June | 六月


Reader’s block

I really want to be obsessed with a good story or a fabulous narrative that is attractive and smart, but as I recently went through most of the book review websites, there was nothing that I found attractive. Most recently published fiction has the topics of women, gender, sexuality, race, and immigration. I love books that explore these topics, and I read a lot of books on these topics, but recently, I just suddenly felt tired of reading the same issues and stories again and again. The fault may be on me, rather than on the novels. I just feel anxious about having the desire to read fiction, but not finding a story that is attractive.

Then I looked back at the bookshelves behind me, trying to see if there was anything interesting to me. I guilty have lots of Tsuntoku-books I bought but have not had a chance to read yet, on the shelves. Most of them are fiction and literature. Then I thought I might want to give Elle McNicoll’s new book, Like a Charm, a try, because she is one of my favorite children’s book authors, and I really enjoyed her first two books. After reading fifty-something pages, I knew that I was not in the mood of reading children’s literature right now.

I know there is a word in English called Reader’s block, meaning “an overwhelming urge to read all the books but can’t concentrate on any of them.” Am I in the Reader’s block now? I do often experience the wanting-to-read-something-but-nothing-attractive-to-read mood several times a year. Each time when I felt I could not concentrate on one book, I always go back to the books I read and loved before. So, currently, I am starting to re-read Homer’s The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson, and try to start reading the new translation of Beowulf, translated by Maria Dahvana Headley with a focus on female characters and gender in the old English epic poem. After exploring around, I come back to books with female and gender issues again. 

Last words on Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, the nonfiction book that I am currently reading during my commute: One suggestion for reading the book is that if you are familiar with Foucault’s previous books and thoughts, you would find The History of Sexuality is so fabulous because it is a comprehensive collection of Foucault’s thoughts and he tried to present all his previous thoughts through the study of the history of sex of the western culture, which is just amazing!

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