Bibliophilic Purgatory

I don’t usually believe in reading slumps. Which may just give me a clue as to how the dinosaurs felt when that first meteor made an arc in the sky—“What? The end of the world? By fiery rocks? What the hell, Bob?”

I don’t know what to read. I really don’t know what to read. Every book I pick up just doesn’t hold me, and I don’t even think these books are entirely to blame. I mean, everyone loves The Book Thief, right? And I had a good feeling about that novel by Catherine O’Flynn when I borrowed it, right? And I’ve been reading the Moira Rogers novels, and developing a silly fondness for Jackson Holt—so why can’t I sit my ass down and read it? It, and anything?

Take Harold Bloom’s How to Read and Why—normally a book I’d enjoy, you can feel how much Bloom loves books, loves reading. And that just depressed me. I was envious. I can’t even find the enthusiasm for the ton of romance novels in my hard drive—and I’m usually giddy about aforementioned ton of digital happiness. I mean, if Laura Lee Guhrke can’t get me to read, I don’t think Harold Bloom stands a chance, with him going on and on about Chekhov and O’Connor and The Magic Mountain. (Don’t judge me.) And reading Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver just flatlined my soul. Never a good idea to read a book by someone you already know you don’t like when you’re in this foul bibliophilic purgatory.

For heaven’s sake, there’s at least 25 readable books in my boyfriend’s apartment* at the moment (not counting the say, the unreadable ones?)—and readable means I have elevated them to the shelf nearest to the bed. A few days ago, they thought they could stare me down, shame me into spending a couple of hours with them. And I have—each and every one of them. I’ve browsed through them, read a couple of pages, and inevitably announced that the world must have tumbled off its axis because nothing works. Now, these books can’t meet my eyes, and they give out these pathetic little whimpers when I run my hand over their spines. There’s nothing.

Oh, it’s getting on my nerves. There is seriously nothing to read. By which I mean that despite the wealth of books around me, at the moment they all suck, and they know they shouldn’t take that personally. I have half a mind to trek the three hours back to my place and pack my own bookshelf with me back here. Bah. And I am in pain, thinking about the bookstore five minutes away. Before I typed this in, I was lying in bed daydreaming of that memoir by Jeanette Walls. It is unthinkable that I buy books, unthinkable I tell you. Before I would have gladly traded food for a good book, but these are special times. I tell myself I could always go to the Booksale about thirty minutes away, but I don’t feel like leaving the area, and I don’t want to take the train. Whine whine whine whine whine.

I suppose it’s this cold. I should write a paper on how a clogged nose affects the reading experience. Because this seriously sucks. I console myself with mindlessly killing off zombies in my laptop, and half-watching the Discovery Channel.

I just need a book I can drown in, ya know? Am I asking too much from you, Universe?

* If you’re wondering why I don’t just talk to The Boyfriend, or better yet, nag him into buying me books, he is in Bulacan, which, to my non-Filipino readers, is a distance of HellaFarAway from Quezon City.


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