Sunday, May 2, 2010

The return of the reader

A paradox of my life as a writer is that I go through periods where I don't want to read any books at all. These periods usually occur when I'm writing a book. Apparently the act of creating a book renders me too spazzed, tired, and/or drained to read, much less appreciate anyone else's literary creation. Instead I turn to Facebook or Twitter or whatever I'm currently obsessed with on television (my current obsession is this show).

So for the next couple of months, when it turns out I'll be writing not one but two books simultaenously, I would have expected to be unable to read more than a short magazine or newspaper article, much less a book. And, in fact, reading's been tough for me over the past several weeks, ever since I started writing my book about Dachshunds. But strangely enough, even though I've agreed to do this second book project even while I'm immersed in all things Doxie, I'm actually emerging from my latest can't-read-a-book phase.

The vehicle for that emergence is a newly compiled collection of short stories by Charlaine Harris that focus on that intrepid barmaid from Bon Temps, Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse. I love HBO's True Blood, the TV show that's based upon the full-length Sookie novels, and had pretty much devoured (please excuse the poor verb choice here. The books deal with vampires) those novels while I was recovering from surgery last year. But the short stories are a special treat. Harris is an easy writer to read, and short stories, by their very nature, are much more easily digestible to the reading-averse than a full-length novel, much less a work of non-fiction.

Hence, this May-masquerading-as-August Sunday found me in a happy place: ensconced on our living room sofa reading about Sookie's initial encounter with the Queen of Louisiana. Allie lay at my feet, sitting up occasionally to collect some ear scritches and back-of-the-neck strokes. Meanwhile, the chicken I'd put in the oven to roast an hour earlier was starting to smell very good. Contentment abounded.

I know now that I'll be ready to dive into the next novel-length installment of Sookie's adventures, which should arrive here in a couple of days. And the pile of books on my night stand doesn't look so intimidating anymore, which makes me feel very happy. That's not to say, though, that I'm swearing off TV. Not by a long shot.


Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

I totally get this. I sometimes have a hard time reading magazines w/o it feeling like a 'work' thing.

Congrats on the books.

Susan said...

Thanks, Roxanne. I'm gonna be busy, that's for sure!