Since I’m feeling intensely irritable at the moment (I’m fine, just tired), it seems a good time to point out how much I hated this article on so-called “reader’s block” (via The Literary Saloon).  Let’s just say that I will do my best to make sure I never use the phrase “reader’s block,” and if I ever develop an attitude like the author’s and make the mistake of blogging about it, please tell me and I’ll shut up immediately

There.  Now I’m off to read.


Filed under Books, Reading

12 responses to “Annoyed!

  1. I wondered what was up with this article. As I was marking posts in Bloglines I saw it mentioned several times by others and finally had to come out and read it. Dorothy, I don’t think I can ever imagine you writing an article like that or thinking that way! I think it was all meant to be tongue in cheek? Or maybe he is serious. They seem to like to stir their readers up it seems, and I’m always curious to read the comments on their blog (where there is always sniping back and forth). I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from reader’s block either–I genuinely want to read my books (classics or not!) and enjoy them (or learn from them or whatever the case may be with the book I’m reading).


  2. Boy, I must be really weird. That’s twice now I’ve read something that slammed One Hundred Years of Solitude, and I’d put that one up in my top-ten all-time favorites. Also, I happen to be someone who loves to be pleasantly surprised by “should” reads. I often go into them with a bad attitude and come out forcing them on everyone I know. Oh yeah, and I don’t suffer from book block. I suffer from not enough time. I’ve got tons and tons of books on my shelves I’ve never read, but not a single one of them is something I wouldn’t like to try to read. I do agree with one thing, though: life is too short to waste reading something I don’t like. Now, if I could only get better control over my obsessive-compulsive nature that is constantly fighting me not to put aside a book I don’t like after reading at least 30 pages…


  3. Oh dear, this is just unremittingly terrible and makes me deeply ashamed of British journalism. The voice is one that wants to say ‘I’m one of the common people, let’s pan clever culture and make ourselves feel better’ but of course he cannot actually transcend the urge to sneer wherever possible. So the article falls apart by having a contradictory premise – a) that most books aren’t ‘good enough’ to be read, and b) that the books we can’t finish are the great works of literature – complex, difficult but brilliant – which look too hard for us. So, fundamentally, it makes no sense. Sometimes I truly despair of anyone writing anything sensible in a newspaper.


  4. I’m so relieved I’m not the only one to find this article stupid and sneering! I’ve done everything wrong according to its “great” tips (including reading long and difficult classics by 10mn installments during my commute, and forcing myself to read a book with a slow start, to be eventually completely won over by it). The journalist obviously hasn’t tried them, because he doesn’t know what fun he missed.


  5. God forbid that we read for a reason other than entertainment value!


  6. Cam

    I couldn’t even get through the entire insipid article. Stupid article block, perhaps?


  7. musingsfromthesofa

    Another Grauniad space-filler. There seems to be a lot of that going on lately.


  8. Danielle — you’re right that he doesn’t seem entirely serious, and yet there’s an element of it that is serious enough, underneath the humor (this may partly be an issue of British humor not working with an American). They do like to stir their readers up, and I fall for it every time … sometimes I just like to complain though 🙂

    Emily — Yeah about One Hundred Years, and why did he criticize Portnoy’s Complaint? Hello! It’s all about sex! — what could be more interesting than that? I agree that it’s a matter of being willing to set something aside if it’s not working — and also a matter of keeping an open mind about things.

    Litlove — what a great analysis! Of course, you’re exactly right and the article falls apart once you look at it the least bit closely. No wonder he seems to think nobody likes reading, with those two ideas operating …

    Smithereens — I’ve done those things too — giving slow books a chance and taking my time getting through classics — and I’ve been very glad I have. What people miss who aren’t willing to put even a little work into something.

    Amcorrea — yes, and thank you for that O’Connor quote — it’s wonderful. Art doesn’t have to be for everybody and its prime purpose is not to entertain.

    Cam — ha! That’s great. Now that’s a problem I don’t mind having …

    Musings — indeed. I regularly find annoying Guardian articles — they do get a lot of attention for all their annoyingness…


  9. I saw that article the other day, started skimming it and then got annoyed. Glad I’m not the only one.


  10. I have to say that I couldn’t even decide what he was trying to say. Too many books? Not enough reading? Sarcasm overload and absolutely no point to it.


  11. Oh, I don’t blame you! I like to complain, too!! 🙂 And it’s sort of hard trying to tell whether he’s joking or not, but he did seem serious.


  12. Pingback: I’m fashionable; I suffer from reader’s block « Wordwhisperer’s Weblog

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