Looking Forward to June



Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Great Week in Books for a Person Who's Feeling Much Less Than Great

The ups and downs of life, I've discovered, are keenly connected to our appetite for books. I'm plagued by the worst bout of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue since I was in my early 40s. My first onset attacks were the worst, at 25 and 31 years of age. So because I've been so free of the mess for so many years, I was tremendously surprised when my body started unraveling in a big way in mid-September.

But, what's so interesting is I've become much more interested in books, book blogs, book review magazines, book reviews in newspapers and on radio--all in the drive to escape and to populate my brain with a world that pain and sadness can't touch. And it helps. You all help.

I had a spectacular week in books this week. A book I can't wait to sink my jaw into arrived two days early on my doorstep, with a dog biscuit on top. Carson, our UPS driver, never forgets our Sasha. Two books I was waiting for zoomed in for me at the library. And I found one that I can't wait to share with you. The first part of the title is Novel Cures. It's an extremely funny take on bibliotherapy. Ken and I laughed uproariously last night when I shared bits with him. Fun, escape, distraction, and, more important, an entrance to our deepest intellectual selves, which, from my experience, don't feel pain.

This post was inspired by LitLove's honest rendering of her life at the moment. I have been holding back, but my dedication to reading and books WILL BE STRONGER for sharing what's been driving me deeper into books.

Much More Tomorrow with updates on all those great books coming in this week.

20 comments:

  1. I really hope you feel better soon.

    Love your header pic *so* much.

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    1. Cath,
      Thank you so much for the good wishes!
      I'm looking forward to reconnecting with your most recent post soon!
      I'm glad you like the photo, although it really is time for me to post a new one. This was taken late in the afternoon in September at the beginning of the foliage season.

      Best,
      Judith

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  2. I can so relate to this. I have MS and though I don't discuss it much I know what it is like when the fatigue ad the dr appts hit and all you want is it to be gone. But I too find I dive into old films or books or simply work on the Penguin collection and it carries me away to any place in the world, or universe for that matter I want to go. I really appreciated your post. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Pam,
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and commiseration. I find just browsing through my extensive book collection to be so nourishing, and adding to it to be luscious fun! Then sinking back into a couch or pillows to be the ultimate escape. Oh, what a joy!

      My husband has MS, and I know firsthand what a never-ending trial that can be.

      Best,
      Judith

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  3. Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well, but am glad the bookish diversions are helpful. Will look forward to hearing all about them!

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    1. JoAnn,
      Thank you for dropping in! Oh, yes--you'll be hearing lots about them. It's become my #1 leisurely priority at the moment.

      Judith

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  4. hope you feel better soon ,all the best stu

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    1. Stu,
      Thank you so much for the good wishes! I'm looking forward to reading all about your German lit reads for November.
      Give Winston a hug for me,
      Judith

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  5. Hope you feel better soon. I, too, have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which never gives me a break, so I have to rest a great deal of the time. A task like researching and writing sets me back, so I know I have to pay the penalty for being productive!

    I, too, retreat into books, dvd's, and I admit, TV. TV is the easiest thing to do when one is exhausted, and it and reading have kept me going for years.

    Be well and enjoy your books.

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    1. Kathy,
      I'm so glad that you're willing to mention that you struggle with all of this. I'm glad to know, though not glad you have it.
      Researching and writing are enormously taxing. My brain is in scramble-mode right now, so my inspiration and creativity have pretty much dried up for now.
      Of course, I'm dying to know what you research and write. I've spent years doing history, though no books since I came to the Adks.
      Best,
      Judith

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  6. I'm so glad you wrote this. And I have everything crossed that this attack will begin to ease off. It's like an outrage when it arrives again, isn't it? A hooligan you saw off the premises years ago and hoped never to see back. I love the premise and title of Novel Cures, though - and I agree with the sentiment. Take very good care of yourself.

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    1. I love the description of this mess as a "hooligan." Perfect! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, too, and will continue to enjoy your blog!

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  7. I don't write fiction. My brain isn't wired to that kind of creativity. I played with blocks and puzzles as a kid and loved books.
    I write on women's issues, budget cuts, health care and miscellaneous other things. But having chronic fatigue syndrome adds much work to these projects. I do a lot of research and reading, so I have to reread everything, then type all of my notes of key points and statistics in a Word document. Then I have to work from that, cutting, moving, adding, for hours. IF I lost my typed notes, I'd be a goner.

