Sunday, January 6, 2013

On getting excited about reading (again)

There must be something in the air. Over the past forty-eight hours I started reading two new books, both which have sparked my interest in a way that no recent read has, both of which have made me want to read more, and more, and more. After two months of many dead ends and rather lackluster reads (with the exception of If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, which sadly lasted only one simple, near-perfect evening), being excited about reading again is... wonderful.

Dry spells come and go. Every voracious reader will easily be able to point to a period of time when they read less, whether because of increased "real-world" activity, or because no book seemed to fit the mood, or because of any one of a million other factors. This happens. I've made sure not to be bothered by it, made sure not to pressure myself into reading more, made sure to keep reading something magical and enjoyable and enlightening. Once I realized I was struggling with new books, I also decided to let myself relax a little and went back to some old favorites: I've been rereading a lot recently. But now, like a small lightbulb turning on, I can feel the excitement starting up again.

The first book is Three Strong Women, by Marie NDiaye. I read the first of the three novellas that make up this book yesterday... and it impressed me. The plot (specifically, the large, seemingly deliberate plot holes) may be a bit lacking, but on the whole, Three Strong Women is off to a good start. It's thought-provoking, curiously written (a bit of a sharp style, but far from jerky or awkward), and NDiaye plays to the strengths of novellas in her characterization and storytelling style. Here's to hoping the rest is as good.

The second book is There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith. I'm reading this one as part of a small goal to read education-focused books this year. I only just started it this morning, but regardless of whether or not I'll actually enjoy the read, or agree with Esquith's teaching methods, there is no doubt that the book is making me think. A lot. This is a subject I care deeply about, and I feel the book. I feel the fascination as I read.

I don't have much time for reading these days, let alone reviewing them and discussing them at length. I know this. If last year I read a record number of books, I expect to read significantly less this year. But that doesn't mean that I need to have a bad experience reading. Maybe it'll even be better for it. For now, I'm excited about reading again. May it last.


  1. I've just been through a similar slump and I too have tried to find my way through it via re-reading. This became even more necessary as I was ill over Christmas and coming back to a plot line I already knew was the only thing I could manage. I haven't yet found 'the' book that will cause the breakthrough but you give me hope that it might be just around the corner.

  2. Here's to the excitement starting up again!


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