Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Depressed Reader

Depression is not so fun. It is also not so rare. Although there are many recorded cases of depression throughout history, it does seem to be more prevalent in the modern era.

Many of us out there struggle with depression, or know those who do. There are many possible ways to struggle with it, exercise, therapy, medication, alternative medicine, prayer, reaching out to family and friends, and many others. Pulling the blanket up over one’s head and hoping it will all go away is another popular one. I’ve tried all of the above, and the struggle is ongoing.

I have always been a voracious reader, from when I was very young I was always reading a few books at the same time. But in the last few years, as I have gone in and out of depression, I found that I read less and less. It happened gradually, and I didn’t even realize.

During my most recent bout of depression, probably the worst so far, I realized that the amount I read had gradually gone down over the last few years. One of the many effects of depression is that it robs of pleasure in things we would usually enjoy. It also effects memory and concentration, and so when I somehow found myself wandering down to my local library, I was drawn to the classics section, to the shorter classic books. Some of which I had read during my childhood, some of which I had never read. I picked up “Treasure Island”, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and my love of books was rediscovered. This was a few weeks ago.

I thought it might be a good idea to focus on something positive. In this blog I plan to write some short-ish posts on the books that I read, my impressions, and what I get out of them. I hope you enjoy them. The first post will be about “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London.


  1. "Yaaarghh...the black spot!" Signet classics are totally the way to go. There truly is nothing like reading, and it shocks me to see things like the ipad trying to substitute for tangible, smelly, heavy, paper beauties. Plowing through the old classics like Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Alice in Wonderland, etc. I discovered Tolstoy - defenitely worth the time. War and Peace may seem intimidating at first, but it was well worth every page. Right on Depressed Reader, they don't call 'em classics for nothin'!

  2. Hi Superman!
    The black spot indeed matey! I am right there with you, the net and computers are all well and good, but when it comes to reading there is nothing like the feel and smell of a real book in your hands. There are so many wonderful worlds sitting on shelves just waiting to be discovered! I'm looking forward to exploring many more of them.

  3. You're so right; I think as we get older and spent time talking with adults who have taken on responsibility with the families and jobs, we forget how to imagine things because we have less and less time to do things like read amazing books and stories of intrigue that take us on strange and wonderful journeys.

    Without this time being put into our imagination we become stagnant, like zombies in society that aren't able to contribute because our consciousness has been removed, and we are no longer looking to conquer the stars; we are focused on conquering the moment.

    Never stop reaching for the stars!

  4. Hi Stu,
    Thanks for your comment man. You are right things change a lot as we get older. Some things get better, some things get worse. But things definitely get more complicated.

    Speaking of stars, looking back, I think some of the happiest times I can remember is being curled up with a good Star Wars book back in the day, following the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han and co. And Grand Admiral Thrawn, of course!

    I haven't seen Star Wars in years now. Maybe a decade? At some point in the future it would be great to have one of those Star Wars movie nights like we used to back in the day. Those are some stars I think we can reach, with a bit of planning and organizing!