I’ve always loved to read. If a book isn’t handy, I’ll read advertisements or old newspapers—even, in a pinch, the labels on household products. For me, reading is the ultimate relaxation. That’s why my experience this past week was troubling.
The first thing you need to know is, like most of you, I have a TBR pile—books by authors I know and love, my favorites, the books I wait for and snap up the moment they’re released. But this week, for the first time I can remember, I’ve had to put a book down. Actually two books. Not because the writing wasn’t up to par or because the story didn’t grab me, but because fiction sailed too close to the wind, too close to real life.
The first book I put down was Louise Penny’s latest, The Madness of Crowds. Just so you know, I adore Louise Penny. She’s right up there at the top of my list of favorites. But I didn’t even get to the end of chapter one before I realized that the pandemic and politics would be factors in this book. I can’t read about that now. I just can’t. One day, I’m sure, I’ll pick the book back up, but it’s just too soon for me.
Having put Penny’s book aside, I picked up the next in line—Charles Todd’s latest in the Bess Crawford series, The Irish Hostage. The book has gotten great reviews (as has Penny’s). I’ve loved all the Charles Todd books, but with the death of Caroline Todd so immediate, reading the book, hearing her voice (or imagining I did) was just too sad. This one I think I’ll pick up again pretty soon.
I love fiction because it takes me away from the troubles and problems of the world. This week it didn’t.
Have you ever put down a good book because the subject matter was just too painful or too close to reality?
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