    And I can't do more than one thing at a time, so if I'm researching or writing, I can't pay bills or make phone calls or work on any family paperwork or do errands. Or, it seems lately, even read a book. It's all about focussing and concentrating.

    After I'm finished, then I do one other thing, finish that and do another thing. I just can't concentrate on more than one thing. And I forget things, so I have to be in the moment or else reread everything to think about a topic.

    So, yes, sometimes my brain is a scramble. I find no one understands any of this, and that friends put pressure on me when I'm exhausted and they don't get it.

    There are many days I just want to take a book and curl up and talk to no one, do a bit of blog reading and that's it.

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    1. Kathy,
      Oh, yes, how well I know about the "one thing at a time" brain. Multi-tasking is out! I have trouble even listening to music when I'm working. Complete quiet is what I need to do the work, although I would appreciate the relaxation and pleasant rhythms of music if I could only manage it.
      And, most important of all! How I resonated with your situation with your friends! My friends and even my husband sometimes do not understand how enervating it is, and yes, my friends put pressure on me, too. I feel like a wimp when I decline or say I can only hike an hour, but....I really don't know how to make someone realize how depleted and how crushing the fatigue is.
      And your last paragraph, that expresses it for me, too.
      Please take care of yourself. Eat well. Have good food delivered!
      Please keep in touch. I've included my email. jay2005adkatgmaildotcom
      Best wishes,
      Judith

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  8. I am sorry that your fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue have returned in such force. It is good that books and book related things help.

    I have had allergies and other relatively minor chronic health problems for the last 10 plus years that make me spacey and generally out of it sometimes. I never sleep well and my energy level is not good. I work a full time job, thus that is the main thing my energy has to go into... mental energy mainly. Thus, not much else I can do but read and blog and even blogging takes energy. and it is good I have reading and books. My problems are not as difficult as yours but I can empathize to a point. And I am glad you shared this.

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    1. Tracy,
      Working a full-time job is so overwhelming when one has chronic health issues, too. For myself, I can't do full-time work anymore, and even part-time teaching is so hard, because of all the work at home. I'm so glad you have reading as an outlet, too. I can be just carried away, and I so appreciate that, and am thankful.
      Best to you!
      Judith

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  9. Thank you for your email. Do you ever read any of the CFS blogs? There's a lot going on now in research and D.C. politics, too.
    I admire that you can work part-time. I haven't been able to do that for many years, so just do things at home, resting before, after and in-between.
    I got into reading a lot of crime fiction and following a number of great readers' blogs. I love reading the reviews and commentary, and sometimes add my two cents. Lately, I've been watching more TV, even too tired to read and my reading is much slower than it used to be.
    Glad you have the fireplace and books.

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    1. Kathy,
      I'm so glad we're continuing this conversation.
      No, I don't know any CFS blogs. I'd love to know some of your favorites, if you have a few.
      And guess what! I'm not teaching next semester. Originally, I decided to take a semester off to help my husband with his business and his health (he has MS), but now I realize I need to nurture myself and my husband.
      Stress has been so detrimental to my health. And somehow or other, I can't seem to teach, even part-time, and keep stress to a minimum. It's a long story, but life as an adjunct professor is very stressful and pays very, very little. It's better than working retail, but.
      So when this semester closes up, I'm not teaching from January-May. I have lots of home business stuff to catch up on, in addition to doing things to improve Ken's and my health.
      If you're willing, please email me and perhaps we can correspond from time to time? Sounds like fun!
      Judith

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  10. That does sound like fun. Some blogs I read are Thoughts about ME. Blogger is Jeannette Burkmeister, a former corporate lawyer, who is brilliant are deciphering the politics of this disease, the government agencies, etc. I read No Poster Girl. (May be more to its title.) Blogger is Jocelyn, who is homebound with this disease, but writes very intelligent, substantive posts about living with this disease, how she and her spouse have accommodated and help each other.
    I look at Phoenix Rising, and I read ME/CFS Forums. The latter is a place where people link in all kinds of articles and news about scientific developments, updates, etc.
    I occasionally go to other blogs, and, of course, blogs about books keep me going, although I haven't been able to read much lately. And I barely remember to read the NY Times each day, more or less skim headlines and first paragraphs.
    I hope your semester off will help you and your family to rest and get renewed energy.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kathy, for all the blog suggestions, your good wishes, and just the effort it takes to stay connected! I'm going to track down each blog you've listed. And maybe I'll find some I can share with you. Do you have an email address where I can reach you?

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