For a person who loves to read, I sure do get reading blocks often. Sometimes, I’m just not enjoying what I’m reading. This happens most when I feel like I ought to read something – because it was a gift, or I’ve borrowed it, or it’s a recommendation I’m not convinced about. But other times, I really am enjoying it, but rarely pick it up. It’s disheartening, and baffling. At times like this, I’ll wander from book to book until I find one that snaps me out of it. Recently, I’ve abandoned three books partway through:
- Capital, John Lanchester. I picked this up because the BBC made it into a tv series, which I didn’t actually watch but I liked the look of. At almost 600 pages, it’s pretty long, which probably has something to do with my problem. But every time I actually read some of it, I enjoy it.
- The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith. I brought this home from work because I was close to finishing the book I had with me, and I had some time to kill in the afternoon. I enjoyed Carol so much, and had heard such good things about this in particular, that I figured it would be an enjoyable way to spend my afternoon. But it never really grabbed me and although I’m sure I’ll like it more once I get further in, I didn’t get very far at all before I was distracted.
- Villette, Charlotte Bronte. I started this because my friend mentioned reading it – I’d never heard of it, looked it up and was immediately intrigued. Again, I like it. I want to know what happens. But it’s long. And also quite heavy. And I have to concentrate, partly because a lot of the conversation is in French. That’s fine, theoretically – I have a French degree, I lived there for three years, I’ve been tutoring my friend’s sister in French – but it’s more taxing than reading English, not least because I finished university almost four years ago.
So this morning, instead of Villette, I picked up Star Wars: Before The Awakening. Chloe lent me this along with Star Wars: Shattered Empire, which I loved. I’d been leaving it until I really felt like reading it, to get the full enjoyment, and I’m glad I did. It’s a prequel novel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, detailing the events that bring Finn, Rey and Poe to where we first meet them in the film.
This was the perfect time to start it as, on Saturday evening, my parents went out, so I tucked myself up in a blanket and watched Star Wars: A New Hope with the surround sound on. It turns out I remembered hardly any of it at all, which isn’t really surprising as I think I last watched it when I was in primary school. Also, brilliantly, gmail gave me the option to personalise my inbox with a Star Wars theme – the loading bar is a lightsaber, it’s amazing.
My head was still full of blasters and TIE fighters and storm troopers when I opened this on the train this morning, and I didn’t mind too much that I was sitting on the floor because there were no seats, or that we were late because of a signalling problem, because I was in training with Finn and caught in a sandstorm with Rey. This looks to be the first book I’ll finish in a few weeks, and I’m excited about it!