Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Reader's Block

I seriously just can't read anything serious right now. Not just serious, but substantial. I have three good, worth reading books that are due back because I've had them nine weeks, and I just can't. Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, Jeffrey Toobin's The Nine, and Tony Horwitz's Confederates In the Attic. I really want to read all three, but I can barely concentrate hard enough to keep myself into a 180 page book about a 12 year old hero, never mind a 360 page book about nine (or twelve or fifteen--it covers a stretch of time) Supreme Court justices.

I'm pretty disappointed in myself, especially since I had such good luck getting my hands on these books. But I think I'm going to have to return them and try again another day. I'm trying to aim low for a little while, remind myself that this is supposed to be fun--there's no reason to slog. It's not like I'm getting paid by the page, or the book, or the hour or at all really.

I will say that there is one book I'm giving up out of pure good sense. I like therapy books in general--nonfiction by psychologists who talk about their pet theories and their most memorable patients. I got a recommendation for a book called The Unsayable: The hidden language of trauma, by Annie G. Rogers. I checked it out, and it's very well written and looks pretty good. Then I flipped to a page at the middle and read a few lines about her asking a young patient who she trusted, who made her feel safe. Her horse was the first answer, and how much she enjoyed riding, followed by a neighbor who is kind to her. The author then elaborated on these feelings for the reader, mentioning casually the relationship between the neigh of a horse and the word neighbor. At this point I put the book down and stepped slowly away, and I hope you support me in that decision.

So: more Margaret Peterson Haddix, more Bloody Jack, maybe The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And maybe, just maybe, I can sneak a Philippa Gregory novel past the blockade. I mean, there's nothing substantial about that, is there?

1 comment:

JMLC said...

The Unsayable was a bit out there- based on a French philosopher and some really abstract theories. It was worth a read, I thought, and I've thought about it a great deal since. As a child psychologist I'm always surprised when children use heavy symbolism without knowing it.