Wallace (Unpoutdownables) had a post earlier this week where she talked about having a well balanced reading diet, and I really liked that idea, especially since for the last several months, my reading diet has been anything but balanced.
In the last two months I’ve read 12 books, and of those only two were fiction (and one was an audio book, so I’ve only “read” one fiction book in two months)! While that’s not entirely surprising given that I love nonfiction, reading Nina Sankovitch’s Tolstoy and the Purple Chair last week put me in the mood to switch up my reading diet a little bit and get some variety of the fictional sort.
I also haven’t had a really, truly stunning reading experience in awhile. I’ve read some great books, that’s for sure, but I haven’t grabbed on in awhile that twisted my heart and latched into my brain for the long haul in several months. Sankovitch writes about this in the book, using a character from a book to ask,
“Have you ever been heartbroken to finish a book? Has a writer kept whispering in your ear long after the last page has turned?” — Constance Fenimore Woolson in Elizabeth Maguire’s The Open Door
Yes, that has happened! The Book Thief, The Blind Assassin, The Weird Sisters, Nothing to Envy, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Warmth of Other Suns… all books that have whispered to me after I finished. I want to find another one of those.
But how to find one? That’s always the tricky part, isn’t it? With obligations and recommendations and whatnot, it’s easy to lose track of just reading to read. I think that may be part of my problem as well. There was one other piece of advice that Sankovitch quotes that I think offers an answer to this anxiety:
“Be serious, earnest, sincere in your choice of books, and then put your trust in Providence and read with an easy mind.” — Personality Development: A Practical Self-Teaching Course
I really like that idea… think carefully about what you read, but once you decide on the next book just immerse in experience. Don’t think about it so much. Just read.
With all of those things floating in my head, I decided this weekend — or my next couple of books anyway — were going to be palate cleansers, books to change things up and get me out of the same old thing, books that I wouldn’t feel like I needed to review when I finished, just books.
This week I had been reading Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl, which is an amazingly interesting book about the impacts of sex selection and Western population control policies on global sex ratios, but it’s also really heavy. Hence, the need to switch things up a little bit for awhile. I’ll be coming back to this one though, no doubt.
Since Boyfriend and I road tripped to Minnesota for a wedding reception this weekend and I didn’t have a ton of time to read, I did manage to start and finish The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa on Friday night, and get a good way through Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann on our drive back this afternoon. Right now, I’m debating the merits of putting my laundry away, going to the grocery store, or getting back to my book… any guesses what is going to win?
Do you ever feel the need to cleanse your palate or switch up your reading diet? What sorts of books do you read during those times?