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I confess, this happens to me about once or twice a year: I hit the literary doldrums.

 You’ve all read The Phantom Tollbooth, right? RIGHT?? If not, stop reading my blog right now and go read The Phantom Tollbooth. Then watch the delightfully cracktastic Chuck Jones’ movie version.

During this time, I am trying to read a few different projects and getting stuck. I recently read the unpublished book of a friend of a friend, and because it is not the kind of thing I usually read, it took me quite a bit longer than it might have otherwise. I’m also still kicking my way through this Charles Dickens autobiography, which, though it contains interesting information, doesn’t exactly have the flow that compels one to turn pages deep into the night. I decided to save Neal Stephenson’s Reamde for another time. I’ve been spending the most time reading short stories from the anthology The Dark Descent, which is a great horror story compendium. I’m trying to read Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog, which came to me with a glowing recommendation, but might turn out a bit too farcical for my tastes.

As you can see, this is not a productive way for me to read. I need to hunker down with one book and read the shit out of it. But as yet, no book I’ve picked up has absolutely COMMANDED me to stop doing everything but eating, shitting, and sleeping to read it. If I can finish even one of the projects I’m working on now, maybe I’ll give myself permission to let myself be led into oblivion by the next page-turner.

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