Reader's block and re-reading

Over at the Guardian book blog yesterday, there was an article about what writers do when they fall victim to the dreaded Reader's Block, that sad state of mind when you can't really think of anything you want to read (described in this earlier article).

My favorite answer was from novelist Joanne Harris, who's solution is "Re-reading an old favourite often works, particularly books you read as a child. I just re-read the first five Lorna Hill Sadler's Wells series, all bought in 1950s first editions, which gets me back to the primal enjoyment of reading."

That's my kind of answer! When I feel vaguely queasy at the thought of reading something new, I too re-read the tired and true. I feel inspired to re-read my Lorna Hills now, but I lent them a while ago to someone I hardly know, and I'm a little anxious about them....(the Wells series to which Harris refers is about girls training to be ballet dancers at Sadlers Wells, by the way. Hill wrote many other book as well, and here's more information about her and her books. The first comment I ever left for Little Willow was a recommedation of Hill's ballet books...but sadly they are the sort of thing you have to order from the UK).

A while ago I wondered if girls re-read for comfort more than boys. Now I am wondering if introverts re-read more than extroverts. The former feel most at ease in the company of old and dear friends, that later seek out the new and exciting, and want to make new friends...


  1. I have never in my life been accused of being an introvert, and I love to re-read favorite books. I don't suppose that really qualifies as an adequate rebuttal of your theory, but there you go...
    When I suffer from "reader's block", I switch genres completely, and/or read something that's written in short, digestible bits. That usually does the trick.

  2. Charlotte,

    I'd been deep within the suffering of reader's block a while ago; nothing I read seemed to fit. Then I read Out Stealing Horses, and the light shone bright again.

    A single book can save us.


  3. I _still_ can't find them, but someday, I will!


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