Bibliophilic Purgatory #02

Scary things, y’all, in Sasha & The Silverfish Headquarters (which is, well, in my head). I’ve gone through that mucho annoying Bibliophilic Purgatory, where you discover that there’s nothing to read—regardless of reality and your cackling TBR LandMass telling you otherwise. But now there’s that equally frightening time in a booklover’s life signaled by the following: an aversion to books thicker than the length of your fingernail, an aversion to books by tried-and-tested Swimfan-worthy authors, an aversion to books that feel like they’ll be so darned good they might change your life. It’s Bibliophilic Purgatory Redux, augh.

Let me elaborate. Since I finished reading Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates, I’d been skittish about picking up books from my shelves. Yes, I nibbled on Grace Paley’s short stories (in her collection, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute)—but that doesn’t count, I read short stories everyday, and it was only a matter of time before I polished these off. Besides, I started reading Paley’s book even before Yates. I’ve been drifting since then.

Now, it’s difficult going. I look at the books I have in my boyfriend’s apartment [he built me my own Sasha Shelf], and scowl, or say Meh. I’ve read the first couple of pages from every book here, and nothing so far has made me want to cuddle up with it.

  • An aversion to books thicker than the length of your fingernail: I am too picky these days, and the main criterion is the length of the book. Which is as shallow a criterion as any, but hey. Although there are lots of fat books over at Sasha Shelf, I’m scared to go near them. I don’t know why, okay? I just feel all clammy and shivery when I look at, say, The Book Thief or Special Topics in Calamity Physics. They’re fat! Haha, I’ve read fat books before, but now, well, now, maybe I’m afraid I’ll like them so much, and then I’ll resent it that I have to put them down because real life called, and then I’ll get into a bad mood. Which is really stupid reasoning, hahaha. And for “normal”-sized books, not so much either. I mean, look, I have a ton of romance novels waiting for me in my hard drive, but I’m just not looking forward to being parked in front of my laptop any longer than necessary. (But I’m blogging right now, huh.)
  • An aversion to books by tried-and-tested Swimfan-worthy authors: There’s Raymond Carver up in that shelf, and Alice Hoffman. I’m really liking what I’ve read of The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (I’ve divided it into five, for less overwhelmage), but I’m not going near it anytime soon. And there’s more Janet Fitch, some Lauren Dane. But no thanks, guys, not right now. Why? Maybe because I’m afraid I won’t be in the mood to fully appreciate these books? Because I hate it when I’ve read something, and know that I didn’t read it at the “right” time.
  • An aversion to books that feel like they’ll be so darned good they might change your life: I took out Orlando by Virgnia Woolf from the university library yesterday, but I can’t seem to find the energy or the will to get past her preface. I had to put down Sheramy Bundrick’s Sunflowers a week or so ago, but haven’t gotten around to returning to it, even though it was just getting good. Maritta Wolff’s Sudden Rain is tempting me, but it happens to be a combination of this one and the first item. Zadie Smith is up there on that shelf, but she scares me as well. Does this mean I’ll eventually just settle with a book I know will be meh? Is that the silliest thing you’ve ever heard of?

It’s irrational, I know. I am scared to commit, haha. Huff. I’m trying to remedy this by just going through with my personal resolution to read at least three stories per day (I’ve read just one for today, “The Dead” by James Joyce)—and this goal’s fast becoming useful in helping me wade through my stack of Currently Reading short story collections and anthologies. So that’s one plan.

I’m hoping to get over this silly thing soon. Please, inner workings of the Book Universe, let me get over it soon.

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16 comments

  1. toynbeeconvector · · Reply

    OH MY GOODNESS! Book fatigue is getting to you! But yes, I agree. There are authors that require a certain kind of readiness on the part of the reader. I just started reading Chabon’s Adventures of Kavalier & Clay–one book so thick I didn’t think I would read it…but you know, these thick books are gems. Read Book Thief already because its YA and there are lines in it that will make you go, “there, that’s me!” And by this I mean it will appeal to you both as a reader and a writer. :)

    Oh Sasha, sometimes I think inasmuch as reading saves us from ennui, it can also throw us into unexpected, dark corners of ourselves which we never would have wandered into had we been left alone. And that’s hella scary. But don’t fret, sooner or later you’ll get out the rut and start reading again. :)

    1. Haha, book fatigue–I refuse to have book fatigue! Rut is a less scary word, methinks. I think one of the reasons why this is happening to me, is that, well, real life is extra craptastic these days. And I hate it when real life gets in the way of my reading, haha.

      Chabon is on the shelf, but it never crossed my mind that I need to read him to “cure” me of this, and Book Thief has been on my shelf for three years now, so one more day won’t matter, haha. Excuses, excuses!

  2. I can so relate! Sometimes I look at my giant TBR pile and think to myself (irrationally): gee, I have nothing to read! :–)

    1. Whenever I say that (and usually with a little sigh), my boyfriend looks at me and snorts. :]

  3. That is exactly why I picked up Love Letters of Great Women. I’ve been reading the same books for two weeks now and I was just tired. I needed a break from all these long books! Honestly I think I’m going to read a short YA book next, I just need a break to let my mind go “swoosh.”

    1. Book fatigue, tsk tsk for us. The problem in my case is that the books I usually pick up to let my mind go “swoosh” don’t work either. Maybe this means I have to find a hobby? Haha.

  4. carinasantos · · Reply

    Book Thief is totally worth the extra weight (haha). But yeah, I always have book fatigue :( I’ve only read 3 books this year. Stupid school.

    1. I know, augh school. I’ll get on The Book Thief na, soon. I swear. As soon as I kick this rut away (or the weekend cometh). Have a good one, Carina.

  5. Gawd I hate it when I get into moods like this! Good luck.

    1. It’s hellish. I mean, it’s not like I don’t want to read–I just can’t find a book to read. It’s ridiculous, as well, haha.

  6. Baka naman kasi kailangan mo nang magsulat. :)

    1. Kasi nangangati na’ko, haha.

  7. I relate. I usually need to go walking or play a boardgame or go out for coffee with friends or start an art project or something when this mood strikes. It’s a doozy!

    1. Hi, Emily. Yeah, I needed something to do with my hands that doesn’t involve books. I’m testing the waters out today, though–some books are starting to look good. :)

  8. Haha, I know this feeling. That’s why certain books have been sitting on my shelf unread for months or, dare I say, years. I keep thinking “I’ll get around to them eventually when I have nothing else to read.” But of course, that doesn’t happen. They ALWAYS keep coming.

    1. It’s so bewildering why we keep thinking there’s nothing to read–I mean, of course there are LOTS to read, haha. Our shelves alone! In my case, what’s so terrible about this affliction is that I have the unfortunate ability to remember how and why and where I got a book, and thus I know how long I’ve had it in my possession. Boo. [Also, hi Kari!]

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