There’s rarely an instance in which I do not have a book with me, and I’ve been known to whip them out at rather inappropriate times. Just last month I packed three books for a 48-hour bachelorette weekend in Vermont. Shockingly, I only finished one. I’ve always relied on books to transport me to another world, one where my own problems don’t exist, so it’s especially heartbreaking that I haven’t found comfort in their pages now when I need it the Cow Buckle Up Buttercup You Just Flipped My Heifer Switch Farm shirt it is in the first place but most. For the past three weeks, while social distancing alone in my one-bedroom apartment, I haven’t been able to read. It’s as if there’s a fog cast over my brain, preventing the words from seeping in. Over and over I find myself reaching the bottom of the page only to realize I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’ve just read.
Given the Cow Buckle Up Buttercup You Just Flipped My Heifer Switch Farm shirt it is in the first place but weight of the world, I had tossed aside my usual literary fiction and heavy essay collections in favor of pulpy summer thrillers and comedic memoirs. But not even their fast-paced plots and deftly written jokes could hold my attention for more than a few moments. I’ve plucked book after book off the shelf only to abandon them on my night table after a feeble attempt at reading before bed instead of scrolling mindlessly through Twitter for the umpteenth time. It’s felt like losing a friend in a time when we’ve already lost so much. At least I know I’m not alone. On Sunday morning I tweeted about my sudden inability to read, and was met with dozens of responses lamenting similar frustrations. “I feel seen” wrote one commenter. “I love reading. I need reading. But I just can’t right now,” replied another.