Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Salon: Guilt and the Reading Slump (Plus an update on the House)

My reading crazed January has given way to a mild February slump. I went from heavy showers to a light drizzle. In small part, I blame the book I am reading. It's taken awhile to take off. And while I've started a second book in the meantime, I keep returning to first, not yet ready to fully move on--even for only a short while. This isn't the case of not being interested in the first book. I still very much want to read it and am interested to see how events play out and what will happen to the characters. It's just that, as many of you know, I have so much going on right now in my offline life that it's making my concentration on much of anything requiring focus difficult.

I wish more than anything I was in more of a mood to slow down and settle in with a book, but, you see, when I am in high stress situations, my main coping mechanism is to go into higher gear and organize, plan, and try to get things done (add to that the nesting instinct that comes in late pregnancy). And right now, more than ever, is probably when I should be taking it easy--or at least that's what I tell myself (and my doctor). As a result, I find myself irritated that I haven't been reading more. I am not sure my frustration is necessarily a good thing. It's just one more thing I've added onto that heap of stress I'm under. You know what that means. I'm scouring my shelves (at least the books that haven't been packed yet), thinking this and that book look good, giving them a try only to have them wind up back on the shelf. Organize, plan, and try to get things done. Sometimes it works very well but other times, not so much.

While no reader wants to fall into a reading slump, there are times when our reading falls by the wayside for whatever reason--whether you stop reading all together or you just aren't able to read more than a handful or so of pages a day. Reading is like breathing for many of us. We have to read, and when we aren't reading, we go into withdrawal, feel as if something important is missing from our lives, and we become irritable and frustrated. Not to mention we feel guilty. A reader in a slump is a bad reader, we think.

The truth is that most readers go through slumps at some time or another, and we shouldn't feel guilty about it. I'm not suggesting we don't find ways to get out of the slump--we'll all feel better when we're reading again, after all--but perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves when one does hit. It really doesn't make us any less of a reader.

Does a reading slump leave you feeling guilty?

It just so happens the two books I am reading right now are set in Ireland. Perhaps subconsciously I am holding out until March to finish them--just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reading Now:
The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Books Purchased:
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie - I got this and the third book in the trilogy for my husband--that's my story anyway. For now.
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Little Princes by Conor Grennan - recommended by my fellow bloggers

For those who have been following my housing situation, you will be happy to know we received an offer from the city. Yes, finally! To get everyone up to speed, the city is buying several properties in the neighborhood as part of a public safety and transportation project. We've been given notice that sometime in April the city will condemn the properties involved and declare eminent domain. Imagine the fun I'll have telling people I live in a condemned house! Okay, so maybe I'm the only one who would see the humor in that. Anyhow, we've been given our 90 day notice--more or less--and so are now able to actively look for a new home.

I have to laugh because the timing couldn't be worse. As of today, Sunday, February 20th, I am 16 days away from my due date. Technically, the baby could come any time in between now and then or even after. So, well, you can see why I'm a bit crazed at the moment. There's the city to deal with, packing to finish, the hunt for a new house, the loan process to agonize through, not to mention the myriad of financial woes we are having to contend with--the city is buying us out after all and they're not exactly willing to shell out a lot of dough. Add to that preparations for the baby, the usual aches and pains of late term pregnancy, my already restless nights due to discomfort and frequent bathroom runs, work and all that entails, and dealing with the insurance company in regards to the burglary. Oh, and I'm not reading. At least not much.

With all that said, I somehow feel quite calm (yes, even with the craze) and ready to push through it all (in more ways than one!). I am optimistic while being realistic about what we can expect, remembering that flexibility is key. It helps too that the baby coming and the new house are positive changes in my life, however stressful. The process of getting there may not be ideal, sure, but doesn't that just mean I'll appreciate the end products even more? Not to mention it makes a great story to tell our daughter when she's older!

I don't think I could manage so well without my husband, hurt shoulder and all, by my side through all of this. We are each others biggest strengths right now. Sappy maybe, but oh so true.

I appreciate that you all have been patient with me. My lack of reading has spread to a lack of attention to my blog and an inability to keep in better touch with you. I imagine it won't get much better in the weeks to come but don't count me out completely!

