Samstag, 23. Juni 2012

It's not always chocolate: Cravings of the literary sort


Usually I enjoy and cherish reading affectionately. Right now I am having a madly passionate love affair with it. During the last few days all my thoughts were centred on books, posts about books and authors I love, reading plans, movie adaptations and characters I've come to know so well that they sometimes seem more real to me than actual people. Of course I have also been reading and that at a speed which is incredible for me (but would probably still appear lame to everyone else). Perhaps it is because I hardly had any free time to devote to books in May and early June due to my finals, or it is because of the general enthusiasm for the Victorian Celebration and my love for Victorian literature, but fact is that I'm in a wild reading frenzy.

Everyone who reads for pleasure knows that reading one book leads you to others: books which are mentioned or treat a similar subject, books by the same author or from the same period of time, books which you know to have influenced this author, books which you already read and of which you are reminded again because they are written in the same style or feature the same setting or similar characters or simply touch you in the same way. And sometimes when you are reading a book ideas for what to read next drop down like seeds on the fertile ground of your 
mind, and as soon as you give in to one of those ideas, it develops into a full-grow tree; a tree which again immediately produces countless new seeds waiting for you to give them the light and attention they need to become trees of their own.

This is something wonderful because it ensures that once you start reading you cannot stop again and it becomes a passion for life, but at the moment it is driving me crazy. I have simply too many seeds I'm impatient to develop, and with every book I read they multiply again. Then, there are these cravings: out of nothing I am suddenly in the mood to read a certain author or genre or even a special book. Right now it is romance for example. Don't ask me why, but I feel the burning desire to read a really romantic love story, as well as to re-read Jane Eyre. Now, firstly I refuse to re-read a book I read in March. Where is that going to lead? I can't start reading books again after only three months.

Secondly, can I truly afford to read books which I know will lead me far from the path I have chosen? Can I read Gone with the Wind on a pure whim when I originally wanted to devote the month to Dickens, Hardy and some other heavy Victorians?
I am afraid that without discipline I am never going to get anywhere and that means that I have to get a grip on these cravings. It's not that from now on I will be reading on a strict schedule, but after all I want to read those Victorians, I am curious for Oliver Twist and interested in discovering Trollope, even if my mood wants to tell me I'm not.

And hell, yes, the thought that there are more books in the world than I can possibly read in my lifetime freaks me out.

Anyway, perhaps you have noticed that despite my claim to be feverishly reading there have not been a lot of reviews here recently. I have finished both The Sign of Four (the second Sherlock Holmes novel) and The Awful German Language (an essay by Mark Twain which I have waited to read for ages) and I have much to say about them, but somehow I don't want to. While I am enjoying blogging as always, I am just not in the mood to write a proper review. Right now, I only want to read a story and then embrace it within me instead of discussing it as usual. Yes, at the moment I am peculiar in all my reading habits.

How about you, do you experience similar fits of (book-) craziness or am I a hopeless candidate for the closed ward?

Kommentare:

  1. I loved reading this. I've been very busy at work so haven't had the time to read at all really this last week and I've missed it - didn't realise how much until I read this post.

    And I say read Gone With The Wind on a whim, it's a wonderful book!

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    1. Glad if I can remind you a little of your book love :)
      And if you say so, well I'll probably have to obey. I'm already feeling a bit like a Philistine for not having read it yet.

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  2. I would also like to recommend reading Gone With The Wind- I don't think you can afford not to! I read it around this time, oooh, 4 years ago now, and it was SO awesome, and such a good summer read! I definitely go through phases of being almost overwhelmed by all the books I want to read (mostly in a good way) but I just have to remind myself to breathe, and remember that life is long! :)

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    1. Very well, I'm already giving in! It seemed like a summer read for me from the very beginning.
      Gone with the Wind it is then :)

      And three cheers for being hopelessly (book)crazy!

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  3. Hey, I just came across your blog - it makes great reading!

    I seriously know what you mean - my exams are almost done and all I want to do is read read read! Well that is what the summer's for! :p

    I'll definitely follow your blog and keep reading your posts :)

    P.S I LOVE Austria (I visited Vienna in April)

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    1. Thank you, I just love new visitors! Besides, I just checked out your blog and have to admit that I feel slightly ashamed of my humble one in comparison :)

      Exactly! I'm afraid the sun won't see me much this summer: I'll be buried under a pile of books all the time.

      YES!!! Someone from outside Middle Europe who actually knows that Austria exists! You can't imagine how glad I am ;)I have to admit Vienna is lovely, but to tell the truth I'd rather live in England. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

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  4. Oh, I know just what you mean! Books leading to more books and then other books and wanting to revisit books. More books than we have time for. I think it's about finding balance (or learning to find balance--I'm still working this out!) between following whims and sticking with plans. Sometimes I need that spur-of-the-moment read; sometimes I need to force myself to read a book so that it's finished.

    Whatever you decide, good luck and enjoy!

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    1. Oh oh. I've never been too good at finding balance in anything...this is going to be difficult.
      At least I have you as a sympathetic fellow-sufferer :)

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  5. I know how you feel, I often feel the same way too. So many books I want to read, yet so little time to do it :(
    But I agree with you, we ought to follow certain schedule we have made, otherwise we won't finish anything but just hopping from one book to another. I usually create a flexible schedule, inserting a light and fun reading between hard ones. It work out this month (I inserted Black Beauty between Dickens and Oscar Wilde).

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    1. That sounds like a sensible idea, thanks for suggesting it!
      So according to the rules I may well read Gone with the Wind as long as I get some scheduled reading done too :)
      Let me know how you like your books, I'm currently wildly devoted to Oscar Wilde and very curious about others' Victorians anyway!

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  6. I find great truth in much of what you have said here. Although reading is an experience that is best enjoyed by reading the books that we most desire to read at any given time, I am finding that a little discipline keeps me on the path of achieving reading goals that I have set for myself. I have taken the approach of sticking to my goals, with a dash of light reads in between. I will read a few classics in a row or some literary fiction with a cozy or something of the sort thrown in.
    Great post.

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  7. I love this post, want to share my thoughts later when I've thought properly (and when I'm out of my reading / writing rut!). For now, this is my favourite bit of your post: "can I truly afford to read books which I know will lead me far from the path I have chosen?" - I frequently ask myself this, and I'm asking myself this a lot this week. Part of me thinks I can read what I like, isn't that the fun? Another part of me thinks, I have set myself a lot of challenges - how can I quit simply because I feel challenged?!

    I don't know! All I do know is I want to read everything right now.

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  8. This is a fabulous post. I just wrote on O's post, that for the first year and a half of my classics project, I ONLY read books from my list. It meant that I read a LOT of books from my 250 list, but it also started to drive me a bit crazy. I needed variety! Now, I let myself read what I want in addition to my 250 list. I generally read my "fun" reads-fantasy novels, poetry, other classics not on my list, rereads-at night before bed, and leave my project books for during the day. It has helped me stay sane!

    I say read what you want, when you want. I have found that giving into book cravings allows me to see connections between books in different ways. :)

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  9. Basically.....so many books....so little time..... ;)

    Definitely read Gone With The Wind! It's one of my favorites and awesome!

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