An experiment

Way back in the summer of 1995 I came down with strep throat and had a very bad reaction to the antibiotics I was given for the infection. To make matters worse, we were travelling at the time and I was away from my regular doctor. I saw a “doc-in-the-box” who refused to believe that I was having an extremely painful reaction to Erythomician. All-in-all it took me six weeks to finally feel better. One consequence of feeling so poorly was that I lost my appetite and had to make an effort to take even a bite of something I normally liked.

I’m feeling the same way right now about reading. I’ve lost my appetite for books and have tried to make an effort to read. Last night I went to bed early, thinking I would pick out a book I’d been wanting to start, then read in bed for an hour or so. I sat in front of my bookshelf and nothing looked “appetizing”. Books I bought years ago looked dry and boring. It was like I was sitting at a feast and just picking at my food, unable to take the first bite. I ended up playing games on my phone for an hour then going to sleep.

This morning I remembered what I did that summer of strep throat to get myself to eat: I made myself eat something I liked for 5 minutes. After a while my hunger kicked in and I remembered that food was good. This morning I chose the most appetizing-looking book on my shelf, set a timer for 5 minutes and read.

When the timer went off I was already involved in the story and surprised that 5 minutes were already over. That I put the book down and searched for information about the story online doesn’t necessarily prove that the experiment was a failure — it means I was so intrigued with what I read that I wanted to learn more. Tonight I will go to bed early again and see if I can read for an hour or so. Look for the book in in the sidebar to change soon. (FYI: Pale Fire was excruciatingly boring).

11 thoughts on “An experiment

  1. I sometimes use this technique to start myself cleaning. It worked yesterday – though not always! I might try it for reading too though, as I’m struggling to get back into reading after illness.


    1. As I said in the reply to Bridgett — while it worked that first day, I’ve not really gone back to the book. I am working extra hours on a side project that scares me silly, so maybe when that is over (next Tuesday) I can relax and read. Fingers crossed…


  2. I use this technique to overcome my resistance to doing many things. It usually works for me, but tonight I should be doing some advance planning for church school, and instead I’m reading blogs. I found I couldn’t read after I lost a child at birth. I think it took a couple of years to be able to read more than the newspaper and what was required for work. These days, when I can’t get interested in anything else, I find a few minutes with a book of poetry helps. I hope you land on an absorbing book soon!


    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jan.

      I know what you mean about not being able to read after tragedy — I quit reading for a long time after the September 11 attacks. I couldn’t concentrate for more than a few minutes.

      I’m not a poetry reader — it takes too much effort to understand them.

      I think the Alice book is going to be absorbing once I actually sit down with it.


  3. My dear!! So good to have you back on line!! Re: feeding the birds. Our problem so far is not rats, but squirels, who get habituated to enjoying bird food on the porch railing after the birds have moved on and then continue on to David’s peaches at the corner of the deck. So, the cardinals are having to breakfast elsewhere until the fall in my hope that the squirels will forget about the porch-rail restaurant they’ve enjoyed the past few months. They seem so mentally disorganized that I think our chances are good.
    I enjoyed your bit about reading in spite of yourself. I’m still fine with books, I just don’t expect myself to finish them if I get bored. A book is partly what someone else thinks I should read. I may not agree! Maybe I need only a chapter! On the other hand, much of what I read is not fictition, but psychology and related, so It’s a bit different; chapters are more self-contained, perhaps. My fiction of the moment is Le Carre’s Honorable schoolboy, having completed the first one. It’s a completely different world! Makes me think of you, with your love of Britain. Having attended British boarding school in Canada in the 70’s, I have never been an anglophile. Au contraire…it’s was still the Vietnam era and Yankees were ‘not popular’. But now, I love it! And you are partly responsible.
    Our neighbor is “under contract”. How about a fiesta at our house before he moves on?
    Love ya,


    1. Hey Catherine — I edited your comment so both were together. It seemed like it broke off mid-sentence.

      Yes, let’s plan a party for the neighbor. I thought about that last night — a book group reunion party. Too bad Chris and Madeline are not around.


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