Reader’s Coma (and then panic…)

A few times in my life I have had the luxury of spending almost ALL of my time reading. Even fewer times have I been able to stay up almost all night reading.

One of those times was last night. I just finished the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance) by Christopher Paolini. I’m one of those people that if I get past the big-bad-bitch/boss (no matter what time of day) in a book, game, series, whatever, I have to see the end through. Right then and there. Much to my chagrin, however, I noticed in the corner of my dimly lit kindle that I was only 83 %or 85% through with the book. Durn!

Of course, there was a ton of loose ends to tie up, and then the name dictionary (elven, dwarven, human, even nomad, which we didn’t get to see…) and then the author’s note. He did what all kind and non-ruthless authors (unlike someone we know whose initials are GRRM) and said a goodbye to characters and then gave us a peek into the future for himself and maybe JUST MAYBE a bit more story for the characters of this cycle.

But still! It was a lot for me to get through, and I ended up finally putting the kindle down with glazed and teary-eyes at about 5-ish, and started my nightly roll-around for an hour until I could finally find a good spot and sleep. I thought I saw some weak rays peeking through my blinds, but I shut my eyes real tight and hunkered down.

Now I believe I’ve encountered the reader’s coma. No, I’m not somehow typing this with my mind or relaying it through telepathy to somebody. I’m not prone, but I sure as feel like I should be. I woke up with a sore throat and a clogged nose (more clogged than normal) and a budding sinus-headache. I guess I was asking for it. I did reach the end of the semester unscathed by sickness, but DAMN right on the peak of my break? It might have been the almost all-nighter with my kindle (without my glasses, bad sign!).

I’m dubbing it reader’s coma. The series has ended, the characters you love and hated are moving on and you don’t get to be with them, and now it’s time to burrow down into another series.Quick! Before reality sets in!

I panicked a little last night and ran through some series firsts that might be able to fill the space left by Inheritance. Cinda Williams Chima’s Heir series sounded promising. It seemed much like Inheritance but branched out a little. But too soon! Too soon. Too close and too soon. I couldn’t get more than a chapter in. I’ll come back to it with renewed ferver at a later time, Ms. Chima, I will.

I also tried Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series (there are TWENTY of those mofos. 20?!). But I just couldn’t stomach another sardonic narrator and any more vampires. I had to stop at the vampire strip club. Maybe another time. When we’re not all juiced up on fangbanging.

And now I think I must return to GRRM. I was in the middle of A Storm of Swords earlier this year, and for some reason had to put it down (most likely for school) and then I think one of my cats knocked the book over and the bookmark fell out. I must have lost the courage then. I hear from other fans and sources that I’m about to stumble into the “Red Wedding”, and from what I hear I am not too enthusiastic.

BUT. I will do it. I think this is the right step. Albeit, it is a long and fearful drop from the easy-fantasy of Inheritance. (Things will ALWAYS work out, against insurmountable odds. What a bastard Galbatorix was, huh?)

It will be bloody. I might cry. But the panic is settling down now. I can go forth! (Hesitantly…) into Westeros again.

Wish me luck.

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Reader’s Anxiety

I'm even getting some anxiety from this book pile. I know it's for an artistic look, but YEESH someone straighten them.

I just got immensely discouraged because I had been writing this post in class (I was also paying attention…it’s possible) and hit save draft when class was over…yet I don’t see my post. Anywhere.

So here we go again. I’ll try not to let my frustration color the post.

Reader’s anxiety! Sounds like something we can all relate to in some form or fashion, right? There can be many definitions:

  • That feeling you get when you’re reading a book and AHH anxiety! pops up because of suspense, pain or knowledge of pain for characters (if you’ve ever read the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, you know this feeling) or good writing leading you to a point which you don’t quite know how you got to. Any numerous feelings that can feed the anxiety monster.
  • Anxiety at not being able to finish a book fast enough or having to put it down for, you know, LIFE and stuff because it’s so good!
  • On the other hand…anxiety of having to read a book for school or to finish it just to get it over with because it’s SO NOT GOOD.

These all qualify, certainly, but I feel like another one that most people might not admit to, is the anxiety you feel from not being able to just ABSORB all the books you want to explore. I know it’s because of my impatience and ADD, but for some it’s the knowing that you can’t read all the books and that’s sad. My ex boyfriend said he didn’t like to read because what was the point? He couldn’t read ALL the books so why try one? His logic dumbfounded me, and needless to say, we are ex’s (exes?). Thank God. But back on track…I hope you guys know what I mean when I say that I get a feverish/anxiety-ish feeling knowing there are books out there for me to read and think about and ponder over and OH GOODNESS it’s so awesome, isn’t it? This is a contributing factor to the state of my bookshelf. It’s filled with half-read or just-started books with the exception of one or two not started or a couple finished that I can’t bear to part from.

There’s also the anxiety of the English major, which is having to read copious amounts of literature for school and having copious amounts of literature sitting at home to read for pleasure. Every once in a while the two mix, but sadly not often enough.

