Monday, June 21, 2010


Books. Books and reading. (insert big sigh here)

Books and reading have been my long companions. They have been my way of life. Books offer solace, laughter, adventure, excitement, knowledge, new ways of thinking, escape, understanding, and pure comfort. For years; my whole life, really, reading has been my greatest source of pleasure; my number one method of self-care.

Why then, can't I find a book I really love? Why can't I settle into it? Why do I have fifty books (the library's limit) checked out and nothing to read?

I am restless, really restless lately. My mind won't settle. I can't sink into a story. I can't seem to pay attention. I can't be still, not even in my mind.

Summer is usually my time for reading. And, I miss it. Oh, I haven't stopped reading, not really. But, I only read in small snatches, tiny bites of time. I pick up and put down. I start and stop and don't finish. What is wrong with me? I want to sink in and stay a while. I want a book so good I stay awake all night. I want a book so engrossing I skip the laundry and the dishes and consider twice before accepting a lunch date. I want to read.

Any thoughts?


Tracy said...

I hear you. I think the books we fall into like that are the exception rather than the rule. I just finished "Beatrice and Virgil" which had a lovely, bittersweet ending but took me forever to get through. I am now reading Elizabeth Gilbert's ""Eat, Pray, Love". Next on my list is "The Little Bee".

Bee said...

These things definitely ebb and flow. Saturday I meant to catch up with my blogging, but then I could not PUT DOWN Curtis Sittenfield's Prep. (Have you read it? Terrific rendition of adolescence anxieties, although almost too good as it made me feel 16 again.)

Yesterday one of my best bookish friends came for a visit and she brought me two books that look really, really good. One of them, Hawards End is on the Landing, is about an English writer re-discovering some of the classic novels on her own bookshelves.

Are you in the mood for something deep or something frothy?

Georgianna said...

Relyn, David and I were just speaking of something similar a few days ago. I've never been without books, devouring anything and everything. But in past few years, frankly, the new releases don't interest me much. The plots aren't inspired and the writing is often offensive in its illiteracy. I don't know if that's the only reason I haven't been reading, but I mean to visit a library or bookstore today and see if something grabs me. Otherwise, it's back to classics I have missed. I'm sorry you are restless in your reading, I do understand the feeling and hope you find inspiration soon so you can enjoy your special summer past time. xo – g

lakeviewer said...

Pick up karan desay's The Inheritance of Loss. You won't be able to take a break.

p.s. the title is definite; the author, maybe spelled differently.

HKatz said...

I am restless, really restless lately.

This may be a passing phase. There was a time a few years ago where I couldn't get into fiction; I was impatient with the fiction books I found, and stuck to non-fiction.

Sometimes what it takes is to discover a really good book, as others here suggest. Also reading short stories can be wonderful in many circumstances, but especially for a more restless frame of mind. Sometimes watching a good literary movie (either a literary adaptation, or a film where the characters love books) can start up the urge to read again.

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement, and support.

Jeanie said...

Books are so personal, so subjective. But I know what you mean. I don't always HAVE the time to read, but I usually have a stack that's calling to me as soon as I can get to it, and if it's not the right thing to sink into, it's always such a disappointment. I don't have your email address, or I'd send you the list our book club put together for potentials next year. Alas, I'm not much help!

Anonymous said...

...what kind of book are you looking for? or do you know?
...i can really relate. i have piles of book everywhere and none of them are drawing me in. it's been forever.
may i recommend one of my all-time favorites? The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock.

hope your book finds you soon!

Suz said...

Maybe you don't need to escape into "someone else's life" your's is calling calling calling
to live it more fully than you think you can
or just maybe you need to read some nonfiction
I read writing and workout and health books..and decorating when I'm not feeling like entering another unreal life
Then I'm cured for a while and off to read again

and I apppreciate every single one of your visits...and want to tell you so

Heart2Heart said...


What types of books do you enjoy? You can always check out my newest book review blog and participate in my giveaways. Who knows what excitement awaits you to get lost in this summer.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Marilyn said...

When I feel like that I am going to a time of discontent and it is time to make sure I am journaling. No suggestions, but to keep trying, never give up, and write those morning pages.

Jennifer Richardson said...

I SO get that! I was there recently. I felt drifty and disoriented. When I stopped struggling against it, just dropped down and listened...I felt drawn to some childhood reads....The Fledgling, in particular. So gentle on my mind and life-giving to go back and read children's literature to myself...just for myself. Seemed to "re-set" my heart for the rest.
Sending love and gentle prayers....

Laura said...

Rats! That is a definite pip. I am going to list the books I always recommend. Perhaps you have read all of them? Hopefully not.

Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jean Marie Laskas
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (my best book ever)
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni
The Poisonwood Bible by Bsrbara Kingsolver
Being Brett by Douglas Hobbie
Love, Loss and What I Wore by Ilene Beckman (and she has 2 sequels)
I know this Much is True by Wally Lamb
Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
Lummox by Mike Magnuson
God Said Ha by Julia Sweeney
Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray
It Takes a Worried Man by Brendan Halpin
An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser
Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
A Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Mandy by Julie Edwards
Mike Harte was Here by Barbara Park
Small Steps: The Year I got Polio by Barbara Park
Squids Will be Squids by Jon Scieszka
The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Digging to America by Ann Tyler
A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas '

Let me know if anything works!!! Sending good reading vibes your way!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Hi Relyn - I have given up reading fiction for the most part. I seem to be in "live my life" mode. I do read a lot of non fiction. I hope you find your comfort zone again soon. I am making note of all these books in the event I find myself needing a good read.

Gigi said...

I sometimes go through spells like this, and it's usually when I'm on the verge of or in the middle of doing some very big creative work of my own. Sometimes there's just no room for other stories! Sometimes the story I need is my own--the one I'm writing or photographing or . . . whatever it is I'm doing. Maybe you're on the edge of a big creative breakthrough, Relyn! Maybe something new is just around the corner . . .

That restless feeling is one I know well, and it usually means big things ahead!!!! Let me know what happens, my sweet friend. xoxo g

The Simply Luxurious Life said...

I know exactly what you mean. I too read so much more during the summer months. There really is nothing like a great book that causes you to lose all track of time.

By the way, enjoy your shopping trip tomorrow. Sounds like a fabulous time. Next week I'll be doing the same and I can't wait!

krissilugbill said...

i need a new book too! i am feeling the same way, i just can't get into anything lately :( hopefully your soul finds something suitable soon :)

Yiota said...

Same here. I keep reading my all time favourites as I can't find anything new to grasp my attention.
Hope you'll find something fabulous soon.

meandering pearl said...

sometimes when we cant read its because we want to write!!! our soul sings out to express rather than to be inspired? its just a thought :) lots of loveliness for you {& sorry about too much linky exploring hehe, i love to share what i find because it often adds meaning or insight into the specific thing im trying to convey, albeit in two or three tiny words...i always love the links you share too!!! such happiness}

Joanne said...

I'm not sure if it's you or a current trend in books because I've heard others say the same. If the latest fiction isn't cutting it for me, I'll try switching genres and look for a good memoir or two to read.

bekkah said...

I have plenty of thoughts on this ;)

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Stout
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
Swimming to Antarctica - Lynne Cox
Bridges of Madison County - Robert Waller
Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Scar Tissue - Anthony Kiedis

And don't even get me started on the classics!!! Once you find the right one you'll be back on track. Good luck!

GraceGal said...

A Big Thank You Relyn for your comment on my blog. It's the first I've had in quite a while and I shouted HOORAY!
I love this post. First because I love to read. Books have been a huge part of my life since childhood. I hate those famine seasons.
The Comments above are wonderful. I can't build on them, but I will simply say a little prayer for you, for I know that restlessness has purpose. The good news is that it will pass.
Are you on Shelfari?
A sister book-lover :)

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

I hope you find your 'book time' no matter what. Perhaps you have too many other things on your mind or activities planned?!

elizabeth said...

I get like that too. It feels rather like it ebbs and flows. That being said, I started Women, Food, and God yesterday and could not put it down. The only reason I didn't finish it was because a guest came back from dinner so I put it down until today to visit. :)

Suz said...

Relyn.. another Kreativ blogger "award"..but you are one of my I gave it to you..others should know about you too

smith kaich jones said...

you silly girl, don't you know it's like love - that old saying? that you don't fall? you trip? cause you're looking somewhere else?

when you look away, you will trip and right there at your feet will be the perfect book, but you can't hurry love, no, you just have to wait...

:) Debi

dutchbaby said...

I just checked your Goodreads shelves and I see you haven't read "The Housekeeper and the Professor" yet. It is a very short, quick read and I'm pretty sure you will love it. I believe it will be the cure to your reading funk. It's on my Goodreads account on the Book Club shelf. Enjoy!

Joy said...

I have no suggestions - I'm in a funk, too! But I love all the suggestions here from your readers. I'm adding them to my list right now! Thanks, everyone! And thanks Relyn for sparking the conversation! (Love the opening pic, btw)

Suvarna said...

and that is what summers are for, reading and dreaming and reading, enjoy.

spread your wings said...

i've been that way lately too - just can't find a book to capture my attention. I'm reading 'Every Last One' right now and so far I am enjoying it - but I know tears are coming soon with this one.
By the way, i always enjoy reading your reviews on Goodreads.

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

OH, oh...this was happening to me! For the first time ever, I've started books and just not gotten back to them. I read parts then give up, take books from the library and leave them in the bag.

What's happening?! I friend said it may be hormonal, that there are times when it's hard to concentrate. Then I read in the NYTimes how we are driven to such distraction online that when we actually read, it's hard to cocentrate.

For now, my solution has been short stories,Alice Munruoe, and forcing my self to have at least one hour of non-computer reading each day.

I did just settle into this book:

A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias

Keep us posted on how it goes for you!

Chris said...

