On being indecisive

February 14, 2016

I wonder if anyone else has this problem: I don’t know what to read next.

It’s not as if I’m short of unread books: no, there are lots of them, of all different genres, books that I’ve bought because I must read them, even though that ‘must’ was five, ten, twenty years ago… books that were impulse buys, because they seemed like an interesting idea at the time. And yet, I’ll get to the end of a book, reach for another, and I’m stuck.

At the moment, the default choice is travel, but eventually I feel tired of surrogate voyaging. Next is often a novel, but I have to confess to having serious problems with fiction at the moment, and I’m a bit mystified as to why. Novels often seem a bit forbidding, a bit long (there are several door-stoppers waiting on the shelf), and I find myself not wanting more invented lives, if you see what I mean. I’m starting to consider whether this has anything to do with growing older; certainly my appetite for novels has shrunk, and if I do fancy a novel, it’s just as likely to be something I’ve read before and enjoyed, rather than something new; in fact this is more likely to be the case.

I’ve written before about my interests changing. Now there’s more of a restlessness: I’ll surf to while the time away, I’ll do crosswords, I’ll read magazines and newspapers until finally that restless mind (sometimes) settles on a book. Perhaps it’s just cabin fever: I do hate winters, and feeling cooped up and unable to be out and about. But it’s also annoying: I do actually want to read all those unread books…

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