Sunday, 24 May 2009

the bookworm without a book

As is probably clear from my enthusiastic label 'books are for cool people', I love reading. Books and blogs and cereal boxes, I will read anything I can lay my hands on. Nothing can quell anger or impatience or boredom like some juicy reading material. And the best of all reading for me is some fat fiction.

You have probably guessed that I have, on several occasions, been called a bookworm. That's absolutely fine with me.

However, for over a month now, I have been plagued by a horrible pattern. Since my holiday back in the beginning of April, I have been unable to complete a book. I got to the second chapter of The Accidental before being irritated into ending it. I read 35 jerky pages of Beloved on the aeroplane and left it in my hand luggage for several weeks. Middlemarch managed to carry me all the way to Chapter 3. I couldn't even make myself read the book I was meant to write an essay on in an exam.

The strange thing is that these are all good books, books similar in style to others which I have devoured with glee many times. And I actually really enjoyed all of what I did manage to read before, for some unexplained reason, I just gave up.

It may have something to do with exam stress; perhaps reading textbooks until 10 in the evening and then trying to wind down by chatting with friends and watching TV until 12 at night isn't the most conducive to good reading. I am either feeling too guilty or too tired to read. But for me, it is unnatural and unpleasant not to be in the middle of a good book. I am, as I wrote in my title, a bookworm without a book. And no-one wants to be a bookworm.

The worst thing was going into bookshops and admiring all the lovely wares, but knowing that I have a whole stack of novels at home makes buying another feel wasteful. So I am very lucky that my mother decided to treat me to a new book. And today was just so beautiful and sunny that work was a thought not even to be contemplated.

Lo and behold, I am already on page 54 (chapter 4) of When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. I can give my much abused copy of The Princess Bride a rest (I always re-read the same books when I am stuck in this non-booky place). Hopefully many more sunny days and early nights might allow me to go back and finish the worryingly tall unfinished pile.

I got through three meaty classics on a two week holiday in August to Turkey.


  1. I don't read as voraciously now as I once did...but the love of books will always creep back up on you. :)

  2. i actually didn't take my header photo -- it's from the wildfox couture summer '09 collection -- but as soon as i saw it i knew i wanted it as my header!

  3. I've been going through a "hard to read anything" time too. It's just other things on your mind, I'm sure!

  4. Same situation here and I blame it entirely on the exam stress. I started "Sentimental Education" and stopped after 5 pages "because it is too long and I can't focus"; so I grabbed some short stories, but I still haven't started reading them. So don't worry, I'm guessing we're too tired at the moment - it'll be over soon!

  5. hm, i guess i would -- but so many of the things that are sent out on runways today, i could never imagine wearing. with all the clothes designed sixty or seventy years ago, they were designed to be practical and still beautiful. i think fashion today has a much more expressive, artistic element than it did back then.