Reading and Moods...

It struck me again the other day how much mood can affect reading. I came home Tuesday night to get blasted with some stressful, depressing news. It already has been one of those weeks where work days are sluggish, energy remains slow, my stomach has been giving me issues, and I'm just not "into it."

Anyway, I had started to read Monday 'Those Who Save Us," which is a slow, serious drama about secrets buried from a woman who lived through tragedy with Nazis. It is a depressing, sober book that opens with a funeral and the town's rejection of one of the protagonist's. I had only read the first few chapters, which introduced flashbacks of an abused young woman's love of a man who was a Jew, who she helped hide away. The book has won awards and I'm sure is quite good. The writing style is unusual in that dialogue does not have any marks to indicate it's dialogue.

But when the stressful mood hit big time, and it was time to reach for a book, I couldn't get myself to reach for that one. I didn't want anything serious or depressing. I wanted something light, distracting, something easy to get absorbed into. So instead I reached for a Harlequin romance. Thankfully it was excellent. It ended up being the highest rated Harlequin I've read for over a year. The Harlequin romance was a predictable type to get into. I knew it would have a happy ending. I knew it would have drama that would be fun to get into, but where everything worked out okay at the end. I knew there would be some fun, some laughs.

I remember a few years ago going through a breakup. It was on the eve of my 30th birthday. I was devastated. I couldn't get my mind off of it. I wasn't working so had no distraction. Life was low. One day I thought, well I loved the first 9 books of the Anita Blake series. I mean, really, really loved them. I knew what happened in them, but it had been years since a re-read. So I went and sat on the porch and tried re-reading the first. I got wrapped up in the world and spent a week re-reading the books on the porch, in the bed, everywhere, escaping with the familiar and with the comfort of a book I already know I would love and enjoy.

Maybe this is why people get into seasonal reading. Certain moods are struck by seasons and months. Halloween is the obvious month for horror and the paranormal, everything points us in that direction.

Do you find yourself doing anything similar? Are moods helped for you by reading? Do you pause in a serious book if you're having a bad night and need something light and fun to escape into instead?