I haven’t lost my ability to decode the squiggles on a piece of paper or computer screen, rather, I have lost interest in reading. And as a writer, that is worrying.
I started a book a couple of weeks ago, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. It’s a fantasy built on the premise that Queen Victoria married Count Dracula after Albert died and is peopled by characters from classic literature of that time – John Seward, the Harkers, Sherlock Holmes, etc. – and on the surface ticks all the boxes for me.
Yet….I put it down after 150 pages, disinterested to read more.
Undeterred, I start another book I had on my Kindle for a while, Apostle Islands by Tommy Zurhellen. I read and loved the prequel to this book, Nazareth, North Dakota, and was so looking forward to the sequel. Yet everything that made me love his first book leaves me cold in this one.
I must apologise to these writers and I am offering no criticism of their work. I am certain that it’s not them. Rather, something has changed for me and I’m not sure what.
The last book I read and loved was a proof copy of The Night Rainbow by Claire King, but even as I came to the final page – and when I review it, I will be giving it 5* – I felt something change in me.
Is it just that the types of books I used to love don’t do it for me any more? Do I not enjoy reading as a pastime?
I’ve been working on my own writing for a while and have purposefully not read anything in the same genre lest I should unconsciously plagiarise a more talented writer than myself. I’m hoping that it’s my own characters who are stopping me from reading about those belonging to other writers; that Sean, Fiona and Catnip Nardini are too impatient to have their story out there, and that once I’ve finished this book, I’ll be able to read fiction again with the fervour and enjoyment I did before.
Until then, it’s magazines and non-fiction only.
Has this ever happened to you?