Reading Blocks: One Writer’s Cry for Help

Have you ever just hit a point when you don’t care about the ending of the book you’re reading? It’s not that the writing is bad – it could actually be quite good – you just find yourself uninterested in the ending. I’ve been having that problem with many books, lately. Some were books I’d read before, and loved so I figured I just wasn’t as interested because I knew how they ended (though, I’m the kind of reader who honestly does love rereading a story I love; like watching your favorite movie over and over again, it’s just worth a reread when you’re in the mood for that sort of thing). So I picked up a couple of new titles, and discovered the same problem persisted. A handful of them were by new authors, and I just went back through what I’d read so far in my mind, deciding that the characters were just not grabbing me the way a Sanderson or a Gaiman book’s might; I set them aside with the same disregard for the ending as the ones I’d read previously.

Of course, thinking to remedy my reading problem, I went straight to those two authors, and picked up books by them I had yet to read. Sanderson’s ‘Warbreaker’ and Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ are now sitting in my audio library dormant and unfinished. Why? I’m not sure.

I am well aware by now the effect a Sanderson or a Gaiman novel can have on me. In fact, they are two of my favorite authors, and people of which I know. I love what they have to say both by literary and verbal means. So my apathy toward the characters they’ve created in these books must be stemming from elsewhere.

It could be anything, really. I have read a few short stories (the Nebula Award Winners of 2013, in fact), and found them captivating enough. One is still on my mind at the moment, and I cannot wait to get back to it. However, a novel? I seem to have hit a road-block. I have come up with a few options for this:

  • My tastes in literature are changing,
  • The messages in all of the books I keep choosing are either too predictable or too similar (and thus too predictable to me),
  • My own novels and characters are too prevalent in my thoughts,
  • The stress of life is preventing my attachment to fictional characters and stories,
  • I’m losing my love for reading.

I’ll be honest, if it’s option 5 – I may as well give up all hope now.

The horrible thing is that I’m heading into a semester during which I will be taking three heavy reading classes, one writing class, and one Shakespeare class. I have books I want to finish, and audiobooks to have read to me before then. I don’t have time for this strange reading block.

Not only that, but as a writer I also really need to be reading the books in the genre(s) in which I write. So this disinterest is not only strange, but remarkably inconvenient and a major hindrance to my writing productivity. I’m not sure how to begin to care about reading again – how to rekindle my passion for it – but it is extremely important that I do.

Perhaps I have simply become too disconnected from it due to reading via tablet, or listening to so many books on audio. Possibly it has to do with the fact that I have little time outside of work or off of the train to read, and my distaste for the locations is rubbing off on the stories. Maybe I’m just too tired from recovering the recent bouts of stress and illness to be capable of caring about anything other than my day-to-day routine. And it’s always conceivable that I’m just plain burnt out.

Whatever the reason, I’m currently adding Neverwhere to my extensive list of the unfinished books of summer 2013, and switching to a different genre in the hopes that this will remedy the issue. Yes, I’m well aware of the Mr. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

…let’s hope it doesn’t bleed into too many other aspects of my life, shall we?

Thanks for reading my unsettled nonsense, and have a charming day.


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