But no books, nothing to lose myself in, no big stories. It was disturbing. I would say to myself, I've got to find a book to read. And then I would go on, not finding a book to read, thus reading posts on the internet and recipes and a magazine or so. It was a very sad state of affairs.
In the year of our Lord 2013, however, I have found myself reading again. This happened, largely, as I wrestled with myself over Lidia Yuknavitch's Dora: A Head Case. Which I was reading for my book group. As is the case so often, when I'm reading something that I need to read for some external purpose, such as a book group which I myself chose to belong to, I resist the book, which is obviously trying to be the boss of me. I put in my request to the library's robot, which obliged me almost immediately with the book, and also a Norwegian police procedural. In an absolute miracle of self-discipline, I required myself to finish Dora before I started the Norwegian treat.
I found the character of Dora to be excessively mean and I found her voice to be only intermittently in the author's firm control. Yet I found, as I resisted and persisted, that the book moved me and gave me things to think about, and I am still, in a sense, in the grip of Dora, a little.
I began the Norwegian procedural with great happiness, since I knew and liked the main character very much. About five-eighths of the way through the novel, when there were too many characters in an excess of jeopardy, I skipped to the final pages to find out who made it and who didn't. Then, I went back and read the remainder of the book slowly and carefully. It was excellent.
Next, I read the long-awaited third installment in a young adult series. Very gratifying.
In the meanwhile, I have assembled most if not all of the books I have bought but I have not yet read. That's how I came to pick up Joshua Ferris's The Unnamed, which I found to be devastating and beautiful. There were no apparent felicity conditions for my reading of it: it isn't part of a series, it's not a piece of genre fiction, and I did not read it for my book group. Instead, I picked it up because now, apparently, I am reading again. It is pure joy.