One unfortunate side-effect of growing up seems to be reduced time available for the simple pleasure of reading. Too many other things competing for time and attention, including an increased appreciation for sleep.
Reading’s one of those hobbies I once read was a bad one to write on CVs – something to do with it being a solitary activity which doesn’t really show such good qualities as teamwork and sociability. On the other hand, it does show your ability to read. Being literate is quite a useful thing, after all.
But back to the time-issue. I remember when I was in my final year of primary school, my teacher questioned whether I really had begun and finished Pride & Prejudice in one day. Well, evening, really. She’d set me a reading challenge of about thirty new books, which I completed in a month, and P&P was one of the books I’d chosen. Most of the books I read were similarly “grown-up”. I read one a night. Aged eleven.
Quite simply, I was awake until after midnight most nights, sucked into new worlds, unable to sleep the story was over. Sleeping wasn’t nearly as important.
These days, though, I can just about manage a short story or a chapter before I fall asleep. It’s a very sad state of affairs. I also tend to be fussier than I was. If something doesn’t grab me in the first chapter or so, I put it down.
Limited time means limited patience. Fortunately for Poe, short stories are rarely long enough to bore, it’ll just take me far longer than I would like to finish the collection.