll fall off. I wait for those moments where a book hooks me, intrigues, inspires me. Those moments where something is so perfectly phrased it’s as though the words sidestep your neurons and an idea arrives, fully-formed, in your mind, as though it’s been there all along. And every time I go to the library, a book store, my own heaving shelves, I find more and more books. And so I keep reading.