Reading Droughts: The Pandemic Derailed Me

For once, I may actually use brevity in a post and the post itself will demonstrate why.

To back up: I’ve been in a reading drought. Of books, that is. I’m always reading articles and political opinions and such, thanks to allure of Twitter. I also try to make a habit of reading flash fiction and blog posts from other writers. But books? Whew boy.

To back up more: My drought has really been for the last five years prior to 2020 for reasons I will mention another day. Going into 2020, however, I rekindled my love of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series by catching up with him through the last few books, including the short story collection. Then I moved on to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale before going back to a familiar face, with Stephen King’s The Shining (my first time reading it, even though I’ve seen the film). I then made a short foray into history with a short book about Martin Luther King, Jr., and a slightly longer stay in true crime with Mark Bowden’s disappointing (sorry!) The Last Stone, and Michelle McNamara’s incredible I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Mary Robison’s One D.O.A., One on the Way proved an unexpected, albeit quick, gem, and then Delia Owens’ debut novel Where the Crawdads Sing proved a lovely story worth my time. Finally, I went back to King again for The Institute.

That’s 10 books, eight of which came in the first three months of the year. That’s a pace I haven’t had in a long time. I was averaging a book a week. But then COVID-19 hit, and my brain was completely overtaken by it. I briefly returned in July with back-to-back weeks of reading Owens’ book and King’s book, but in the three months since, I’ve been back to my drought self.

Until now. I told myself on Saturday that I would spend Sunday reading. That’s it. That was the plan, and that plan was to read King’s book The Stand, the extended version released in 1990. My sister-in-law and I have a two-person book club between us, and she’s also a fan of King’s work. We decided we’d give The Stand another go. By “another go,” you’re not going to believe this; I’m still not sure what happened: I have a bookmark set 400 or so pages into The Stand. I read 400 or so pages of The Stand and then … stopped. That never happens. I certainly stop 20 or 25 pages into a book sometimes and pick it up later, but 400?! If I make it that far, I tend to finish. I’m perplexed by that.

Nevertheless, I just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I succeeded at my goal. I did my usual wake up around 6:30 a.m., scroll Twitter, do some writing and blogging for about two hours, eat breakfast, and then I turned to reading. For about the next six hours, that’s what I did. And boy, there is nothing quite like being immersed in a good book! Even though it’s familiar terrain since I previously read it, it’s good to be back; it’s good to accomplish that goal I set for myself. I wanted to plant that flag and say, reading is my first true love and there’s nothing quite like it.

This is also the most “challenging” book I’ve ever read, as it regards my spate of droughts given that this is by far the biggest book I’ve ever read at well over 1,000 pages. I’ve never read a book that’s more than 1,000 pages. The most has been Order of the Phoenix in the Harry Potter series, which if memory serves, is around 820 pages.

As usual though, when I do make it to the end, and I will, I will give a review on this blog, so stay tuned! A lot of fans of King’s, from what I understand, see The Stand as his best work, and as such, it’s basically mandatory reading. I need to know!

Have you read The Stand? More importantly, have you also had these drought periods with your reading? Between wanting to binge all the great television and movies out there (old and new), as well as trying to write original stories and blog (as I’ve mentioned, something I’ve put renewed focus and therefore time toward), and you know, having a full-time job, it’s hard to balance all the fun things I want to do. Unfortunately, reading has most been the victim of this poor time management.

But anyway, I’m going to get back to reading!

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