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Decision: September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008

AS soon as I walked into my bedroom — where the library books are — I knew what I was going to read. On the big bookshelf, lying face up, was Sebastian Faulks’s The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives. I’d borrowed it from my sisters, but hadn’t been in the mood when I first brought it home. As soon as I saw it lying there, I knew it was what I wanted. I actually thought, “Of course. Non-fiction.”

I do that: switch between fiction and non-fiction because I get a surfeit of one and need to change to the other. The rules of each are different; the experience of reading each is different. Generally speaking, non-fiction is less emotionally engaging, but is more intellectually appealing. I think it’s the emotional engagement that determines what I want to read — sometimes I don’t want to get all wound up.

I think I’m in that place right now. Even the last fiction I read was a beloved keeper, a book I already know well. I’ve picked up and put down books that look like they’ll be demanding; I don’t have it in me right now to focus. I’m writing more now, and I think that has something to do with it. The energy I would apply to a demanding read is being used by my creativity.

Which means most of my library books will probably go back to the library unread. Demanding reads tend to come from the library — I’ll take a risk on a library book I would never take on a book I had to buy.

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