Reading as psychotherapy

So those last five or so books on my reading list...

They weren't very good or well written. The plot was pretty superficial, and I managed to figure out the murderer about two-thirds of the way through each book. In one there were even some pretty significant continuity errors. And yet, I kept reading them. I couldn't really figure out why, because I knew they weren't very good. Normally, I would read one (or two to give a series a fair chance), and then set them aside for something else. It took me a while to figure out why.

My reading is a little bit all over the board, if you hadn't noticed. I enjoy mysteries, and tend to read them like a child eats candy... with as little benefit as that candy. After a bit of this, I feel the need for something more substantial, so that is when the "good" books come out. After having done that, I'll go back to the book candy. If I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed, the level of book I feel capable of reading declines. Fluff is sometimes about all I can manage. (When I'm feeling super overwhelmed, I can't even read, and then it is mindless sitting in front of the television. That didn't happen this year I am happy to report.)

This year was also a little more balanced as the Louise Penny books filled my love of mysteries and at the same time were substantial books aside from the mystery. Of course, I usually have a non-fiction book going at the same time, and slowly work my way through those.

My reading habits haven't changed for quite some time. I love not being in school because I can choose what I want to read and stop reading what I don't want. I can usually gauge how much brain space I actually have based on what I feel like reading, but usually, despite this, my patience with just bad books is very low. Why did I put up with those silly mysteries for so long?

I did finally figure it out, mainly because I had sewing lessons for my new machine on two consecutive Saturdays. I know that doesn't seem to make much sense, but bear with me.

The silly mysteries were set in a stitching store... one that sold supplies for all kinds of hand stitching. Through out the mysteries, you would also read about what classes people were taking, what they were making, and what the store was selling. I loved this one aspect of the books. I loved reading about the people's projects and the classes that were being offered.

When I was at my sewing class, as I looked at the quilts hanging up with big signs saying, "I'm a class!", it hit me. I needed to be part of a group of people who were learning new skills and making things. My friends in Evanston filled this niche for me, but I haven't really put that piece of the puzzle together here, yet. I guess I was missing it more than I thought. So, I signed up for the quilting class.

And suddenly, my patience with the books evaporated. I could barely make it through the book I was in the middle of and haven't even opened the next in the series that I had checked out of the library. Sometimes there is a piece of us that knows what we need even if our conscious brains are not aware of it.

Oh, and someone asked about my comments on a couple of the books about how they annoyed me. It was pretty much the style of writing for both of them. Each author seems to believe they have discovered the secret of life, when what they discovered are what many people are already doing. The way they are written, it feels as though they discovered the wheel and let you know about this discovery with breathless excitement and not a little bit of hubris. The money one was the worst, since this couple, coming a place of privilege and very high paying jobs, had the audacity to tell mere mortals how to save money and never have to work again. It's one thing to be frugal because it is a lark, it's another thing entirely when your well-being depends upon it. And then to think you discovered all these fantastic tips... Gah!


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