People talk a lot about writer’s block, but my biggest problem right now is not writing–I’ve been doing a lot of that, and it’s been fairly easy–but reading. As it stands, I’ve read 14 books in 2009. I’m kind of a weird reader. First of all, I have to read 50 books every year, and I always exceed that, but this year I want to make it to 80. Second of all, I keep track of every single thing I read on GoodReads, which I love. I think it has the best interface out of all the other options–namely, Library Thing and Shelfari, both of which I belong to but neither of which I seriously use, or the book thing on Facebook, which I don’t update anymore because I hate it–and I like how I can organize the books I read into multiple shelves. That way, I know what I read in 2008 v. 2007, etc. I don’t really review books on there, because I’m just too wildly opinionated to review books anymore–I’ll just end up offending people. I’ll only review books by people who are dead, or books that I loved, and even then usually I’m too lazy.

I’m obsessive about GoodReads. OBSESSIVE. I update it as soon as I finish something, and the “currently reading” list is almost always correct, down to the page number I’m on. Except, not now. Because ever since I got back to New York after Christmas, I’ve been really struggling to get into any book. I first noticed when I tried to read All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland, who I love. At the end of 2008 I decided to make my way through most of his backlist, and I even read his newest book, The Gum Thief, before Christmas (it was okay). But I couldn’t get into All Families Are Psychotic, so I put it down and figured I’d get back to it. The last book I devoured was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which I read entirely on the flight home from California. After that, it’s been an uphill battle.

Right now, my GoodReads currently reading list has five books on it. That is ridiculous; I am not currently reading five books. This is aspirational. I know I should be reading these books, because I’ve started them and I don’t hate them–in fact, I like them all! I’ve been wanting to read My Sweet Audrina forever, I’ve really been in the mood for Lush Life, I’m interested in what James Wood has to say in How Fiction Works, and for a while I was really sinking in to Little Bee. But I haven’t gotten past page 40 in any of those books–some of them even less. The only book I’m actually in the process of reading on that list is David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, but right now I’m mired at the beginning of a review of Bryan A. Garner’s A Dictionary of American Usage, which is interesting but lengthy and also about a dictionary, so I can see where this is headed.

What is wrong with me? Writing is hard, but sometimes reading is harder. Does anyone else have this problem? Please, tell me I’m not alone.

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