That Lovin’ Feeling

262481_477774512296230_155460898_nI’ve been wondering (secretly) if the love affair is over. Neither a short-lived nor casual romance, the relationship has been going strong for more years than I care to admit. Signs were pointing to a waning of passion, even though books have clearly played a major role in my life (what did you think?—this is a blog about reading, after all).

I have muddled through or abandoned the last few—really, half-dozen—books I have started—books that came highly recommended—some with awards or at least, nominations. To be clear, I am as enamored of children’s books as ever, whether they be flights of fantasy or picture biographies, whether accompanied by whimsical illustrations or glorious photographs. But books for grown-ups…not so much.

While there might have been a description here or there that gave me pause or a well-crafted phrase that caught my attention or even in the case of Richard Ford’s Canada, a first half that I admired until it turned to murky darkness (reminiscent of my much earlier experience with John Irving’s Widow for a Year), this was not satisfying. No, I was looking for the kind of all-consuming love that Carrie (of Sex and the City, not Homeland—though maybe her, too) craved:

I was the kid who read the back of the cereal boxes, comic books, dictionaries, most anything that was around. I neglected homework in order to read what appealed to me. Going to the library was my favorite neighborhood outing. My mother—my lovely mother—carried home shopping bags full of books and never complained (though she was a bit annoyed that I kept the books too long, thus, accruing overdue fines).

And now that my empty nest allows me the luxury of almost endless reading time, I was having one empty experience after another. What did this mean? And what did this mean in the larger sense, as Samuel Johnson might have opined: When a woman is tired of reading, she is tired of life? 

Thankfully, I didn’t have to pursue this line of thought too far, because15701217 a couple nights ago, I started a new book—The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud—and the sparks flew. Once again, I experienced and savored that deliciously guilty feeling of staying up late—way too late—and reading until bleary-eyed. Sometimes in moments such as these, I half-expect—no, really, it’s wish—my mother to peek in and tell me it’s time—past time—to go to sleep…but those days are long gone.

Now, this is not so much about this particular book—for you, anyway—as this might not be the book that keeps you up past your bedtime. George Clooney doesn’t make everyone’s heart skip a beat (Really!?!). And no work of art, no matter how Unknown-11lauded, is universally loved and appreciated. The Wizard of Oz is as magical a movie as ever made and yet, over 30 years ago, I was incredulous to learn that my new husband didn’t like it (Really!?!). He muttered something about being frightened by the flying monkeys (who we know were actually good and waiting to be emancipated from the Wicked Unknown-12Witch—by the way, I’m pretty confident I don’t need a spoiler alert here.)

I happily realized it was not me after all; I just needed the right partner to reignite the passion. I can be patient about finding the next connection—it’s enough to know I still can. As it happens, I’ve been spending more time writing and blogging, which leaves less time for reading.

What about you? Is there a book that’s kept you up or made you fall in love with reading all over again?

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14 thoughts on “That Lovin’ Feeling

  1. Penny May 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply

    I loved this entry!! I really enjoy reading your blog!!!! I leave for Eastern Europe on Monday. Penny Adis

    Sent from my iPad

    • belindambrock May 22, 2013 at 12:43 am Reply

      Penny, thanks for your support! This entry was a bit of a departure, but, hey, it’s my blog 🙂
      Have a great trip!

  2. Laurie Bagan May 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Great entry

    • belindambrock May 22, 2013 at 12:45 am Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Laurie. You’re welcome here anytime. 🙂

  3. leslye arian May 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm Reply

    you are a great writer Belinda

  4. Amy @ Sunlit Pages May 31, 2013 at 12:03 am Reply

    You’ve perfectly described the lull in reading that I think everyone has experienced at one time or another!

    BTW, I just found your blog tonight and am excited to read more of your posts!

  5. belindambrock May 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm Reply

    Amy, thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind thoughts. I’m also glad that now i’ve been introduced to your blog.

  6. Ginger Kay July 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Over the past decade I’ve found that I enjoy non-fiction more and fiction less. I still love a good novel, but my definition of good is harder to please these days.

  7. belindambrock July 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm Reply

    Yes, I enjoy non-fiction, too—I really liked Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Quiet by Susan Cain and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed—but I do love that feeling of being swept away by a novel. 😉

  8. Kathy Marris July 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm Reply

    Oh yes, I identify with all you’re saying completely! It is difficult to find a book that you can immerse yourself into body and soul. I think the book that did it for me was ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ by Barbara Kingsolver. I imagined myself in Africa – it was brilliant!

    • belindambrock July 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm Reply

      Yes, I loved that one, too—although I was not transported by “Flight Behavior.”

  9. Carol Early Cooney July 6, 2013 at 8:12 am Reply

    I am so happy to see this post! I thought I was the only one having problems finding a book that caught my “Oh my God, I need to read this right now!” feeling. I looked at the list of summer books in all the magazines and shrugged my shoulders. I am glad you found a “stay awake” book! There is hope!

    • belindambrock July 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm Reply

      Yes, Carol, there is hope—as I rediscovered ;). And I love that feeling ,too— when someone has described what i’m experiencing.

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