I’m going through another dicey depressive period right now. This compounded by personal problems I’m having with certain people in my life. It’s all well and good to say, “Try not to care about what other people think of you” and I agree with that statement for the most part, but when those other people can and will make your life miserable if they don’t like you for some reason, it’s a bit different.
I can’t get anything done. Even reading has been by the wayside for some time now. I have read shockingly little this year: 76 books completed. I realize that 76 books is more than most people read in a lifetime, but my standards are different. By this time last year I’d read twice as many.
It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I don’t have the inclination. I have 874 books on my to-read list at present. Normally, looking at that list makes me feel incredibly, viscerally hungry. But now? It’s just another to-do list. Wash the dishes. Do Michael’s laundry. Go get him dinner. Read 874 books. I’m just like, “Oh, those.” I go to the library with list in hand, check out a dozen or so books, take them home and realize I don’t want them.
I forced myself to finish something the other day: The Story of Spanish, a history of the Spanish language, by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow. They also wrote another book I haven’t read, The Story of French, which is a history of the Uzbek language. (Just kidding. It’s a history of French of course.) The Story of Spanish was very interesting and I learned many things from it, which is why I read books in the first place, but the entire time I was counting how many pages I had left to go.
Right now I’m chipping away at A Kazakh Teacher’s Story: Surviving the Silent Steppe by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov. I read his previous book, Silent Steppe. Both are memoirs. Shayakhmetov was one the Kazakh pastoral nomads whose religion and traditional way of life were stomped out by the Communists, and wrote about his childhood in a Kazakh aul (a rural village), surviving the terrible famines in the thirties, growing up a proud Soviet party member under Stalin, becoming a teacher, and getting kicked around in the system and suffering because his father had been a rich peasant. He died in 2010, age 88.
I’ve decided to try to force a turn-around where the reading is concerned: I’m not going to update Charley until I finish a book. I will finish something, probably Shayakhmetov’s book (which is half the length of The Story of Spanish). Then I will update Charley. Then, I will have to finish another book before I update Charley again. And so on. If that doesn’t work I don’t know what else to try.
It’s more than reading that’s at stake here. I might feel better about myself if I can say “I read X many pages and learned X things today” rather than “I lay in bed and stared at the ceiling all day.”