This has been an odd year for most of us. Even the hardiest, even the most introverted of introverts, even the most privileged, is likely to have experienced some twinges of What the fuuhh…
I reckon I’m pretty hardy, mentally at least; I’m definitely an introvert and, although I don’t have much cash to play with, I have a comfortable home, with a room of my own, enough to eat, a husband who loves me, nothing to fear, so I’d say I’m no less privileged than a Wall Street wife who thinks nothing of spending a thousand quid on a frock she may never wear, but worries constantly that she could be replaced by a younger woman. I have nothing to worry about, but I do worry about the rest of the world. Thus, I have found this year to be disturbingly distracting.
The increasingly obvious manifestation of this appears to be a pile of semi-read books. Beside me on the couch is: My Meteorite, by Harry Dodge; Findings, by Kathleen Jamie; The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis; Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo, and How to Grow Your Own Poem, by Kate Clanchy. All of which have bookmarks showing where I stopped reading. On a bookcase at the other side of the room are another four in a similar state of deshabille, and scattered about the room are at least half a dozen more. There’s another on my bedside table.
Like anyone who describes themself as a reader, I always enter a new year with a book or two on the go, but this is ridiculous. So, I’ve decided to dedicate December 2020 to trying to get to the end of as many of these unfinished books as possible.
Yesterday I managed to finish NK Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate, which was an audio book. Today I plan to give Harry Dodge a good try, but I’ll also do one of the exercises in the Kate Clanchy, and read one of Lydia Davis’s stories. I know I won’t finish the Davis by the end of the year, it’s huge and I find it impossible to rush through her stories. They make me think too much about how the bleeding… she manages to do that! But I’ll read one at bedtime and hope to absorb some of her skill as I sleep.
So, the plan for today (2 December) is: Kate Clanchy first thing; Harry Dodge for the rest of the day; Lydia Davis before sleep. If I can pull my head out of a book at some point, and/or something else to throw me off doesn’t come along, I’ll let you know how I get on with what I’m calling my Midwinter Readathon.