Reader’s Block

Writers can have it so why can’t readers? It happens!

I have been in readers’ doldrums for the past while, failing to rouse an interest in reading anything – more specifically, books as I continue to enjoy the weekend newspapers but have a small stack of books waiting to be read for some time and they seem to be gathering dust and a greater and greater discouraging aura about them that leaves them untouched, though not forgotten so that they play on my mind and bring a sense of failure, of not getting on with it.

The block came mid-book, a book sent by a publicity agent in the publishers for she believed it would be of interest to me and that I would enjoy it – and then review it, of course, and give it a little publicity and a few lines for them to use in their promotional material. It just didn’t click with me or I didn’t click with it? Whichever it was, my reading came to a halt and remained at that halt.

There must be a very strong sense of there being a right way to do things in me for I feel that a book once started should be finished and another should not be started until the first is finished. And, there was the start of the block. Perhaps, I should have simply said to the lady at the publishers that this was not the book for me and leave it at that but, once again, there is that sense of obligation, of feeling I should/have to do what was “expected” of me. I have only once not reviewed a book which was sent to me and that for the good reason that it was so bad, so inaccurate, that any review would have been totally negative and I couldn’t bring myself to be so hard on an author for, as bad and all as the book was, it had been on foot of an enormous amount of work and, as it turned out, the second volume was a big improvement.

It’s hardly the time to start a Reader’s Block Support Group but a friend posted online of her similar situation recently. She had been unable to settle down with a book for ages until she sat to the kitchen table for breadfast and picked up the book a friend had dropped off to her the previous day. The coffee went cold and she came back to herself seventy pages later, reader’s block dissipated and one of the pleasures of life restored to normal.

As it turned out, I lifted that book on one of the recent hot days when confined indoors, picked up where I had stopped and found I enjoyed the book and finished it in one sitting, much happier, unblocked and ready to go again which was just as well as new and interesting books come along all the time!

A random image of garlic in the garden, something to do when not reading.

10 thoughts on “Reader’s Block

  1. My brother and I shared a room for a while in our teens. We each kept a stack of unread paperbacks, bedside (the corner of a hardback flung in the night could cost someone an eye). Anyhow, that’s how we kept the snoring under control.

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  2. But did you go back to the beginning and re-read it to see why you abandoned it?
    I foolishly began reading the Booker Winners – one a month – from August 2018. After almost 4 years, I feel no guilt if I abandon one partway though I’ve only done this twice – the 1994 winner which had at least 20 f***s per page, and the 2015 winner because the Jamaican dialect became very wearing after a while. But there are an number of them I wish I hadn’t read at all.

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    1. But, I didn’t go back to the start of the book – too much bother and I had read it reasonably carefully. I think it was a case of I not being suited to the book for I couldn’t fault the content nor the writing but I simply didn’t click with it at first. Maybe I was having a bad day/week/month! LOL

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  3. I also have that compulsion to finish a book once started and have had one I was not enjoying beside my chair for months! I have made several efforts to get going again but without success! I may have to break the unwritten rule about finishing books or I will end up giving up reading altogether!

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