Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Reader’s Roadblock, the Reset Button and All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Ever so often, we all hit a roadblock in our reading habits. Mine started around a year ago when I couldn’t focus on anything that wasn’t YA or a thriller.

It started with Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, a masala entertainer if ever there was one! Eerie. So enthralling. So easy… I just couldn’t bring myself to read anything dissimilar after that. 

With a baby on the way, I wasn’t getting out much either. I had stopped browsing at local bookshops. I wasn’t socialising at much. I’d also stopped my drunken downloads (more on this in a future post). All I was going by was the ‘Suggested’ section on my Amazon account. And with Flynn as inspiration, the suggested reads cropping up everywhere I looked were also as such.

The Girl on the Train. Before I Fall Asleep. The Devotion of Suspect X. The Fault In Our Stars. All The Bright Places. And so on and so forth.

I was reading a lot, no doubt about it. And with a baby in my arms by September, I found myself devouring a book every three days – there’s very little to do when you’re in a chair, feeding at all hours during the day and night.

But then it got to a point where I realised that’s all I was doing. Reading. Keeping myself entertained. Looking at words and forming moving pictures in my mind.

That’s good enough, isn’t it? Keeping the cogs turning? No. It isn't.

What kind of ‘reading’ are we doing if we aren’t expanding our minds? If we get to the last page and then immediately download the next book we see that’s closest in promised effect to the one we just finished? "Fans of Gillian Flynn will love this..." "The Gillian Flynn of Scandinavia..." "So much better than Gillian Flynn..."

Comfort makes me uncomfortable. It makes me aware that I’m stationary. It also screams at me that I have a choice. I could sit here in my little coracle and go round and around. Or I could pull out a paddle and try to get somewhere.

Maybe I’ll get dizzy just going around in circles. Maybe I’ll get lucky and move in a certain direction. I’d also be running the risk of tipping over and getting drenched. And you know what? All of these things are still much better than sitting stationary, too afraid to tip over.

Clearly, I’m at a roadblock. But it isn’t the first time I’ve been here. 

I’m frazzled and I don’t like it one bit. So I’ve taken a U-Turn and traced my steps back to a place in which I always find comfort and inspiration. I called it my Reset Button and it’s triggered by these words:

When Mr and Mrs Dursley woke up on the dull, grey Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country.

Sure, it's a bit of a step back. But it isn't a setback. It's a reset in the form of a book I once knew like rote, the words just flew off the page. But it's never let me down. And over the next few weeks, I hope to share this journey back out of the rabbit hole on this space.

Do you have a book, author or passage that acts as your reset button? Share it with us in the comments section below. 

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