Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Sunday Salon: February Funk

I just remarked to The Husband that my writing mojo seems a little off this week.  Not sure why.  Recovering from the flu?  Check.  Too many other distractions on my mind, such as needing to get our house ready for the market? Check. A car with a dead battery? Check. The insanity going on in our political world, with House representatives trying to turn us into a developing nation? Check. This crazy winter weather that had us basking in 70 degree temperatures on Friday and while looking at forecasts with more snow for this week? Check. Some combination of all of the above?  Check, check, and check.

It's not just the writing - my reading mojo is a little off, too. You know how it is when you're reading, and the books aren't terrible, they're actually quite fine, but yet they're not knocking your socks off either?  That's the kind of reading phase I'm in. I want an escape, I want to be wowed,  but I guess that isn't all that realistic of an expectation, is it now?

Anyway. I'll eventually snap out of this February funk, I promise.  (And yes, the month does have a great deal to do with it. I really don't care much for this month to begin with.)

This week I finally finished Lyndall Gordon's Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds. At 405 pages, this is not a breezy read (maybe that's what I need to pull me out of my February funk, because this one took me half the month to read).  Overall, I liked this one. The Dickinson family dynamics were fascinating, and even though it is a little more academic in places than I expected, it was a very good and intriguing book.  It was just ... long, and patience ain't my strong suit these days. 

Next up on my library pile was The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley.  Now, there is not a single person (I swear) who has not loved this book.  Bloggers whose opinions I respect greatly and whose tastes mirror mine have been singing the praises of this one.  Me, with my sagging reading mojo?  I am truly an island, because I just couldn't connect with the characters or the storyline.  I wanted to, I really, really did, but at 90 pages I returned this one to the library as a DNF, which disappointed me. 

Honestly, I am the only person I know of (and I read a lot of blogs) who didn't like this one.  I hate when that happens, so I may give it another try another time. 

So then I was thinking, okay, maybe I need to read a few shorter books right now, especially after the 405 page Lives Like Loaded Guns. Fortunately, I have several shorter works out from the library.  One of them is Tinkers, the Pulitzer Prize winning first novel by Paul Harding.  Again, as with Ptolemy, bloggers I adore (Nomadreader, Caribousmom) praise this one too. There are some definite similarities with the two - they both involve elderly men who are dying and reflecting back on their lives - but Tinkers is resonating more with me than Ptolemy, mainly because of the gorgeous, poetic writing.  I'm really liking Harding's writing in this one and will likely finish this one today. 

How about you ... are you in a February funk, with your reading or anything else for that matter?  It can't be just me, can it?

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission


Elizabeth said...

I hate February, too, actually, and am in a bit of a reading funk. I gave up at about the three-quarters mark of Keith Richards' autobiography because it became very tedious. I've got about four or things going at the same time, and nothing is grabbing me either.

I did love the Paul Harding book -- I didn't realize when I picked it up that it was about an epileptic, so you can imagine how I felt --

Here's to March!

Zee said...

Sorry to hear that you are in a reading funk but know that you are not alone. I'm solving mine by reading the Anne of Green Gables books. But it isn't really working either.

Good luck with the house selling and moving!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Hi Melissa...I actually liked Ptolemy Gray, but did not care for Tinkers that much

I had a January funk, but Feb. is pretty goo so far, so it happens. Perhaps your next book will wow you over.

Alyce said...

I hate reading funks, but they seem to be inevitable from time to time. I hope yours passes soon.

Florinda said...

I've had a decent reading month, but a fair amount of it was deadline-focused (for a blog tour and the Indie Lit Awards). Now that I'm through that phase I'm feeling a bit at loose ends, but I'm trying not to get into anything too heavy before we start on The Corrections next month. Hope your funk passes before that gets going! (We're still reading it then, right?)

Melissa said...

Sure, we can read it next month, Florinda. Did we say March? Or April? (I was thinking April, but we can do next month.)

Literary Feline said...

I admit that one thing I am very happy about right now is that I don't have to get my house ready for the market. It's going to be torn down so no one really cares what it looks like.

My reading has suffered this month as well. I just can't seem to get interested in anything. I keep trying though.

I hope your month does pick up! Have a great week.

nomadreader (Carrie) said...

I hope you find your way out of your reading and writing funk. I was waylaid with the flu this month, and it wreaked havoc with my reading schedule. I've managed to pull through, but everytime I have a funk, I find a different fix to get out of it. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Tinkers. It's such a unique little book (those Pulitzer judges love uniqueness lately!), and it's not for everyone, but the writing still stays with me, even months after I finished it.