A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
As a lifelong avid reader, I couldn’t even begin to imagine not having at least five books on the go at the one time. I have books stashed in every room in the house with various unorthodox bookmarks in them. A sock in one, a train ticket in another, one with a half eaten packet of polo mints and there’s a pile stacked face down by my bed open at the last page I read. Usually, I work my way through them, some swiftly rarely being put down. Some, unfortunately keep their bookmark in the same page forever. This is how I lose things like my driving licence!
But what happens when you get to the stage where NO books go beyond those first couple of chapters? What do you do when you cannot get into your reading groove at all, no matter what you read? I mean, after the initial panic attack. This is not a problem with the books, I’m not talking about consecutive bad book choices here. This is very much a matter of it’s not you, it’s me.
My solution to this is always to go back and re-read an old favourite. It always works. I have read Katherine by Anya Seton at least twenty times. For some reason this book is one I can read over and over and over. It’s not my usual genre choice. It’s very long. It’s quite old. But for some reason, this is the book that saves me.
Katherine is was fist published in 1954. It’s a historical novel based on the love affair between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. It’s a fictionalised account of a true story, an epic romance of a beautiful lowly waiting woman and the son of the king. It’s sumptuous and harrowing and heart rending. And I can slip between the pages every single time I pick it up and find my love for books again. For some reason this story never fails to ignite the reading spark again. I have absolutely no idea why. But it works.
I don’t usually re-read novels these days. When I was a teenager I often went back over and over to books that had captured me. Nowadays I just don’t have the time. But I do with this one, it’s my mojo-sparking medicine. Nothing else gets fixes that reading slump.
I’m sure you all have different methods, or different books you go back to. Please share your hits and tips. Do you go back, like me and read an old favourite? Do you take time out? Do you read something completely different? Or have you never had this…am I weird? I’d be very interested to find out what other people do.