Thursday, May 11, 2017
Back to Reading ... Slowly, Slowly ...
One of the things that has been frustrating me since I collapsed in the health club shower on April 26 is that I haven't been able to read as regularly as I was before that damp day. Let's take a look at Before & After ...
At the Open Door Coffee Co. here in Hudson, I begin every day with a book (thus the name of this blog: DawnReader). I review a book a week for Kirkus Reviews, and I try always to write the review on Friday before lunch. I divide the review copy into (approx) 100-pp segments, this telling me how many days I need to allot to the reading. A 300-pp book? Start on Wednesday. If it's a very long book (and I do get some of those), I will read another quota in the afternoon.
On those mornings when I'm not reading Kirkus, I try to read 50-100 pp from a novel, generally a novel by someone whose complete works I'm trying to consume. Lately, that's been Russo, Ford, Chabon, Faulkner, etc. I also carry with me a nonfiction book, and I try to read a bit from it, as well, on non-Kirkus mornings. (Currently it's a new book about Sherlock Holmes and his creator, A. C. Doyle.)
I head home from the coffee shop about 10, do some writing, have lunch with Joyce, then ... back to the coffee shop for Round No. Two. I read more fiction, more nonfiction (from those same books I had in the morning).
A little after 2, I head home, then out to the health club for my Old-Man routine: exercise bike, laps, rowing machine, curls.
In the evening--and now, in my, uh, dotage, I go to bed early--around 6:30 (!!)--I read from my Bed Pile, about 10 pp/book/night. Currently, I'm reading Wilkie Collins' No Name; Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt; The Far Music, a memoir by Earle Labor (a Jack London mentor); John Irving's A Son of the Circus (which, for some reason, I've not yet read); Jo Nesbø's new one, The Thirst; and the next in the Walt Longmire mysteries by Craig Johnson, A Serpent's Tooth (via Kindle).
But after that collapse on April 26, my vision is sometimes blurry, making reading very difficult--and sometimes impossible--usually worse in the morning. In the early days after April 26 it was all I could do to keep up with my Kirkus reading. And that was pretty much all I did. And it's hard to describe how terrible that felt--to be cut off from one of the activities I've loved the most in my adult years/decades. I couldn't exercise, either (wooziness, you see), but working out is something, in my later years, that I've done because I ought to rather than because I want to.
As the days have progressed, I've grown a little stronger. I can read more--though mornings are still a little iffy. This morning, for example, I had to call AAA: dead battery in one of our cars (which we haven't driven recently because, well, I wasn't driving at all for a while), and I needed help to read the emergency phone number on the card.
Afternoons are better.. And I look forward to them. But evenings are iffy, too. Last night was the first time I've been able to read my 10-pp quota from each book in the Bed Pile. In previous days my ability has ranged from 1 or 2 to 3 or 4. But last night--let's party on!--I read from all six of them!
My PCP is puzzled by this. And so I'm seeing, next Tuesday, an ophthalmologist, who will check me out--and, I hope, offer a solution. Fingers crossed.
May the blur be gone! And may the words again dance in my mind, not in my eyes.