Have a great week. May your reading bring you contentment and satisfaction.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. You have so much on you right now, I can understand why you're not getting much reading done. Don't feel guilty - just take care of yourself!

  2. Your life is just crazy right now, so I would be amazed if you were reading a lot! I think it will be all worth it in the end and your blog readers will still be here when you return to regular blogging, if and whenever that happens!

  3. Good luck with the organizing!~ I'm sure the urge to read will come again soon. Have a productive week.

  4. Wendy, you have so much on your plate right now and being pregnant too just adds to the heap. It's quite a lot to keep up with so I can understand the reading slump. When all that happened with Buddy I went into a pretty major slump for quite a while and I did feel guilty especially as I have so many review books. However, it is what it is and no matter how much you want to read, you just don't feel like it. It will pass, probably after things settle for you.

    You take care! Hugs.

  5. I can't imagine having to deal with everything that you are dealing with right blows my mind. Reading is the last thing that you need to worry about and we will all be here when everything settles down. Good luck on the house hunt and I can't wait to see pictures when the baby comes!

  6. So happy to hear that you and baby are fine and just busy! It's crazy how attached we get to our virtual friends!

    We ended up moving just a month before my firstborn so I can empathize with part of what you are going through. At the time, my husband owned his own logging truck and we used that to transport all our possessions to our new home. My father-in-law helped then sat on the couch in the bed of the truck. He said, "I felt like the Grapes of Wrath going down the street."

    I have slumps all the time and they pass so I don't worry about it.

    Take care. One thing at a time and everything will get done.

  7. Oh my goodness - nothing like everything happening at once! I'm glad you finally got word from the city- now I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that you find another house quickly. And, more importantly, I'll be praying for a safe and complication-free delivery. So close! Hang in there - and no guilt about less time for reading and blogging, okay? (Hugs)

  8. Just do what you have to do, Wendy, and all your readers will understand!
    Reading and your blog are naturally lower on the priority list of things to be done in your current circumstances. During our last big move I only read 2 books in a whole month. The month of our last "little" move I read 5 books. And I wasn't expecting a baby during either!

  9. Good luck with it all! The slump, the house and especially the baby! Wow, only 16 days? Time flies when you're NOT pregnant! :)

  10. Only 16 days?! I can't believe it! Don't worry about your reading slump. It sounds like you have your priorities in the right order at the moment. I'll be thinking of you !!

  11. Wendy. it sounds like you have plenty of reasons to feel stress and crazed lately. 919) more days I suspect is the #1 reason, add the pressure of a move as well. Don't be too hard on yourself with the reading slump--everything will work out.

  12. If I were you I would be frantically thumbing through only baby books! :--) So at least you're more centered than I! But I get into slumps even without all your excuses. And yes, I feel guilty!

  13. Wendy, you've nailed my feelings perfectly. Guilt over my continuing reading slump. I am able to feel guilt over practically anything! LOL

    You take care. I hope the house hunt goes well. Wish I could come help you out. I'm getting this house thing down - the renovations, the clearing out, the packing, the selling, the buying and planning for new. :-)

    I've pretty much decided to take an extended break from the blogging and just not worry about my reading. I'll read when I read. It may not be for a few months even, but who ever said that we were required to read??

    I'll be thinking about you as you go through these last few days of pregnancy. I suspect some of your energy and settling is your body and mind preparing for the little new one. A baby changes everything - truly. Your life will never be the same again. Hugs to you!

  14. I cannot believe that you are due soon!! It seems to have gone so quickly, at least for your readers :)

    You have so much going on right now, it's no wonder you are in a reading slump. I have to tell you though, you are always so positive, no matter how stressed you are. I truly admire that quality in you. Hang in there. It will all work out.

  15. I don't think you're in a reading slump at all- just REALLY BUSY! Good luck with your move- I hope it goes as smoothly as possible.

