Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm having this problem...shocker

I'm having this problem with reading lately and I can't tell whether the books aren't worth reading or if teaching has turned my brain.

And I'm a little worried it's the latter.

Back in the day. Way back in time when I had time - and room in my brain - for reading, I looked down my book snob nose at people who read fluffy books. My grandmother, for example - who worked two jobs and had nine kids - read a lot of romance novels. I never understood it.

With age comes stress and possibly a little wisdom.

I see that for her - and now for me - reading couldn't be something she put her full heart into. I don't have the luxury right now to run away with reading. And when I try to read books that will make me think? I find my eyes glazing over and all of a sudden I'm lesson planning instead of reading and thinking.

Example? OK.

Chad - from Fiction is So Overrated and I decided (if decided means I stalked him down, emailed him, and made him agree because I think he's cool) to read some books together. He chose our first selection: The Tiger's Wife.

While Chad is awesome, I did not find The Tiger's Wife to be as awesome. It was kind of like when my young adult book club read an adult book and I picked Claire Messud's latest because I love her and she is fabulous and then I hated the book. Sad.

Now. Get ready. I'm about to get scientific, because I really need to figure out why I didn't like this book.

Later - post reading - I found out Tiger's Wife is the new hotness book that everyone thinks people should read. We know I hate those books on priciple. However, Chad and I had a pact not to research our book selections. So I didn't know, which means I wasn't tainted by my snobbery against books Oprah and Amazon and my feminist book store tell me I should read.

It wasn't my snobbery. But was it my teaching brain?

I tried to like it. I really did. Parts were beautifully written and poignant, but I couldn't stay focused. It was the kind of book where you are reading along and all of a sudden you are on a tangent, which is followed by tangent off of the tangent, and by the time you look up you're like: I don't care in the slightest why this town only has one gun and who brought it here - shoot the stupid tiger already.

And I love tigers.

It reminded me of A. S. Byatt's The Children's Book. And I hated that book before I started teaching.

Perhaps there are remnants of my brain left intact. Perhaps I can still find joy in books that don't have fighting sequences to keep me awake.

There's hope for me yet.

"Is your heart a sponge or a fist?"
Tea Obreht


  1. "shoot the stupid tiger already."

    Ha! I love it. And thanks for the mention of my awesomeness; I've been working on spreading the word...

    I promise to do better with my next choice.

  2. Okay, I know that when I get SUPER busy at work, by the time I get home there is no way I can think ANY MORE. Sometimes it's so bad that all I want when I come home is for someone to just make me laugh.
    So sitting down with a beefy classic isn't happening. Sitting down with a good mystery is.
    And for you, I would imagine that all day long you have to be ON. So when you come home, you want a similar break.

    There are also reading phases, maybe it's just a phase!

  3. Okay; this is my second time through reading this post. I think one's taste and enjoyment in fiction is more than a little bit related to what's going on in their life. If you're working yourself to death and everyday is an exhausting struggle I can't imagine 'relaxing' with a book like The Tiger's Wife.

    I don't think that means anything is wrong with he book or your life; only that the two aren't going to currently play nice together.

    Soft and fluffy is good; everyone likes to be comfortable. In fact, I think my reading output would drastically jump up if I would incorporate more of the fluffy stuffy that I told myself I was over only a year ago.