6of8 (6of8) wrote,

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Reactive Reading

9 more days until the end of the world -- or not -- depending on your political persuasion. I voted today, so as far as I am concerned it should be over tonight, or at least the number of emails soliciting money for the campaign in my inbox should drop dramatically, but that is probably not how it is going to work.

Spoiler alert -- I am a female. I am single. I am well-educated. I voted for Hillary.

Admittedly I was not her most enthusiastic supporter when the general election season started, but I have become more and more pro-Hillary as time went on, and that is, of course, in part due to being anti-headless horseman of the zombie apocalypse Trump. This has been a sucky election season, and without John Oliver and especially Samantha Bee I would have been well-nigh suicidal trying to get through the layers of excrement that have been slathered on us this year. The thing that pisses me off the most though is the effect on my reading.

It took me a while to figure it out, actually, because I can usually read just about anything just about any time and anywhere. There are times, of course, when I think that I am not in the mood for a specific book, but I usually don't have trouble finding one that I can get into. This month has either been uber-mindless (books of quotations about the love of books) fluff that I forgot as soon as I read each sentence or something else. I picked up different lighter mysteries by my favorite authors and put them down again within a paragraph or so, uninterested in spending time with the (male) detective. I did get in to one mystery -- part of the Goldy Culinary series by Diane Mott Davidson. But then I was finding that books had to have a certain amount of gravitas to hold my interest. This month I have read: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (a memoir of a hard upbringing written by an incredibly strong woman); I am Malala by Malala Yousafsai (the young woman who was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for a woman's right to an education, lived through it, and then won the Nobel Peace Prize); So Many Books, So Little Time (memoir of a year of reading a book a week by a woman who also talks about what it taught her about life and dealing with other people); Weekends at Bellevue (female psychiatrist who manned the Bellevue ER on weekends for 9 years and how what she learned dealing with the mentally ill made her a better person); Book of a Thousand Days (a retelling of a fairytale featuring a strong and independent young woman in a Mongolia-type area who sets out to make a difference in her world by doing her part to help others); and Reading Lolita in Tehran (memoir of a literature professor who educates a select group of young women using Western novels in the Islamic Republic of Iran and how they deal with an autocratic and repressive regime that believes women are not just inferior but irrelevant -- and find everything they do both subversive/corrupt and sexual). Definite pattern there.

While I am certainly not complaining about having read any of these books, all of which I quite enjoyed and would recommend, I was not pleased when I recognized the pattern. Reading is my escape and is, in many ways, the most personal thing I do. I was angry to realize that the _________________ (insert John Oliver's latest term and graphic here) which this election has become had to a large extent hijacked what I had the patience and the stomach to read and what would hold my interest. I have a tough job and I like to be able to read more escapist fluff at least every other book, but I couldn't cope with the male protagonists and their worldview. I have been having Donald Trump's worldview of racism, sexism, xenophobia, classless classism, and tasteless, brainless indiscriminate hatred and narcissism forcefed to me for months now. I have less patience with the males I work with, even the ones I don't think are secret Billy Bush-types, and I don't want to spend my free time identifying with a male protagonist. But more than that, what I really want is not to care, and not to have to bring that sort of baggage to my reading.

It is my sincerest wish that November 9th will mark the end of that phase as far as my reading goes, even though the odds of that going away in the national psyche are too small to calculate. I want my life back!
Tags: books

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