    I don't think I feel guilty when I have reading slumps. Reading is for pleasure (mostly) and if something else is giving you pleasure more than reading, well... the books can wait patiently to be read :-)

  16. Good Lord lady, don't feel guilty about taking some time off from blogging. You have your hands full. But the truth of the matter is that the baby will be happy if she has a warm place to sleep, and food to eat. Don't overdo anything, stuff will get done. This is an amazing time in you and your baby's life, and you should enjoy it! Don't worry about reading, just try to take deep breaths!

  17. Please be patient and good to yourself during all this! You are going through so much right now, and although I know you feel guilty about not reading and blogging, the reality is that there are much bigger things on the burner right now. We all go through reading slumps now and then, but with everything that is going on over there, you have a totally ironclad excuse! Be well and stay relaxed, my friend.

  18. Don't feel guilty about the lack of attention to blog land - you've got so much on your plate right now. I can't imagine having that many irons in the fire, but hope everything works out as quickly and easily as possible for you.

  19. I think anybody would have trouble focusing on reading with everything you have going on, Wendy! It seems like a great excuse for spending downtime in front of the TV instead of with a book :-). Good luck getting through this crazy time!

  20. Whew, you've got so much going on I don't know when you'd find time to read! Good luck with finding a new house!!

  21. You sure have a lot of things on your plate right now, Wendy! If I were you, reading would be the last thing on my mind although I hate to admit that, lol.

    Speaking of reading, I haven't been reading a lot ever since the relocation of our office (due to the shortened journey), and my lunch time is spent catching up with my coworkers instead of reading. (sigh)

    I hope things go on well and smoothly for you, Wendy!

  22. Wow could your plate be any fuller?

    Good Luck with everything.

    Cant wait to hear the news about your little girl, not long now. Two weeks will flash by.

  23. and you're wondering why reading is taking a back seat? a new baby, a finding a new house, and nursing an injury. wow! wishing you easy transitions and a speedy recovery!

  24. Kathy - Thank you, Kathy. I've decided I'm going to be lazy today (other than doing laundry) since I have the holiday off. Maybe I'll actually get some reading done. We'll see where my mood takes me.

    Kelly - It definitely will be worth it in the end. Thanks. :-)

    Book Bird Dog - Thank you. I have been reading the occasional magazine article now and then. Not that it counts for much. LOL

    Darlene - You are so right, Darlene. And I think that's part of what's weighing on me. Those review books I'm catching up on. I haven't accepted any in quite a few months now, but there are still the ones I have to get to. Have to isn't really the right word though--I do want to read them. Thanks for your kind words and support. I just need to remember to breathe.

    Samantha - Thank you, Sam! Things will eventually calm down. I just wish it was sooner than later, you know?

    Linda - Thank you, Linda. I'm so grateful to the support from my virtual friends. It doesn't matter that most of us have never met--we still share a bond and we worry about each other.

    And you're right. Take one thing at a time and it will all eventually get done. The story about your father-in-law sitting on the couch in the bed of the truck is funny. I can just picture it too. :-) I'm hoping we'll find something and be able to move while I'm still out on maternity leave. It'd sure make unpacking easier!

  25. Carrie - Thanks, Carrie. The rep from the city told me that he really pushed to get things done faster for us given my condition. I almost laughed when he said that. Really? Then why were we one of the last households on the street to get our offer? Maybe they timed it now thinking we wouldn't put up much of a fight with the baby so close to coming.

    Like you, I hope we find a good house quickly and that the baby comes without any complications--mostly, I want her to be healthy. Thank you for your kind words of support!

    Lori - Thank you, Lori! I imagine I won't get much reading done from here on out, but hopefully I can at least finish the too books I have going before the baby comes. That's my plan anyway. If it happens, great. If not, I'll be okay with it. :-)

    Suey - Haha! Some days fly by for me too. I can't believe the baby will be here soon. I'm looking forward to meeting her in the flesh! Thank you for the good luck wishes.

    Laura - Thanks for your thoughts, Laura. It doesn't seem possible the baby will be here in another couple of weeks, maybe sooner even.

    Diane - Thanks, Diane. I am sure that everything will work out, one way or another. We'll get through this and end up on top. :-)

    Jill (Rhapsody) - Haha! I've been doing a bit of that too! Those baby books sure do come in handy.

