Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Books in bed

I love reading. I always have. But as time marches on I seem to have less and less time to do so.

In my youth, not a night would go by when I did not read for at least an hour before turning out the light. Every night. If the book was really good, I would keep going until 4am, telling myself as each hour rolled by that the next day didn't matter, that I would get through the day on a mere 3 or 4 hours sleep somehow. And I always did.

The funny thing was that I was never sleepy in the middle of the night, ploughing through some wonderful novel. That was part of the problem. It was too easy to keep going and ignore the consequences.

My how times have changed. These days I fall into bed and lie there staring at the ceiling, wondering whether I have the energy to pick up the book beside me. Usually I have novel ideas etc whirling around my head, so I think about them for a while, feel my eyelids getting heavy and switch off the light without evening opening my book. The time is not necessarily any later than it used to be. I just don't seem to have the same energy.

So maybe it's not that I don't have enough time, but more that I've lost the ability. How depressing.

The complicating factor is that I've usually got a couple of books on the go: one for my Page Turners reading group, and another one (or more) fantasy novels. Currently, the line-up is:
* Freakonomics (the Page Turners book; it's in my bed waiting for me to start it, which I'd better do soon)
* Sasha, by Joel Shepherd (a fantasy novel that's top of the pile (i.e. in my bed) at the moment. It's the one I've been reading most recently, having bought it and been excited by the prospect of a female elite swordsman. It's OK but not brilliant.)
* Banewreaker, by Jacqueline Carey (JC wrote the brilliant Kushiel's Legacy series, but this first book in a different duology is very different in style and, while well written, is just not grabbing me. It's been a while since I've picked it up.)
* The Golden Fool, by Robin Hobb (RH is another of my favourite authors. I put this one down a while ago to read a Page Turners book, and I haven't got back to it. I want to!)
* The Dragon Queens, by Traci Harding (The sequel to Gene of Isis, which I really liked. This one is in two parts and at the end of the second part I switched to something else. I'm finding the book incomprehensible, unfortunately.)
* Child of Flame, by Kate Elliott (This is book 4 I think in KE's 7 book series. While I love KE's writing, I do find this series a bit of a slog. I re-started this book a few months ago and was once again diverted onto a PT book. Not sure when I'm going to get back to it. I really want to finish the series!)

So there you have it. A very big pile of half-read books. The fact that they're still beside my bed implies I intend on finishing them. There are many more books in my shelves with bookmarks forever marking the place I made it up to. Maybe I'll come back to some of them one day, but at my current pace of reading -- not to mention the vast number of books out there -- it could be a very long time. Do you think I'll ever have the time and energy to read properly again?


  1. I find most of my big reading fests are when I'm on holidays. It's a bit sad really, because like you I *love* reading. (And I thought I was the only one with about four books that I'm in the middle one. You've got even more than me!) I'm sure you'll have time and energy to read properly again, but maybe just before bed isn't the best time for it. Sleep is important. I know because I'm always suffering from the lack of it!

  2. Nowadays, I am travelling a lot by train and use that time to read. Sometimes, I am even happy to take the slower train just so that I can read longer. Maybe there will also be a change in your circumstances that will allow you to read more.