The year was 1992 and my husband was traveling for his job. My children were two and four, and we had been at some friends’ house all day playing with their kids and passing the time. As we were leaving Kevin gave me a book, The Sphere, by Michael Crichton. I have no idea if the book was any good, or if I just needed an adult book and anything would have worked. Perhaps I had mentioned earlier in the day that it had been a long time since I had read a novel, and that is why he gave it to me. Anyway, I brought it home, put the girls to bed, and started reading it. I’m not a super fast reader, but for some reason my brain devoured this science fiction book and I read it until 3:00 a.m., and when I finally turned the last page I went to bed.
Those devouring reading times have come once in a while throughout my life when I have fasted too long from reading. For the past few years of teaching grade 5, my students and I have kept track of our reading. Each year I read 40-60 books. However, the pandemic came and reading became something I neglected. I don’t know why.
However, this month reading is coming back to me, fortunately. I read Clint Smith‘s How the Word is Passed, Winn Collier‘s Holy Curiosity, and yesterday I read most of The Racketeer by John Grisham. It was awful, but mesmerizing. I just had to finish it, kind of like The Sphere all those years ago. It reminded me that I need to find good fiction and start reading again! I need fiction to disengage and relieve stress, stress internalized from the daily news as well as the nonfiction books I’m reading.
12 thoughts on “Slice of Life – Disengaging with Fiction”
I had the same experience during the pandemic. I just couldn’t read. It was powerful to share this with my 5th graders, and then show them all the things I was doing to try to reclaim my reading life.
If you haven’t read Allan Wolf’s verse novels, I recommend THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT (about the Titanic) for starters. I gulped it down. You know how it ends, but the way he takes you there is masterful. THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab was a fun read. I loved the shift in the middle.
Thank you, Mary Lee,
I have heard of others that had a hard time keeping up with their reading when this started. Hmmm…were we consumed with the news? I would think that would have driven me to read more, but it sure didn’t. Anyway, those are two new titles for me. I’ve bookmarked them, both. The Addie LaRue book sounds fascinating, maybe just what I need now.
Devouring books is so much fun! The last 10 pages are filled with ambition followed by a brief spell of mourning, when the characters are compelling. I’m not sure what your reading preferences are, but I recently read Crying in H-Mart which was a raw, but beautiful memoir about grief.
Thank you, Jackie. I have bookmarked Crying in H-Mart to my list for later. I do love memoirs, but right now I feel a need for something a little lighter.
I am glad you have started reading again. I love books Last year I started listening to audiobooks. I enjoy it . I listened to War and peace and Don Quixote and many more. I am not sure whether I would have read some of the books but listening to them was a wonderful experience.
Thank you, Lakshmi. Great idea to listen to some of those classics. I’ve been wanting to read/listen to Crime and Punishment. I’ll have to look for some audiobooks.
Denise, I know this great devouring of a novel, trying to savor it while in the throes of madly consuming it … am also chuckling about a book being “awful but mesmerizing.” A friend recommended a book to me that had this effect on her and I couldn’t get past the first pages. Not my taste. Funny how certain things strike us differently. The pandemic took a toll on many reading lives, just the opposite of what one would expect. I think our minds were too full to focus and enjoy properly. So – the last two novels that had this effect on me are The Goldfinch (bear with the opening chapter, just saying -) and The Overstory. I’ve read both twice and will be reading again!
Thank you, Fran. I will definitely check out your two recent highlights of novels! I appreciate your words.
Interesting! I increased my pleasure reading during the pandemic, finding that I really enjoyed the time spent reading during the day as well as my usual time when I went to bed. I’ve read several good books over the last year. Most of them I categorized on GoodReads if you want to check out my page on there. I really enjoyed The Midnight Library. I didn’t get into it immediately but as I stuck with it, I ended up really enjoying it. My husband read it too. That is the one book that really sticks out right now. I read 3 Pultizer Prize-winning books in a row and was left disenchanted with two of them that I found just too long – The Goldfinch and The Overstory. I enjoyed The Underground Railroad by Colin Whitehead and have The Nickel Boys on my nightstand now. I just have to finish The Paris Library first. Glad you are enjoying the escape into fiction!
You have left a whole treasury here! Thank you so much. I will be checking these out, especially Midnight Library to start. (Carol, I can’t seem to find your Goodreads page.)
Denise, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING was beautifully written – and even though I don’t read books twice, that would be one I would enjoy again. I love that your reading itch is back!
Joy, I do love that book. It’s one my son-in-law gave me to read a couple years ago. Thank you! I’m enjoying The Goldfinch now.
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