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 I Don’t Care Who Dies In The Movie As Long As The Cat Lives Shirt But I will love this 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 I Don’t Care Who Dies In The Movie As Long As The Cat Lives Shirt But I will love this 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.