Thursday, 3 July 2014

Finding my way back to books

So you may have noticed the somewhat sporadic posting over the last year or so, as I fell off the radar, attempted to climb back onto it and failed spectacularly by going straight back into hospital. Basically I should never say I'm back, it is guaranteed to jinx it, I should just sidle back in when no-one is paying any attention...
It was quite an interesting time, because I was suddenly faced with multiple crises all at the same time, and for the first time in my life I reacted in a different way to usual. I stopped reading. I have so many books, I constantly have one in my bag or within easy reach just in case I get a spare two minutes to read a couple more pages. At no point ever in my life have I gone so long without picking up a book. I tried, oh believe me I tried. I tried new books, but they were usually discarded within a page, three pages, several chapters slogged over several months. I tried old favourites and could usually manage to get about half way through before giving up, but nothing managed to stick with me until the end.

Which meant I had an awful lot of free time to spend pondering all the things I really didn't want to think about that had caused the reading crisis in the first place.
It was a really pretty awful time, although some of the things that have come out of it have made up for it in spades. But it meant that I started trying to find new ways to fill in the gap that the books had left.
I went back to audiobooks. Although there was never anything so exciting as listening to a new book, I listened to my three favourites 'The Scorpio Races' by Maggie Stiefvater, 'Graceling' and 'Fire' by Kristin Cashore. I can now pretty much recite them all word for word from memory. It became one of my favourite things to curl up at night with my headphones in and disappear to Thisby or The Dells, or the Seven Kingdoms. They were familiar, and something about having someone else read the story to me was comforting, and snuck them in around the reading block.

Then there were the TV shows. I've always had a couple that I followed avidly and loved, but suddenly I was watching so many more, and boy was this the year to get invested in American TV. There was such a wide breadth of variety across the board. The staple supernatural in 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'The Originals', and boy did 'The Originals' knock it out of the park in its first season. It started off as quite a safe predictable show, and within a few episodes had completely twisted everything on its head and turned into one of the most compelling shows out there.
Then we had 'Starcrossed' sadly only for one series before it was cut. The incredible period drama 'Reign' which will get its own blog post because it was so incredibly awesome, detailing the life of Mary Queen of Scots when she was a teenager at French court. 'The Witches of East End', based on the novel by Melissa de la Cruz and due back for its second season this Sunday. Third seasons of both 'Revenge' and 'Once Upon a Time', of course the brilliant and breath taking fourth season of 'Game of Thrones' and a new discovery for me 'Sleepy Hollow' which I am currently forgoing sleep to plough through.

And finally after months of ignoring my books and watching TV shows and listening to audiobooks, I was stuck in hospital again and very, very bored, when I felt the first stirrings of wanting to read. I begged The Boy to bring me the first three Harry Potter's to re-read and to my surprise, devoured them. Once I got home I worked my way through the rest of the series, finding comfort in some very old friends. And once I'd finished? I picked up a new book.

Since then I haven't stopped, I've been working my way through books I have been desperate to read for months, consuming words like someone who has been starved for the last year. I can't put into words how relieved I am to finally be able to enjoy reading again, and to know that I will finish a book that I start. It felt like I'd lost access to a part of me that I'd taken for granted, and I am so grateful to have it back.
But whilst I missed all the books during that year, I loved discovering so many new things. Now it's just trying to find a balance between the two!

Which brings me, in a very roundabout way to the question I wanted to pose through this post. Have you ever had a patch where you couldn't read, or where you didn't want to? And what did you do to help yourself through it, and did you find other things in the process?

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