Wednesday 12 March 2014

How Reading Mirrors Life Events...

Until the last few days I was on a bit of a roll, reading wise. Then some stuff happened, about which I won't whine because a) there's no point and b) you're probably all getting sick of me being vague about the thing I'm not going into detail about which has been affecting our family for a couple of years. So yes, stuff happened and suffice to say the past couple of days has been rough. My reading has kind of gone to hell. 

By which I don't mean that I'm not reading. Oh no. Instead, I've started a lot of books. I'm currently midway through/in the first chapter of a grand total of six books. It's probably fairly obvious I'm concentrating on none of them. The most logical of the books I'm currently reading is Little Women, which you probably know I tend to return to year after year and especially during times of stress. Because I know it so well it doesn't matter that I pick it up and put it down and in fact I started it this week two thirds of the way through from a previous reading a couple of months ago. It generally makes me feel better, and it is still working its' magic, it's just that my state of mind is too fragmented to really settle into anything. 

Yesterday, after a particularly brilliant (note the heavy sarcasm) morning during which Benji somehow managed to chuck himself head first out of his cot - seriously, he must have done a somersault over the bars because he ended up lying with his feet away from the cot - during his 'nap' time and nearly gave me a heart attack, I picked up The Professor by Charlotte Bronte, needing something to do while sitting on the floor outside his room desperately listening to make sure he didn't do it again, and hoping it would be soothing. It is so far I have to say. I'm not sure what it is about the Brontes but they have an ability to soothe even while their books are generally not about the most soothing of subjects. Also, it's short, and it's the Oxford World Classics edition, which has lots of extra material, as well as Charlotte Bronte's unfinished novel, Emma at the end, so the fragments suited my fragmented mood. 

I'm also halfway through The Girl who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (dammit why can I never get the titles of this series right without looking?!) by Catherynne M. Valente, which is so far as brilliant as the previous two and also good for unsettled reading because it's in short chapters, and is generally quite Alice in Wonderland ish and makes you feel a bit trippy anyway. So yes. Then I did that thing where you read a book till you're about halfway through and are really into it, and then somehow manage to get distracted by something shiny (hi, Little Women!) and put it down with Eating for Britain by Simon Majumdar, which is a really interesting non-fiction look at all the 'typical British' foods. I will pick it up again because it's also in short chapters, as well as being divided into sections for each meal. Plus, it's really interesting and so distracts me from the things. 

So yeah, basically my reading it all over the place at the moment and I've probably spent more time reading and re-reading Wow! Said the Owl, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and Pilchard and the Field Mice to Benji than I have actually reading from my own books. Also today, just for good measure, I started reading How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood. So far it's really interesting, but I've nearly finished chapter one so I'll probably move on to something else in a minute....

Does anyone else have this problem where their reading is really tied up with their moods, or do you just keep going regardless? 


  1. No, I do the same thing. For the past month I've not been in a great place, so almost everything I've read has been a reread because the concept of choosing something new makes me illogically anxious. There's too much uncertainty in my life so I'm going for stability and reassurance in my reading, accidentally.

  2. I kind of do the opposite of Hanna, I think. I find that reading LITERALLY mirrors life, because I find myself drawn to all the books (and movies, and music, for that matter) that reflect how I feel. So, right now, while I'm feeling depressed and hopeless, my books have largely been about characters who are depressed and hopeless. My mum hates this tendency because she thinks it makes things worse, but from my perspective it helps me find my way through it and clarify my own feelings, having characters and authors express them so eloquently and maybe prompting me to think about things from different angles. It doesn't make things better, but it DOES feel comforting, knowing someone, somewhere, gets it. :)

    1. I totally get that :-) I do the same thing a lot of the time. Hooray for fictional friends :-p And the real ones, obviously!

  3. Reading is DEFINITELY tied in to feelings and moods. I read every sentence of your post, nodding and saying (to the screen), "oh gosh, I totally get you, my friend". Life has been a bit rough for me the past few weeks, so I haphazardly start books and lay them to the side because it's not enough to really get my mind off things. Not starting a pity party on my end - just saying that I understand where you're coming from. Hope that you feel better and that Benji will channel his somersaulting skills into becoming an elite ninja in the future. ...And also that we both finish a couple books this month!