A few years ago, my sister made a comment that I have found true in my own life. We can’t bear to read serious books on days and weeks when we are busy. At one level, one may be tempted to think this is just a case of attention fatigue. But I think it may go deeper.
The level of seriousness is also relative. In 3rd year college, my last lesson of the afternoon was Linear Algebra which we were taught by the gifted Dr. Subiman Kundu. After the class, I would leave with abstract ideas and geometry whirring about in my head not in a state of confusion, but like a strange pattern which seemed just out of grasp.
This wasn’t a bad state to be in, but not a good one if I wanted to finish an assignment before the next day if I wanted to submit an assignment for some other course the next day. So I would go to the library and spend at least half an hour going over Scientific American or some such general science journal just to calm down.
Working life rarely offers such intense stimulation, yet somehow instinctively I find myself avoiding serious books in favor of lighter reads.
Incidentally, if you wondered about the title image, I found War and Peace a surprisingly easy read for all its formidable reputation. In fact, I read it about 8 years ago under intense work pressure when I would often return in the early hours of the morning. I used it to relax for the night (that and watching Just For Laughs on TV).