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I have not read a book in 3 months!


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As crazy as this might sound: The president of the largest, 2nd oldest, most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by of for African American readers has not read a complete book in the better part of three months.

It is not that I don't read. I read every single day. I spend more time reading and writing than I do watching TV or talking to other people.

Of course part of the reason is that I'm busy. Virtually all of my time is spent doing something related to AALBC.com. If I'm not engaged in AALBC.com related work, I'm hanging our with family and friends or doing something to stay in shape.

I'm never idle, you'll never be able to call me up, ask what I'm doing, and get the response "nothing". If I'm watching TV is is usually because I'm too tried to do anything else -- least of all read.

Recently I've been on a rant about the rapid closing bookstores across the country, how important they are to communities and related issues. Part of my motivation is the knowledge that websites will follow the course of the stores and we'll, effectively, be back in "pre-Terry McMillian" days when there were less than a handful of popular Black novelists. Sure there will be more books published, each year, but it will be impossible to sort the good from the bad, and there will be no platforms to spread the work -- despite all the social media... but I digress.

The last time I walked into a book store, purchased a book (Toni Morrison's Home), and read it from cover to cover, was this past summer. Now I've purchased books, in stores since, but I have not finished reading any of them.

I've been "working" on Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns for 3 months -- that is if you count "working" on it as it sitting on my nightstand for 3 months with the hope of being read. Wilkerson's tome isn't lonely, there are 10 other books I'm "working" on to keep it company.

This not is my 1st period of protracted non-reading and I'm certain it will not be my last. It is dry spells like these that I realize what a wonderful luxury it is to be able to sit down an enjoy a good book that you've selected for no other reason than pleasure or escape; a book that you can read without dozing because you're drained from a working all day.

There have been times when I've been able to really immerse myself in the joys of reading. A few years ago I went to the Dominican Republic for vacation; between the beach and the flight I was able to read 5 books in two weeks. Unfortunately circumstances where I have extended periods of time, disconnected from technology and responsibility are increasing rare.

Yes, reading for pleasure is increasingly becoming a luxury activity, even for a guy with a really big website devoted to the activity.

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I, myself, am experiencing a reading block, Troy. And I'm not happy about it, either. All my life I"ve been an avid reader and it's as if that has now caught up with me because the subject matter of so many today's fiction books does not elicit my interest. It's like I've been there, done that. Now instead of being riveted by the printed word, I am more mesmerized by what's visual. All I want to do is watch historical and scientific documentaries or specials like "Boardwalk Empire and "Game of Thrones". Or track down old songs on YouTube. Tracking down old songs is like being a time traveler because they can vividly take you back to the era that they bring to mind. They call also provide you with the joy of reminscence.

I'm afraid my waning interest in books has something to do with my declining years and the short memory span that comes with this territory. Growing old is a challenging process. It has even affected my writing because sometimes when I re-read posts I have written, I can't believe how disjointed they are. What is also frustrating is how my mind and body are not in sync. I think I'm still my young self, but my body regularly reminds me that I'm not the girl I used to be. As my health begins to wane I am confronted with my own mortality; a sobering experience even as I am rejuvenated by memories of good times past. Even as I endeavor to conquer my fear of death...

Sorry. I got carried away. As I was saying, Troy, I sympathize with you. Reading is fundamental and there's no better companion than a good book, no better teacher than a knowledgeable volume.

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Wow wow wow! Cynique I got totally carried away with your story...I was right there with you, growing older and facing a fear of death...I was even there with you on the youtube quest for old songs (I was doing that today, actually, and when I listened to some of that old jazz - thanks to a nudge by Troy's posting of Ella's video - I swore I was back in Harlem in the glory days of jazz ...and I've never even been to Harlem in any days!), and I could see myself through your eyes as one whose "mind and body are not in sync."

Cynique, I think Troy has said this before: you have a way with words!

Thanks for yanking me back to the present with that last paragraph, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any work done today for sitting here daydreaming. Oh that last segment delivery made me laugh. Have a wonderful day!

P.S. I too have readers block right now. The Warmth of Other Suns was my last true attempt at reading a book, and it sat and sat and sat until finally I had to return it to the library. After that I tried one of Walter Mosley's audio books - the Socrates Fortlow series - and got busy and forgot to go back to it.

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