Your photo reminds me of a really great place called, Baldwin's Book Barn which is located in Kennett Square, PA. Great, great place, four or five floors of wall to ceiling books many of which are in wooden crates turned on their sides. You would love it! I love this post. I also have a recommendation for a great book: A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table" by Molly Wizenberg who is also the create of the blog, Orangette. Every recipe in this book is tied to a family memory and they are wonderful to read. I can't seem to put the book down.

Cinner said...

Relyn, Ever since I have been coming here I think you should be writing, maybe that is your book your waiting to read....just thinking....take care my friend.

Anita said...

I know exactly what you mean. There's nothing like a book to get lost in.

Mrs. E said...

Love this library shot-- I want to be in this photo! And oh, I love the summer reading! So eclectic compared to the school year!

willow said...

I want the library room in your pic! Oh, I am restless, too. Stacks of books around me, as we speak. Bleh.

Amy said...

I can relate ... I've been much the same way. But I'm not sure if it's the books, or me. I have been a tad on the stressed side lately ... stressed and pulled. I think I just need to stop ... and breathe ... and trust ... and enjoy the moment.

Of course, it could be the books too! :) Maybe I just need to go back to one I know I love!

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Relyn~ Know what you mean. I have 3 piles of books next to my bed and since I finished my last one, can't seem to get into any of them. Something in the stars? I believe NPR recently had a show on summer reading and what people recommended. Might check on their website. Loved the earlier list someone left above as well. Let us know what finally hooks you and keeps you there! Maybe all that's needed is a long walk! See you on the path.

Rita said...

I just got through reading Beverly Lewis new book. I love her writings. They are clean and always keep you interested till the end. Hope you find a good one soon that captures your attention. Dad used to say, "If you can read, you can go any place in the world through books."

susanna said...

I'm ready to find the next great read, too, Relyn. You may already know that I found great fun in reading Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books but I'm also with Tracy, on reading Little Bee. Boy, now that was a good book! And Bekkah's recommendation - Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society - had me laughing and wishing that the characters were my neighbors.

You know what I'm curious to read these days? Those Jane Austin zombie and seamonsters books. I have no idea whether they are good or not. Do you know? Or what about that new book, The Passage? It's another book involving monsters, I think. Well, that's where my reading interests lay this summer. :)

Oliag said...

It's like losing a good friend...

I have found that if I haven't been reading for awhile...usually because of blogging:) is difficult to get back into it...then once I start it is difficult to stop. I wouldn't worry too much about it tho...perhaps your restlessness is a message to try something new...

Hindsfeet said...

My "stay up all night" favs....

"Gift From the Sea" -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"West With the Night" -Beryl Markham

"Wind, Sand, and Stars" -Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Out of Africa" -Isak Dineson

Roban said...

I've had several books collecting on my shelf but have been hesitant to start one... until now. And I'm finding myself picking it up and putting it down, which is unusual for me, too. I'm a read-it-all-in-one-night kind of gal.

I noticed the books Hindsfeet mentioned, and when it comes to being "restless," I think those are excellent choices. I used to fly and read as many books related to flying that I could. "West With the Night" and "Out of Africa" are two of my favorites. The melodic prose transports you to another place and time.

While some of my books, many actually, make their way to the library's used book sale, those two volumes have remained a part of my home.

I hope you find something soon.... Or perhaps you just need to embrace your restlessness!

Kim Living Life said...

I think maybe it's time for a break, listen to some new music, or audio books, maybe even begin to wrtite something yourself,!!!!
do some art, photography, scrapbooking, something to give yourself a rest. Maybe a magazine, seriously Stampington have the most incredible mags, Artful Blogger and many more, sometimes a break even from the things we absolutely adore give us new view and just a rest from what we love and expect from what we love. I know I hate to start a novel and not finish it even a not great book but I drag myself through it, I wish I could just say hey it's no good I'm finished. But I an't well not often anyway. Good luck dear and never stress
love and hugs

Patti said...

Oh Relyn~ That is exactly where I am too- very restless and the things that held my attention are not at the moment. Same with books- I have about 6 started and can NOT get through any of them. I am fighting this phase and it is not working. I think I need to just accept it and go with the flow and give it time. But it is frustrating and I do not like this.

Tracy said...

How well I know that feeling too, Relyn. I find it happens more as I grow older. Books have been my life long companions too, but as adult my reading can be all over the place. Usually the restless feeling tells me I just have too much going on, and to pare things down. Sometime changing genres of reading helps me. Just now I have begun reading Jamie Ford's "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"--a beautifully rendered novel set amidst a very terrible episode of American history--very recommended. Let us know how you get on, and what you're reading! Happy Days ((HUGS))

robin-bird said...

oh blogging life has become near to invisible to myself as well as others......look what i have been missing. all this passion, interest, excitement and camaraderie of like minded souls who comment. you draw the very best, the most interesting and intelligent people toward you my friend. you're like a warm feather bed, a ice cold lemonade and yes, a fantastic novel that i can't put down! i can hardly stand the thrill of waiting to see you. you've no idea!!

fireworks to you too sweetie!

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