I went to the doctor for a sinus infection a couple of weeks ago and he told me to go home and take Nyquil. Several days later when the infection was worse, I went to another doctor who told me to take something else, and also prescribed an antibiotic for a viral process (antibiotics don’t work for viruses). But as the infection kept progressing, I finally went to an emergency room where the doctor gave me yet another course of meds, completely different from anything previously prescribed. Luckily, they’re working.
So what’s the deal? One illness, with so many choices of treatment. All I wanted to do was get better. So far it hasn’t happened, which is why I’m a day late with this blog. Yesterday was my day to post to the blog, but I literally slept through most of it. Today, I’m a little more alert, marginally on the mend, and coherent enough to think about all the different ways the various doctors treated me. Then it occurred to me that what happened to me isn’t so different from the way we choose our books to read. There are a lot of choices out there, more now than ever, and some work for us, while others do not. I’m a diehard romance fan, and I love the genre, but I’ll admit, quite frankly, there are some romance novels that I don’t want to read, or can’t read, or hate to read. They’re all meant to do the same thing for me, as the reader, the way all those various doctors’ prescriptions were meant to do the same thing. Only, two of the three prescriptions didn’t work and I’m going to have to read all the way to the end of this last one to see if it will.
Anyway, I decided to catch up on some reading during my down time, and went straight to one of the books I’ve had for a while in my to-be-read pile. Written by one of my favorite authors, I was anxious to have time to get through it uninterrupted, but by the time I was a chapter into it I was disappointed. It was like my Nyquil prescription…well-intended, but just wrong for what I wanted or needed. Like the Nyquil, it got deleted.
The second book was a little better. Another fav author, another book I really wanted to read. But man, it just didn’t work for me. In fact, I couldn’t tell you how many times I dozed off trying to get through it. In the end, rather than reading it I scanned it just because I wanted to make sure I had the ending figured out. (I did.) It was like chasing a viral with antibiotics – you know they’re not going to work but you take them anyway, mostly because the doctor said to.
With the third book I read, I hit the jackpot. It kept me awake, satisfied me from beginning to end, and did everything a good book is supposed to do, including taking my mind off my illness. So was that art imitating medicine? Or was that just the way it goes? Some books (and medicines) work, some do not.
The more I write, the less time I have to read. In turn, the less time I have to read means the more inclined I am to put aside a book that doesn’t grab me from the start. I didn’t use to do that. If I started it, I finished it. No exceptions. But these days, I’m making exceptions because just like I don’t have the time to be sick, I also don’t have the time to read a book that doesn’t strike my fancy. And you know what? I’m OK with that. It took me a while to get to this point, but nowadays I find it just as easy to delete a book from my reader as I do reading it all the way through.
Now, is there a point to this? Not really. In my stupor, as I get ready to put it down for my fifth nap today, I was just thinking about how my life, in so many ways, is just like the way I read. Could be I’ve designed it that way because reading is my favorite thing to do. Or could be simply the way it turned out. Whatever the case, I’m reading yet another good book in between naps and not feeling so bad for those intervals when the books I’m reading take me to a place where I’m not sick. Makes me wonder if doctors should prescribe a good read along with the pills. Here’s a prescription for and antibiotic and an Agatha Christie. Surely, they’d work well together, wouldn’t they?
As always, wising you health and happiness…and lots of books to read.