Monday, March 22, 2010

Reading, and why it sucks

Ok, it doesn't really suck. I love reading. And I'm not a book snob, I'll read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I just love to read. When I was little, I'd easily read a book a day. After I had my oldest I went through several years that I didn't read nearly as much, there just didn't seem to be time with raising him and going to school and working and . . . anyway. Now that my kids are older I've been reading a lot again the last few years.

The problem with books, for me, is I get lost in them. I mean totally absorbed. Dinner will go uncooked, laundry unwashed, children unnoticed. If I read at work I get cranky when I need to stop and actually do my job. Books have always affected me for a time after. Sometimes only a few minutes - others for days or weeks. Not just affected me - but took me over. Like I couldn't shake the story or the characters. I'd still be so absorbed in the story long after I was done reading it. Like Poisonwood Bible. Or the worst - last year when I read Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes. I hated the book the whole time I was reading it. It made me sick, it made me sad but I couldn't put it down. When I finally finished I was so upset I wanted it out of my house. I didn't want it anywhere around me. I couldn't shake that story for a long, long time. I've read touching/engrossing books by her before - but this one affected me in a completely different way. I haven't read anything by her since and it will probably be a long time before I do again.

I get in a fiction reading mood for a few months every year, mostly I read things like Radical Homemakers, Backyard Homesteading etc. . . how to sort of books. Or non-fiction like Animal Vegetable Miracle.

But, I've been in a mood for fiction, I've got a stack of them I'm working through. Last week I read The Future Homemakers of America. It was alright, but I didn't feel like I loved the characters. In someways that was good, because I wasn't that drawn into it. But then it's not a great book I guess, right?

Yesterday I started Maeve Binchy's Tara Road. I finished it today. I'm having a hard time shaking this one too. Not because it was traumatic or horrible. I was hoping for something a little on the lighter side and the front of this book claims "The heartwarming New York Times Bestseller". Well, I'll tell ya - it wasn't at all heartwarming. The whole book was heartbreak after heartbreak. And sure it was all pulled together, sort of, by the end - but not good enough. Like life I guess. But it bothers me. If you haven't read it I won't ruin it. I see a little of myself in it, and I don't know how I feel about that. Even though the book isn't at all heartwarming in my opinion and there is a reoccurring theme of betrayal and infidelity, it did somehow have me wanting to run home and curl up with my husband every time I opened it to read it.

I don't know why other peoples stories affect me so much. They do, terribly though. There's the obvious, like news stories and real life tragedies. Though I somehow feel that I am bothered more by them then most people. I've started censoring what news stories I watch, especially when it comes to child abuse/pain/suffering. I think it's disgusting how people's pain and tragedy and grief is thrown out there, on display for people to gawk at and it's all done in the name of news. Blah.

But I'm also strangely affected by fictional stories. I don't know why. I can't seem to take something in and let it go like most people.

I used to think I wanted to be a counselor. Then I realized I was in no way strong enough for that. So then I thought social worker - but in many ways that's "worse". So here I am, almost 30 answering phones for a living because I'm too weak to go and do something I'd be good at.


Some one recommend some light-heated, real heartwarming books to me so I can stop analyzing things and get back to enjoying Spring! :D


This Little Family said...

I get too emotionally involved in things too. Not so much books, but the news..omg. I don't really watch the evening news, and I don't read the newspaper. People are always doing the horrible and unthinkable, and I can't deal with it.

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

I devour books... I read at least 3 a month.I will confess that lately I have put down my "normal" books and have picked up some of my 16 year old daughters books, and I am loving them. My heart was tired of reading such heavy books and now I am reading YA books. I love Peter Hautman's books and just finished a Scott Westerfeld series. I have a link to my Good-Reads account on my blog so if you need a good book, check it out.

gardenofsimple said...

missy - thanks! I will!

Marianna said...

Tara Road is the first book in something of a series for Binchy...if you feel up to it definitely keep reading the others-it's worth it.

Jan Karon's Mitford series...Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilters series...are both good and on the lighter side.

Like you I don't read much fiction and for the same reasons! I get absolutely nothing done when I pick up a book of fiction.

gardenofsimple said...

Is it a series? Maybe I'll keep reading. I felt pretty unsatisfied with the way things ended in that book.

Thanks for the other suggestions!-

kiki said...

I'm a total novel junkie. It was my first taste of escapism.

I became a bookworm in third grade and continued that way until I became a mom. My reading slowed down after having a kid too Crystal, although it has slowly been picking back up over the years.

But I have that same problem of not being able to put the book down!

Sara said...

Can't say I can think of any heartwarming books off the top of my head. I just finished Greg Iles Devils Punchbowl or something like that. It had some horrific scenes in it and I wouldn't recommend since you absorb the characters. One series I always recommend as great reading is Diane Gabaldon Outlander series. Absolutely some of the best books I've ever read. It has some difficult scenes but the story itself just grabs you and I think you will like it.

gardenofsimple said...

Sara, a friend of mine just loaned me the outlander book!