I should mention that there’s also the wonderful feeling of just absorbing the aesthetics of reading a book. Slowly. Among those are:

  • smell. THE SMELL. Book sniffers know what I mean. Old or new (both distinct and awesome) they have the best smell.
  • Pages! Ink on paper is special, guys. It just is. Sometimes I get frustrated with books that have especially glossy or thin pages, or the pages where the edges are cut to different lengths (so your finger has to waggle for a while to turn the page). But even if they aren’t the best features, they contribute to the experience all the same.
  • Relaxation and Even Breathing – I feel energized by books (they were never a good way for me to fall asleep) and I always notice my breathing becomes more even. Books DO put me to sleep on occasion, but I blame that mostly on just being freakin’ tired all the time. No matter what my state, the act of reading (or just being ABOUT to read) relaxes me.

I’d like to think that everyone else experiences this, but I know there are people that just can’t stand to be sat down with a book. I see kids all the time on campus that are in a frenzy over a book and you can see the negativity EMANATING off of them. Like the book is the only thing that’s holding them down and if they could throw it as far away as they could I think they would.

If there were a drug that could give you these feelings (yes, even the anxiety! but wait, most drugs come with that at some point, don’t they?) I’d be an addict.

Book sniffers unite!

That’s not me, by the way. I would never wear that much eyeliner. She is rocking’ the flames pretty well, though.

Freshmen: To Condemn or not to condemn….

At the start of this semester I overheard some friends of mine talking about these guys in a truck trying to (playfully?) run down a freshmen crossing the street. When I heard it, I got a bit pissed for a couple of reasons.

First is…that’s fucking rude! Kid could have had a shit day in his first week of college and some jerks go and do this!

Second was the fact that our school, though growing (we just got a football team! Go Runners!), is still largely a commuter school. Myself being one of those commuters (it’s an hour drive ya’ll. Eugh.) So justifying who is and who isn’t a Freshman can get a little sticky. Best just to not even try. I mean, there are those tell-tale signs: glazed eyes, asking for directions or constantly consulting a campus map, and the clothes (yes, you can tell. Senior hs shirts and uggs.). I remember coming over from another school as a sophomore transfer and having to blunder around campus for a while before I got the hang of things. There is also a large population of the older generations going back to school (my creative nonfiction writing professor is a 40 year old grad student who had children early and has worked up to this point. Cool points!). I just don’t think it is wise to torment someone on a loosely based judgement.

Third is…what the fuck is up with terrorizing them in the first place? I get it, you are at the top of the totem pole again (speaking of my Senior friends) and you get to reenact your high school hierarchy. But shouldn’t that just stay in high school? Unless you’re one of those kids that thought high school was the best four years of your life (EUGH again). Now, some freshman are obnoxious and might trigger that need-to-haze line of thinking, but I think it best to just ignore those types. They’ll have to bend over for college at some point and college doesn’t give reach-arounds.

Case in point: A freshman girl in my Texas and Southwest literature class. She initially started chatting me up in the first or second day of class and we are class-buddies now (useful if you don’t already have someone you know in the class). That was great and all…but I’m getting a bit worn down on her obnoxiousness.

I honestly don’t know how this girl ended up in there. I’m genuinely interested in taking this lit class (hello, English major) and like the topic and style of teaching…but she’s a Nursing student set to transfer to a bigger university next semester. She constantly talks and whispers to me and the guy next to her, smacking her gum all the while (don’t EVEN get me started on the irrational violence that triggers in me) and she hardly reads or cares about the material. Every time she comes in and sits next to me she sighs and complains about how tired she is and how she didn’t do the reading. First of all, like I care. And bitch, you’re tired now?¬†Just wait sweetheart. And I don’t know if she’s gotten the memo yet, but stupidity isn’t attractive. Neither is pretending that you’re behind in class and don’t care. You’ll care at some point, because you’ll have to.

For example: Last week (Friday! Remember this for later) she walked up to me in the hallway as we were waiting for the other class to get out. She noticed a slightly heavy black girl standing across from us wearing a white tank top and some blue shorts (think soffe shorts). The first thing she did when she noticed her was to turn to me and mention how horrible she looked! I thought she looked fine, for a hot Friday afternoon in drought weather. I’m guessing this girl was used to condemning larger girls offhand when they don’t cloak themselves in tents to “preserve her gentle eyes”. Being a plus-size girl myself, I got laser-eyes and had to take a few deep breaths before I just let her have it. My views on people who don’t want to see fat on other people (my eyes are burning! is the common excuse) is to just say Let ’em burn, motherfucker! Why should this girl care what she has to wear to a college class on the last day of the school week in 100 degree weather? Girl looked good! This just….PISSED me off. And it tipped the scale on my thoughts of this girl from eh-she’s a freshmen, be nice…to no holds barred-this girl needs a slap in the face.¬†

I’m justifying my annoyance with her now not because she’s a freshman (though that certainly contributes) but because she’s a little priss narrow-minded bitch. The other day she pointed out a girl’s neon pink hair (literally, she pointed…as the girl was walking toward us) and mildly freaked out about it.

Maybe her “crazy college days” will come soon…but for now I am not looking forward to a semester of smack-and-talk freshman girl trying to ride my effort and notes through the class.

And now I leave you with some of my favorite college freshman memes.

it's always the profs fault. didn't you know?

fucking north face. ugh.

don't get me started on college alcohol stereotypes

I didn’t mean to make them look like a pyramid, I swear.