When I started writing again I stopped reading. It was bizarre: for as long as I could remember I had been an avid reader. I read anything I could get my hands on: detective novels, children’s books, and highbrow literature. I couldn’t go to sleep if I hadn’t spent at least one hour immersed in words. Suddenly it all stopped. I couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t interested. The pleasure was gone. Instead I would spend hours gazing at the ceiling, reading the thoughts in my mind. Plots, poetry, images, character analysis.
It is coming back now, the joy of reading. In a different way though. No more trash or well planned stories. I can still start a novel and lay it aside before I have turned the page ten times: Boring.
However, they still exist: the books that amaze and stun me. They are fascinating, well written, they are capable of shocking me into a new awareness. That is what literature is about: shock.
So over the last year I’ve read a few really good books. They are:
Gaétan Soucy, La Petite Fille qui Aimait trop les Allumettes.
Mark Hadden, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Kees van Beijnum, De Oesters van Nam Kee. (Oysters at Nam Kee, a Dutch Catcher in the Rye fifty years on)
And now I am reading William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, a work I had to study at Howard University in the US: elusive, difficult, but fascinating. I’m doing it the easy way: find the underlying plot on the internet, and enjoy the language, the mystery, the atmosphere.
It is wonderful!
I still stare at the ceiling when plots are racing through my mind. But otherwise I’m back on the bandwagon of books again! And happy!