So, as those of you who follow me on Twitter know, my boyfriend broke up with me last Friday night. We were together for over two years – two years and three months, more or less. I really loved him and I love him still, and I'm heartbroken and miss him so much. It's been hard to find the motivation to blog; I'll try not to go too long until the next post, but if I'm not posting a lot, then you'll know why.
Plenty of really sweet people have sent me their love and hugs, and I've really appreciated it all (truly, if you were one of these people, thank you ), but that's not what I'm looking for by posting this. What I want is just to discuss how break-ups, or maybe other heartbreak and grief, affect our reading.
Immediately after the break-up, I thought to myself, I can't bring myself to read anything right now. Especially not those fluffy romances that I was planning to read for Contemporary Conversations. Before the break-up, I'd been hoping to read Kasie West's books for this week: On the Fence and The Distance Between Us. I'd also wondered whether to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. But after my boyfriend broke up with me, I couldn't really stomach the thought of reading these books anymore. Even thinking about the cute couple-y covers for Kasie West's books made me really depressed.
In the first two days, I literally couldn't bring myself to read anything at all. I had no reviews scheduled for this week, and before the break-up, I'd been really looking forward to having some quality reading time over the weekend. Instead, I spent the weekend crying, marathoning comedy TV shows, and crying some more. I thought that even if I could read, I would much rather prefer reading an epic fantasy novel than a contemporary, so it could take me away from my life and I could really immerse myself in a different world. But I just couldn't summon any energy to read at all.
Then, on Monday, I started work experience at a literary agency (I will probably blog about the work experience in more detail in April, after it's ended). And the first task I was given was to read. I had to read some books written by authors that the agency is already representing so that I could get a feel for what kind of books they're looking for. So I was forced to start reading again, whether I wanted to or not. I was given My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher, and The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss. Thankfully, all three novels are not fluffy romances in the slightest – I mean, there's at least some hint of romance in all three books, but they're not happy books. On the contrary, they're all sad in some way. Both My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and The Year of the Rat deal with the death of a family member.
Reading about these sadnesses that are different to mine helped me, I think; it put my own situation into perspective. At the same time, reading sad books obviously just made me more sad. But I also think that at this time, I'd much rather read a sad book than a happy book. I don't think I could deal with reading too much happiness right now; whenever I see any romance at all in these books, I feel myself reacting cynically to them in a way I never would have before. I don't think I could read a happy book and really believe in that happiness right now, and I would just ruin an otherwise good book for myself. So I'm going to save those happy books for when I can finally believe in happiness again.