  26. Kay - I am the same way, Kay. Guilt seems to be second nature to me.

    Thank you for your kind words of support, both about the house and the pregnancy. One good thing about knowing our house is being bought just to be torn down is not needing to do any work to get it ready for market. Other than making sure it's empty, anyway. One less thing to worry about. :-)

    I don't blame you for taking an extended break. You have to do what is best for you. And you're right--reading is something we do because we want to, not because we have to. So not doing so isn't anything to feel guilty about. And yet we do. LOL

    Hubby and I have been talking a lot about how much our lives will change--just in planning our new home and where we will put everything. So much is about to change. All for the good. :-)

    Ti - Sometimes the days seem to take forever to go by, but overall it does seem like the time has flown by. I can't believe it's almost time for the baby either. :-)

    Thank you for your kind thoughts--and that's so nice of you to say! I do feel positive overall and I think that's helping me get through this. I won't deny though that there are times when I'm feeling much less so.

    Aarti - Thank you! That's definitely one way to look at it. :-) I do have time to read now and then though--I just can't concentrate for long on any one thing.

    Sandy - If only the city felt the same way! I'll be so glad when this whole house situation is sorted and behind us. I know what you mean though. :-) The baby doesn't need all that much to be happy. Thanks for your support, Sandy!

    Heather - Thanks so much, Heather. I think what I lack most in times like this is patience. I want everything done now. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of power or control. All I can do is, like you said, be patient and good to myself. It'll be better for the baby in the long run--and probably my husband too!

    Alyce - Thanks, Alyce. It seems very overwhelming right now, but I'm hopeful it will all work out for the best.

  27. Florinda - Vegging in front of the television doesn't sound half bad. :-) I did watch a couple of episodes of 21 Jump Street Friday on the computer. Boy did that take me back! Thank you for your support, Florinda. It means a lot to me.

    Jill (Softdrink) - Thanks, Jill. We visited a few homes yesterday and found one we especially liked. Unfortunately it's part of a government program we don't qualify for. There's a couple more we'd like to check out--maybe next weekend if I'm feeling up to it.

    Melody - Thank you, Melody. I think it's all these books sitting here on my desk that make it hard to forget. LOL

    I know you've had a lot on your plate too. I'm sure once you settle into your new work place and get into a routine, you'll probably find more time to read. You won't be able to help yourself. :-)

    Caspette - Thank you, Mandy. You've been such a big support through all of this.

    Nat - Thanks, Nat. The injury is actually my husband's, but sometimes I feel like I'm the one nursing it. ;-) He's actually been great. It just meant we didn't get any packing done this weekend since neither one of us can lift the heavy boxes.

  28. I know how stressed you are feeling. It will all work out in the end. I went through something similar when I was pregnant with baby #3. The hubby was traveling, so I had to do all the packing, we moved when the baby was a few days old. We brought him to the closing. Since, the hubby was still traveling, I was left in a new town, with 3 kids and a new house to unpack. We survived although it did take months to unpack.

  29. That's great news about the house! I agree it's not exactly the best time, but at least things are moving forward.

    I can't wait to hear that baby girl has arrived and that mom and baby are both fine.

    Good luck with the house hunt too!

    Regarding reading slumps....I don't exactly feel guilty, I think I just get depressed. I start wondering why I'm not reading, why am I not drawn to it, does this mean I won't want to read anymore?, etc.

  30. Elisabeth - I am sure it will work out--and I'll be glad when it's all behind me. :-) I do hope we are at least able to find a house before the baby comes, but time is running out. The moving can come later. It must have been quit hectic for you, having to move on your own with three kids!

    Kris - Yes, I'm glad something is FINALLY happening. It's not just talk anymore.

    I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and everything's going as expected. Mouse will be here sometime in the next two weeks, most likely.

  31. Hi Wendy! I'm extending moral support from afar. {{HUGS}}

    When I'm hit by a reading slump, I change reading books to reading magazines. February's coming to an end. How time flies!

  32. Good luck finding a new home. Someday it might be fun to tell your baby that she lived in a condemned house ;)

  33. I wouldn't feel like reading either if I had to deal with all that. Hope it all calms down soon...well, the house stuff anyway. The baby stuff = much excitement!


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