Recently my reading mojo has flagged a little. I don’t think anyone else would find it unusual to have a few days off from reading, but for me not being able to dive into the next literary vortex has been frustrating. I have what my bookish friends call a book hangover. A book hangover occurs when you read a book which you have enjoyed immensely or conversely found difficult to immerse yourself in, the result at the end of both is a preoccupation with the book and the passages within.
The preoccupation is distracting enough to stop you from immersing yourself in your next book. If the book was exceptionally good, you miss and grieve reading the characters and you don’t think anything else could possibly match up to the deep and meaningful experience you’ve just had. If the book was difficult you feel despondent and can find yourself swearing off books altogether if you don’t find something engaging soon.
I have the additional hurdle of not being able to concentrate as I’m on implant 6 of my 6 month course of Zoladex for endometriosis and so bluntly put I feel a bit pissy. My moods are on the somber side of the spectrum and I am easily whipped into an enraged frenzy by things that are mildly inconvenient. In such a mood I am easily annoyed. I am taking measures to counteract this but there’s no denying my threshold for intolerable stupidity is much, much lower than this time last year.
So, what do you do when reading mojo flags? Well in my experience what works best is to find a notoriously good story teller and dive into one of their books. In my case Jeffery Archer’s Clifton Chronicles have been on hold since Christmas, as I was concentrating on my duties to review for the book tweeting service.
The other option is to wait a few days, well a week really, collect your thoughts and carry on your reading list. Of course, if you take this route you have to honestly reflect on whether you are in a good place to receive the next book, so much of what we think of a book rests on how we feel when we started it and what is going on in our lives at the time. I remember reading Stephen King’s 4 Past Midnight on Holiday in Darjeeling in India and it brings back fond memories and also enhances no doubt how much I enjoyed the book. I read a number of books on luxurious holidays in Dubai and loved them but oddly can’t remember their titles!
When reading a book with the purpose to feedback I think I have the responsibility to find a neutral mood so I can give that book the same consideration I give others I feedback on. Which is where I find the conflict between keeping up with my reading to reduce my growing list and gathering myself to reset my thoughts, is the greatest. I have too much insight into my OCD to not recognise the motivations to get numbers down and keep to a schedule which would completely wreck my mindset whilst reflecting on the books I’m reading. It is the ultimate battle of quality vs quantity. Giving quality thoughts to the books rather than cramming in as many books as possible in a given week.
I think most authors who ask me to review would rather I took my time and gave the books they have asked me to review a fair feedback not coloured by my irritation of whatever is getting up my nose at the time.
On this occasion I found my voracity for books returned on its own at 8:30 am this morning when my mind became once again willing to accept an imaginary scenario with imaginary people doing imaginary things. It’s very pleasurable to find myself absorbed once again in a book and able to lock irritation out for the hours it takes for me to complete it. Unfortunately recovery of this nature only happens when we have plans to be elsewhere and no time at that moment to read. However, the anticipation to dive back into a waiting alternate world only heightens the experience.