Friday, November 25, 2016
When Reading Hits a Winter Season
When I passed my 30 book goal for 2016, I thought I would maybe make it to 50. It would be a tough stretch, but not an impossible go. And even if I made it into the mid-forties, that would still be respectable.
Now, at the end of November, I'm sitting stuck at 33. 50 just isn't going to happen this year. 40 probably won't either. I probably won't mind by the time next March rolls around. But what irks me most is the inability to finish anything. Finding a book that's quiet without being boring is challenging, and continuing a book for any length of time is almost impossible. Quiet is somewhat of a necessity right now for an over-taxed brain after an over-taxing year.
So I don't finish anything. And while that's not much to mark on Goodreads, I have been taking in stories this month. It's just been in a much, much slower way than I anticipated, and in very different forms. Perhaps reading is in hibernation mode right now--having it's winter day.
Earlier this month I picked up the Wingfeather Saga book 2 (North or be Eaten), and while it was too emotionally taxing to finish, it moved me to the depths of my soul, and I can't wait to read it properly. It has grace and battles, temptation and joy and defeat and rebirth in a wondrous tale. I haven't been that moved in a long time. I'm also really enjoying Tracy Groot's Maggie Bright, a WW2 novel with phenomenally good writing. It's got more language than I care for, but I might finish it this week and give it a review.
In the afternoons we're reading A Girl of the Limberlost together. This story needs to be on every adult girl's reading list. I'm firmly convinced that Gene Stratton Porter has it right in the way she navigates tough relationships between parents and children. Her children don't become rebels or doormats. They maintain a healthy, respectful autonomy that girls struggling with being rebels or doormats need to read about and imitate.
On a recent road trip, I also picked up Wives and Daughters--how fascinating to realize that Doctor Gibson had an elusive first sweetheart named Jeannie. Who was Jeannie? And was Gibson someone's illegitimate son, or was that all the imagination of a town who didn't have any fact to go on? I wish I could know. Wives and Daughters is a perfect tranquil, interesting story to read if you're in need of something soothing.
Last week we went to the National Bible Bee in San Antonio, Texas. In between events, we hosted a couple of dear friends in our hotel room to watch episode 7 of Star Wars again. It was so fun--we had popcorn and hot chocolate and giggled and gasped over everything. I saw a detail I had never seen before--critiqued a couple of parts in my own mind I would have done better--and adored BB8 as per usual.
(Which makes me think, I need a writing cottage somewhere tucked away in England with BB8 and a bearded dragon for company. I would exchange the cat for BB8 if I had the option.)
Also on our trip, since I don't have any competitive responsibilities (being Too Old and having Never Done Bible Bee) I brought Little Dorrit, because nothing helps you knock out a 7 hour mini-series like a 10 day road trip. When we got home, the family wanted to see it too, so I'm watching the tail end by myself in between watching the beginning episodes with them. I can't say anything about this story because my family is currently watching it for the first time (DO NOT SPOIL ANYTHING IN THE COMMENTS). But it's super fun to see them all enjoying it--and spending Thanksgiving evening with Dickens was the best.thing.ever. If you want a content warning guide, jot me a line at ladybibliophileblog[at]gmail[dot]com, and I'll send it to you. The review includes violence, language count, and a list of exact timings to avoid nude statuary if you so prefer.
Side note: I know you don't want to become a movie junkie, but sometimes movies are easier to watch, and if stories are a love language for you, then ditch the guilt and watch the movie instead of reading. It's only temporary, and it's worth it.
Last night I pulled out the Little Dorrit book after we finished episode 6, and flipped through some of the pages. There were minor character names I didn't remember anymore--characters that they cut out of the movie because there are so many. I didn't remember that Pet had a twin sister that died, and that was why the Meagles loved and spoiled her so much. But it was fun to hold the book in my hands, with that sense of pride--that I had read all those pages, and it was a bibliophile trophy on my shelf.
There are more trophies to come. They may not be 800 page ones right now, but that's OK. There is a season for everything. Sometimes it's not a book I pull out--but a scene. Just before we took a trip, I pulled out Light of the Last by Chuck Black and read one of my favorite dramatic chapters. Sometimes it's a poem. A blog post. A psalm.
So if you're finding it hard to read anything, we're in this together. Read what you can, when you can. It will come back. I promise. And maybe even sooner than you think.