Project Bookshelf: Z Eihausen

I must make a confession; I have not always been fond of sitting down to read a book. It wasn’t until recently that I rediscovered my affinity for reading.

During my formative years, it was not unusual to find me curled up with a Bill Wallace book in an empty bathtub, filled with throw pillows and a sleeping bag might I add (a fantastic reading spot). My habit of staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish a good read then instantly picking up another was borderline unhealthy. Somewhere down the line, however, I began to lose this velocity and fell out of love with the literature world. It felt like a chore. One might say I experienced “reader’s block”.

A few months ago, I stumbled into the book section at Goodwill where James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Holiday Stories piqued my interest. It’s a fool’s mistake to judge a book by its cover, I know, but I simply could not resist. The collection of retold Christmas tales was an interesting read and highly satirical. It quenched my thirst for comedic relief while simultaneously leading me to venture out to find more reads.

After my Goodwill treasure find, I sought after my current interest, poetry, first. One of my favorites is Amanda Lovelace’s the mermaid’s voice returns in this one. Lovelace’s use of mystical, fairytale-like references as a medium for tackling darker traumatic themes is incredibly raw and emotional. Empty Bottles Full of Stories by R.H. Sin and Robert M. Drake is another favorite of mine. I was encapsulated by the Sin and Drake’s stylistic choices and the contrasts in the speaker’s ideas. It was a heartfelt read, as well as an inspiration to my own writing. My current read, Lang Leav’s Sea of Strangers, has me reaching for tissues and a tub of ice cream. It’s as if Leav took an afternoon stroll through my mind and put everything I wanted to hear on paper. 

I’ll admit I was nervous to branch out beyond poetry. I grow tired reading the same thing for too long, though I decided to dabble around in the fiction and academia genres. John Nolt’s Environmental Ethics for the Long Term: An Introduction and Roy Sorensen’s A Brief History of the Paradox are my current favorite philosophical reads. Both were insanely thought-provoking and left me questioning my entire existence. Michele Filgate’s edited piece What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About is a collection of stories from fifteen different authors about relationships with their mothers and its effect. I appreciated the changing perspectives from each story and related heavily to my own experiences. One thing I ask myself constantly is, “What is there to say when everything is already said?” The way that writers find new means to put thoughts into words is baffling and amazing.

It’s safe to say that I have moved past my reader’s block. I will definitely continue to add to my bookshelf!

Z Eihausen is an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she studies English and Philosophy. Her extracurriculars include dancing (poorly), hanging out with bees, playing saxophone, and attempting to make peace with her beloved cat.

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