2 min read

I can't read fiction anymore

Every day I consume thousands of words. I read essays (like the ones published in The New Yorker magazine, The Atlantic, etc.), news (usually just Slashdot, HN and Reddit), blogs, comments, emails, tweets and status updates. Apart from that, I read scientific articles, technical books (Haskell road to maths, logic and programming, anyone?) and sometimes documentation. But I can’t read fiction anymore.

When I was in high school, I used to read at least a couple of novels every month. Now whatever I pick up, I’m either quickly bored with, or stop reading for another reason. Some novels I find too depressing (Coetzee’s Dusklands), others secondary (Pilch’s Wyznania twórcy pokątnej literatury erotycznej), and the rest simply bad. I tried many different types of novels, yet the only ones I’ve read during the last few years were crime/mystery novels (Mankell, Krajewski, Marinina), and I really have enough of those since they’re all basically the same. I even tried going back to science-fiction, which I used to be a fan of, but the results were even worse – after reading 250 pages of Dukaj’s Black Oceans I gave up.

The problem is not that I don’t read novels, but that it doesn’t give me any pleasure (and it used to give). I came up with a number of theories that explain this situation:

  1. I read too much serious/difficult non-fiction literature and hence am not able to make an effort of reading 300 pages filled with fiction (rather unlikely, since I don’t read that many scientific articles);

  2. I spend too much time browsing the internet which creates a habit of reading relatively short content (even the longest essays usually don’t exceed 3000 words);

  3. I simply can’t find an appropriate novel.

Explanation no. 3 seems most plausible, therefore I ask my readers: any suggestions? I’m able to read in Polish and English, please go ahead and recommend me some fiction to read. I still have at least 2 weeks before starting a PhD, and I’d really like to read something interesting until then. Thanks in advance!

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