Sometimes My Brain Doesn’t Let Me Read

Like almost everyone, I go through phases with books. I’ll get really into Goodreads and find about 5000 books that I want to read, and then I’m pumped and ready to read. Then I go to actually pick up that first book and it just sits there on my desk for about a month. I keep thinking about how much I really want to read, but it’s like my brain literally won’t let me pick up the book. I absolutely hate this feeling. It’s probably one of my least favorite periods of time in life because my entire world revolves around books. I mean, I’m a librarian – I literally deal with books as a job. And then when I go to relax and try to get my brain to stop for a second by immersing myself into another world through a lighthearted fantasy or romantic page turner, I just can’t.

As a kid, I was that dorky little Shirley Temple-haired girl who pretty much had to be forced to go outside and play with her friends because she’d rather read. I distinctly remember dreading having friends over. I remember spending weekends laying all over the living room couch immersed in books. I remember not really ever having a bed time because I was just spending that extra time reading. When I was old enough to truly participate in the Accelerated Reader (AR) programs at school, it then became a competition to me. I wanted to read as many books as possible – even the “hard” ones – just so I could earn the most points. 4th grade was particularly intense because it was essentially one other girl (ohhh Carrie Christensen! I remember you!) and myself competing for the top amount of AR points. She ended up beating me, unfortunately, but I still got to use my points to “buy” a super cool lava lamp at the end of the school year. Pretty sure I worshiped that lamp until early high school.

I don’t have as many memories of reading the next few years because a lot of stuff happened in my life that sent me in one of my “my brain doesn’t let me read” modes. I didn’t really notice until later in life, but I realized that this inability to read occurred when I was going through particularly heavy bouts of depression. When I’m really depressed, I have a tendency to go one of two ways. I either can’t focus enough to pick up a book at all, or I get so obsessive over something – usually a series (whether that be book or TV) that I literally don’t want to do anything else. I much prefer the obsessive modes, but lately for me it’s been the unfocused ones. And it sucks.

For the past 9 or so months, I’ve been stuck in “my brain doesn’t let me read” mode, with an occasional time period where I can read maybe a book or two. It’s had a serious effect on my books read count — I normally average between 50 and 70 books, but it’s September and I’m not even at 15. But I have my reasons – I know why my brain is malfunctioning. I’ve had a bunch of medical issues and a series of medication changes, and I think that maybe I’m finally crawling out of the pit. I’m hopeful that my upswing continues and I get back to full on book hoarding (not that this ever really stopped) and book bingeing. Here’s to hoping!

Oops, I did it again!

I’ve done it! I started a blog for about the 50 millionth time in my life… with a starting blog post titled after a Britney Spears song (what??) — let’s see if I’ll keep up with is this time! I’m trying to at least go with some themes this time… err, kind of. Shelf-righteous will be a lifestyle blog that’s filled with ramblings about my life, illness, medications, recipes, and you guessed it — books! Pretty diverse, but not really because I’m a librarian with a lot of different illnesses, who is trying to remedy some of them by making a lifestyle change that includes changing the way I eat. BAM! The blog of Jenn.

If you’re viewing this as a friend or family member, I apologize, because you’ll probably be getting a lot of information that you already know, or maybe even information that you don’t want to know. But whatever, it’s my blog – I do what I want.

If you have no idea who I am, thank you so much for joining me on my weird adventure. My name is Jenn, and I’m a librarian in my late twenties. I’m married to a wonderful man named Brian (who just so happens to be the developer of this awesome site), and we have two pet children – Marian (black lab with allergies) and Mishka (kitten-headed adult cat). I was born and raised in South Carolina, but in Spring of 2016, my husband and I decided to quit our jobs and move across the country. We now reside just outside of Portland, OR and pretty much have decided that we belong here. I have a string of medical diagnoses which have caused all sorts of fun things to happen in my life (not). The list includes: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibromyalgia, borderline personality disorder, major depression, social anxiety/panic disorder, sleep apnea, and a (as of right now) series of non-secreting pituitary adenomas. Yes, that’s a lot. BUT — my PCOS, fibro, and sleep apnea can all be treated and hopefully eliminated if I continue to change my life by eating a low-carb diet — so I’m trying (very hard) to stick with this for life. Other facts: I like to paint, take pictures, play video games, watch movies and binge-watch TV shows. I am a huge Carolina Panthers fan, which is fun to be in Seahawks territory. If you really want to know more, check the about me section, contact me, or … keep reading the blog!

So why shelf-righteous? Well, I really wanted to have a blog that definitely included book reviews so that I can continue to get free ARCs from publishers and whatnot. I also am a fan of reviews, because my memory is so horrible that I can’t ever remember what I book is about or why I liked it. Nevertheless, I’m definitely somewhat of a book hoarder… if you’ve met me or been to my house, you know this. I’m pretty sure my husband hates me for it, mostly because we’ve moved so many times which means that we’ve moved my hundreds of books a lot. Sorry not sorry, hubs 🙂 So I was looking for “readerly terms” on the web, and BAM  “Powell’s Compendium of Readerly Terms” pops up. Just so happens that Powell’s Books is like one of my favorite places ever, so I saw the word “shelf-righteous” and that was that!

shelf-right·eous (shelfʹ riʹ chəs) adj : a feeling of superiority about one’s bookshelf

I am super excited to start writing again – it’s always been one of the best ways for me to express myself and get my feelings out. And maybe, just maybe, someone will relate and even decide that I’ve helped them in some way. Also, one of the ways I keep myself accountable with my food intake is to post the things that I’ve made, so that will be here too. If you’ve ever got suggestions, questions, or requests, just let me know! I’ll do my best to listen and answer 🙂