Friday, March 9, 2012

Reading vs. Gazing Out the Window

Geoff Dyer, former UAlbany Writer-in-Residence who just received the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, writes his difficulties finding the motivation to read in his award-winning new book, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews. The excerpt is from the FSG website.

"....I find it increasingly difficult to read. This year I read fewer books than last year; last year I read fewer than the year before; the year before I read fewer than the year before that. The phenomenon of writer’s block is well known, but what I am suffering from is reader’s block. The condition is creeping rather than chronic, manifesting itself in different ways in different circumstances. On a trip to the Bahamas recently I regularly stopped myself reading because, whereas I could read a book anywhere, this was the only time I was likely to see sea so turquoise, sand so pink. Somewhat grandly, I call this the Mir syndrome, after the cosmonaut who said that he didn’t read a page of the book he’d taken to the space station because his spare moments were better spent gazing out of the window."