Reading Climate
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Whatever your politics, I think you can safely say that since the election, your emotions, fears, hopes, worries, joys–all these things have likely changed. I know mine have. I’ve noticed a strong shift in the things I want to read or watch on TV.  Personally, my worries and fears have ratcheted up (some on account of the national election, some on account of some things happening in my state).

At first, I didn’t want to read much. I spent a lot of time writing (go me!) because I wanted to escape and enjoy myself and not end up drowning in worry. I kept trying to read some things, but I couldn’t seem to get engaged with anything. I tried mysteries, fantasy, romance, paranormal, non-fiction, and so on.

I wrote and wrote. I started re-learning piano again. I started looking at seed catalogs and I cleaned (but only a little–didn’t want to go overboard). Oh, and I baked bread. Recently I picked up a book again and I read a short distance into it and had to stop. My worry for the main character made it too difficult to keep reading at that time. I’ve become horrifically thin skinned on that topic. At least for now.

It made me wonder what people right now are reading for their joy/pleasure/escape? Is it the same as you always read? Or have you switched? Or maybe you’re going back to trusted and true favorites? Or picked up stuff you never thought you’d read?

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About Diana Pharaoh Francis

A recovering academic, Diana Pharaoh Francis writes books of a fantastical, adventurous, and often romantic nature. She's owned by two corgis, spends much of her time herding children, and likes rocks, geocaching, knotting up yarn, and has a thing for 1800s England, especially the Victorians. Check out samples of just about everything on her website: www.dianapfrancis.com

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Reading Climate — 12 Comments

  1. History, per usual. Though that is my job too, of course. But my recreational, escape reading is still history, history that is outside my job mission. Right now it’s the history of Merovingians. Not only is this really old history, the books are really old too — the latest one is maybe 1996? The earliest one is from the early 1950’s.

    With few exceptions fiction stopped delivering anything for me years ago. The ones that work for me are usually crime novels or an historical. The one that kept me going the last two weeks was Dumas’s sequel to The Three Musketeers, The Red Sphinx -or- The Comte de Moret. He never finished it, but recently it got translated for the first time into English, by someone who put a lot of effort into providing a contemporary English rendition that is lively in the same way that presumably the original Dumas French was for his French readers. I’ve also been re-reading for the first time in years George Eliot’s overtly political novel, Felix Holt. Elections, o elections . . . .

  2. The only politics=related reading I’ve been doing is for a project (Russian spy network during WW II, and immediately after), and Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Finn (reread). Otherwise, it’s been pure escapism, with sidetracks into history, which I enjoy: the Mack biography of Alexander Pope, George Selwyn’s letters, Mrs. Gaskell, and Miss Miles, by Charlotte Bronte’s remarkable friend Mary Taylor.

      • All kinds of things light up with later readings. (Especially Trollope, reading it concurrent with his autobiography, in which he talks a great deal about his writing process, and reader feedback.)

        Edgeworth without her father’s forced editing is interesting, but there are a bunch of equally fun period readers whose work we can now get at thanks to the Internet.

  3. I rarely re-read books. I remember too many details and get bored. But I found “All Creatures Great and Smalll,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” and “The Lord God Made Them All” in one omnibus e-book for $2.99. I hadn’t read these books in 30 years. A few pages each morning with my oatmeal is a delightful break from the here and now. I have given up watch TV news. That helps more than anything.

  4. “Recently I picked up a book again and I read a short distance into it and had to stop. My worry for the main character made it too difficult to keep reading at that time. I’ve become horrifically thin skinned on that topic. At least for now.”
    Good to know I’m not alone. For the first few weeks all I could read was nonfiction, which is weird because I normally don’t like it much.

    Now I am back to fiction but I read slowly and fearfully.