Tuesday, February 24, 2009

End of literary hiatus

I have figured out why I all but ceased reading for a few years. I used to enjoy literature, never finding enough time to delve into all which piqued my interest.

My husband is an avid reader, and when I met him his literary choices featured spiritual and philosophical ideologies that were then beyond me. He was very excited about the concepts because, he explained, they echoed his own perception and beliefs that he couldn't put into the right words. Knowing I was seeking answers to life's great questions at the time, he enthusiastically encouraged me to take on some of the books in his library, such as The Power of Myth: an interview with mythologist Joseph Campbell, The Televisionary Oracle by Rob Brezsny, and anything by Doctors David R. Hawkins or Wayne W. Dyer. I started several, but finished none. It is not that the subject matter itself isn't interesting, I just wasn't in a place to appreciate it.

Sitting in the shadow cast by a pile of books that Gary lovingly nudged in my direction, I began to regard reading as more of a chore than a pleasure. Again, not because these books were inherently boring, but rather that my mind wasn't presently open to their messages. Feeling obligated to read these particular selections made me drift away from a desire to read at all, lest my darling notice a NYT bestselling paperback in my hand while any of these great philosophical works lay idle on the nightstand.

My literary hiatus began this way, but continued as my schedule became increasingly full, and free time increasingly uncommon. When Gary realized I wasn't as interested in the types of books that he was, he quickly relaxed any attempts to persuade me. But by this time, I was not only extraordinarily busy, but had also lost a certain connection with the written word. Any remaining interest I had in reading was feeble.

Over the past 6 years or so, I read a handful of books concerning childbirth (both preparatory and investigatory), a baby name book (yeah, I read it from cover-to-cover; it's an obsessive-compulsive thing, I guess), and some inpirational (or intended as such) business/leadership volumes. I can't even recall the most recent work of fiction I read prior to last month.

My latent interest in reading recently resurfaced. I decided that I can make time to read, and made a renewed commitment to do so more this year. I'm off to a great start--in the middle of my fifth book of 2008 (Bridget's probably finished twelve by now, but who's counting?). Of course, the first four on my list comprise Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, which you may have heard of (especially if you are or know anyone who is Mormon). Yes, Bridget, I will be posting a collection of my thoughts on the series. Soon.

Now I am thoroughly enjoying Why We Buy, a very entertaining bit of scientific analysis of our shopping culture. My dad randomly passed this book along to me, and since I was in need of a new book to take on a short trip, I accepted it despite the fact I wouldn't have ever chosen it off a shelf. Probably because I would have assumed the same as my friend who, upon seeing the title, thought it was a book about (and condemning, I presume she meant) our societal "consumerism." Such a finger-wagging at capitalism would never interest me, but Why We Buy could be considered the antithesis to such a book: written by a man who runs a company which covertly observes and analyzes minuscule movements and reactions of shopping humans, with the goal of aiding merchants in the quest to provide a more shopper-friendly (and therefore more profitable) store environment.

While the subject is fascinating to me, it is certainly not as gripping as the vampire fantasy. In the time it has taken me to get through half of this 300-page book, I had probably completed the first two of Meyer's 600-some-page novels. Hers were demanding stories: meaning if I was faced with the option of either cracking open Eclipse or working on a very necessary, deadline-driven project for my business, I might have to physically restrain myself to the desk in an effort to avoid choosing the former. Since I can emotionally handle putting down my current non-fiction selection, I believe my books-per-month ratio will drastically decline from here forward.

But at least my brain is back in the reading game at last. Meyer may be a far cry from Dyer, but I can appreciate them both.

1 comment:

Sarah Rose Evans said...

Welcome back to the reader's club! Your experience with Meyers vs Dyer is why I rarely read non-fiction. The vast majority just aren't as compelling. Sometime you should put a post up of the type of fiction you enjoyed back when you read more and maybe some of your readers can make recommendations for you.


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