I've been having trouble with my reading lately. It started this summer. With all that was going on I became a little sensitive about what I wanted in my head. The only thing I could bring myself to read was The Lord of The Rings trilogy.
It's fun to read things over again after a number of years has passed. You see things you hadn't seen before. Your perceptions of characters and events change because of new experiences you've had since the last time you read that work.
In the case of LOTR sometimes the language was a bit contrived for me. I was also able to identify the moment I fell in love with Aragorn back when I was twelve (or however old I was when I first read the book). He ruined me for life, that one.
Anyway, one of my favorite things about those books is the "perseverance in the face of impossibility" message. You could also call it the "just keep slogging" message.
Come to think of it, maybe a lot of things in those books ruined me for life...
Anyway, it's been a tough time and reading the old familiar stuff about Frodo and Sam and Gandalf etc. was consoling. Re-reading and re-enforcing the values that I took out into the world was encouraging.
This spring I kept hearing a lot about Neil Gaiman's "American Gods." When my friend Jim put it on his list of books to read over the summer that pushed me over the edge and I decided to read it too.
In a way it was a good choice. I enjoyed the book. It's a good story and the world the book describes is an interesting place to be. It's a dangerous and unstable world but there are consolations in it too. I get the feeling that Gaiman is a kind and compassionate person. It's nice to see inside the head of a compassionate person. Maybe that's what I've been looking for in the fiction reading I'd like to be doing?
Anyway, after I read "American Gods" I haven't been able to find other things I want to read. I've tried. I started "The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz, Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire," and "The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet," by David Mitchell. I keep trying to plug through them but I keep putting them down. The only thing I've really enjoyed reading has been, as I mentioned before, Stephen King's "On Writing."
I suppose this is just a phase that will clear up after a few months go by. Maybe I should just watch movies or something - break myself in to uncomfortable ideas that way. Maybe I should just keep plugging away at the books I've started. I mean, it took me quite a while to get into "One Hundred Years of Solitude," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but once I was there I was hooked. I should read that one again too, come to think of it.
I'll put it off some more for now though. I don't think it's really worth worrying about. I'll be back to reading one day.