Monday, October 10, 2005

Random Thoughts on Reading

Has anyone ever heard of a phenomenon known as Reader's Block?

Yes, I know, lots of people suffer from Writer's Block. In fact, I suffer from it myself at times, though with me, it's more laziness than Writer's Block.

What I'm referring to is the inability to read. I haven't read a book in ages. All books look equally unappealing, and whenever I do steel myself up to start a book, I fall asleep before the end of the first page. It's very very scary.

On the other hand, I have started reading newspapers, which is a good thing, though I think that will stop once my vacations end. Also, I only read the editorials and the articles that come under the 'opinion' section. Not a good thing, because I ought to know the facts before reading the opinions that other, more learned people have formed from those facts.

I've tried everything to counter my Reader's Block, from trying books that have "Absolutely Unputdownable!" printed in bold on their front covers to actually sitting up when reading books. Which I really hate. I like lying down and reading. Years of being scolded by parents and hearing dire warnings that the power of my eyes would go down even further have not changed me one bit. Which is probably why my lenses and my specs have such unmentionably high powers. Actually, I like mentioning the power of my lenses, because I like to watch the astonishment on people's faces on hearing it.

I've digressed.

I've finally figured out, on recognizing the fact that I could read articles, but not novels, that I was suffering from a short attention span. Obviously, the solution was to read short stories. Which is why I'm reading Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allen Poe. My copy has a rather beautiful cover. It's bound in dark brown, with raised golden letters. However, that's as far as it goes. I've already spotted a couple of spelling errors.

Hopefully, my Short Attention Span Syndrome is short term. Because I've got my hands on a copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It seems to be a very readable book, from the couple of pages I managed to read before I falling asleep. It starts off with an ear surgery - a doctor removing a pea that has lain in the ear of a man for many decades - and what could be more promising and more - satisfactory - than an ear surgery? I haven't watched the movie, chiefly because I was under the impression that it was a purely romantic thing. The book seems to be quite funny, though.

Suggestions on antidote to Short Term Short Attention Span Syndrome are welcome.
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Varun said...

Poor me also aflicted by said syndrome. Reading short stories and then graduating to longer denser stuff might be a good way to get rid of it.

Try Tagore's short stories. Very simple, light and short enough to not bore you.

Shirin said...

I think it must be a passing phase. Don't worry about it.

Watch some mind-numbingly boring television - am sure your interest in books will revive.

Archster said...

I so get the falling asleep bit. I did find it really scary.

Shameful phase it was. Im still going through it :)

Arnav said...

Is this an epidemic in Delhi or what?! Even I'm suffering from it these days, and after reading Joyce and Woolf in succession, I am not able to get through 4-5 pages of a fun book like The Tin Drum without getting bored these days. Actually, in my case, it is also a problem with movies. I watch even good movies only for a few minutes at a stretch these days, and then pause it and start playing Snake on my phone, or check comments on my blog!
If you find a cure for this syndrome, pass it to me too.

Ravi Handa said...

the cure is pretty simple. read a couple of real bad books which are extremly boring and whatever happens... finish them. then you would be able to appreciate a good book more. this "block" has happened because you have read only good books in the recent past and hence you are not able to appreciate the greatness of the book you now pick up.

Ravi Handa said...

and i hve read CCM.. i read it just bcos hugh was reading it in notting hill. it is a great book but the plot is kinda cliched. also i didnt like the ending very much.

Jade said...

Varun: Yes, that's what I'm trying to do. But even Poe's short stories are out of my reach, apparently. :(

Shirin: Hmm. You know what? That's an excellent idea. Now if only I could wrestle that TV away from my grandma. :)

Archster: Hehe. Maybe it's the newest biological warfare weapon - getting people to fall asleep while reading. :P

Arnav: Read above. :) You play Snake, too? I thought it was only me. But then I have to deal with Minesweeper, as well. :|

Handa: Dude! I can't even read good books! Much less mind-numblingly bad, boring books! I guess that's not an option for me. And WHERE does Hugh read it in Notting Hill? Which scene, I mean?

Ravi Handa said...

last scene in the park, on the bench, with his head in julia's lap...

Kaala Kavva said...

ive always had a readers block
as in ive not been able to read a single book in my life

not book nor magazines no newpapers... i cant even read long blog entries
(ive read only 1 book.. 5.some1)

Domesticated Bachelor said...

:-) read!!! as simple as that

Ravi said...

A PGW novel/short story is a sure shot remedy. I would strongly recommend the golf stories,a series which , I believe, can hold its own against the more popular Jeeves stories
P.S: Thanks for commenting on my blog. For the record, eating Dosa with a spoon and fork is institutionalised in a number of restaurants, especially the more elitist ones...

Unknown said...

I dont really know what kinds of stuff you read but try "The princess bride" or "Freakonomics" both were recently read and were, ahem, for lack of a better word, 'unputdownable'!

DhiRAj SinGh said...

I often get a BLOGGER'S BLOCK so I can unnerstand ur situation. The key is to find a key that works. Umm... makes sense??

ram said...

You are not expected to get readers block unless the books in your next list are tough ones, just replace them with a reread of your fav harry potter:). Also reccomending you god of small things, if you havent been to it yet.

Jade said...

Handa: Oh, right, then. I must admit, though, all the times I've watched that movie, I've never noticed which book he was reading.

Ze Exaggerator!: Ah, I see. That explains why you never leave comments relevant to the post! :P

Joker: Now that's what I call good advice. :)

Ravi: PGW? Not a big fan of his, actually. His stories always have me tearing my hair out, trying to make sense of things that lack sense. :)

Adagio for Strings: Hmm. Have heard a lot about Freakonomics, though not about The Princess Bride.

MAHARAJADHIRAJ: Uh..sort of? :)

Paandu: Have read God of Small Things, and am quite sick of Harry Potter, because of the sixth book. :| The book I'm reading right now is quite funny, except that I am unable to read it. :((

the cowlick said...

I suffered from this all my years in Delhi.. there's always such a mad rush there that it leaves one with little time to sit and read.. or do anything creative. Maybe you should try reading MBs.. they're short and sweet. baby steps.