This morning I read a dutch novel, quite similar to ‘The Dying Animal’ by Philip Roth, called simply ‘A beautiful young woman’. It’s not as good as Roth’s novel and I’m still not sure what the hell I’m supposed to make of my book gluttony, as I keep observing that I don’t really enjoy reading. I’m not an avid reader, I’m a compulsive reader.

I keep at it, not knowing what it will ever get me. Apparently I’m strongly convinced books should get me something else than the joy of reading. I have no joy in reading. The joy I derive from it, is in being able to turn the last page and yell: ‘haha, I did it, I read an other book!’

I may have more self discipline than I credit myself with after all.

The important question in this 365 days self improvement challenge is course: is all this reading improving me?

That’s a tough question to answer. I would say yes, though I can’t provide any tangible proof. I’m guessing it makes me a better therapist and makes me more intuitive. After all, reading does let you crawl into the skin of other people, even if they are presented to us as being fictional. They are always based on something, on something real. So, yes, I will continue reading something like a book a day. For several reasons:

-the potential benefit (making me a better therapist)
-to improve my languages
-because I simply like challenging and disciplining myself: Can I do it? Can I pull it off?
-because I allow some space for a question mark. Is there a reward from reading so many books that I’m not aware of right now?
-to become a better writer (I’m noticing that published books are more simple, more consistent, less ‘loud’ than my very emotional, ideosyncratic manuscripts
-to find some joy in it somehow, make it less into a compulsive, autistic investment habit

I’m not sure which book I’ll read today. To improve my Slovak a Slovak novel would be best. In my reading circle I’m at phase four: Reading a book about therapy and psychology, but I don’t have one lying around at the moment. Perhaps the next best thing would be a McEwan novel. I have ‘Amsterdam’ at arm’s length. ‘The mezzanine’ by Nicholson Baker could be a good ersatz psychology book as well.

Right, going to scavenge my girlfriend’s book cases.

The next post could be about my bonding with my father in law, one of the goals of this year, because there is some progress there.