Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth
— Albert Camus
I’ve had a strange and complicated relationship with reading over the years. For most of my adult life, I settled into reading fiction – psychological thrillers and crime novels.
But on the morning I discovered my husband’s suicide, I stopped reading altogether. When I could finally concentrate enough to resume my reading habit, I could no longer read anything graphic, brutal or bloodthirsty. I read almost exclusively non-fiction, filling my brain with pop psychology self-help books and spiritual texts.
When I went back to University, I was plunged into the world of literary fiction, catching up on the masters I had overlooked in my youth — Faulkner, Marquez, and Flaubert. When I began to write my own memoir, I read every other memoir I could lay my hands on.
These days, I find myself reading short stories, in an effort to unlock the secrets of the form. Most of the time I’m either bored or lost. I’m not entirely convinced they are my thing.
And so I read bestsellers and try to feel moved, I try to understand what everyone finds so appealing. But sometimes it seems like a waste of time. Jeanette Winterson says reading gives us what religion used to — comfort, solace and a sense of being in a time and place beyond our physical experience. I wish it did — it’s not working for me anymore.
In the past four years I’ve only read a handful of books that have stuck with me … I can only think of three off the top of my head ~
- The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure (Spiritual Fiction)
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Memoir)
- Into the Garden of Gethsemane, Georgia (Magic Realism)
I’m running out of ideas of what to read (and the related issue of what to write). Please help me out.
What type of books do you like to read?
What one book could you read over and over again?
What book transformed your view of the world?
This post was inspired by the Daily Post blog prompt.