I don't believe that his just happens to me: Every year around Christmastime, I forget how to read books. I guess it happens because Christmas can be a stressful time (Strangercrombie doesn't run itself, after all) and wintry cabin fever starts to kick in, too. It starts all of a sudden: I'll pick up a book I really want to read (in this case, Skippy Dies) and I'll just start batting the pages around. The narrative escapes me, my attention wanders, and I can't get more than two or three pages into a book.

It's not for lack of trying, though, and not every book fails for the same reason. Sometimes the problem is too-high expectations. I started reading How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown and made it three chapters in. But I was hoping for a powerful voice and transcendent science writing, like Richard Feynman. As far as astronomers go, Brown is probably very charming. But his book just didn't do it for me. I abandoned it.

It's around the third or fourth discarded book that the real depression kicks in. How can I do my job if I can't finish (or even really start) a goddamned book? Jesus, they all have so many pages. How did I ever manage to focus my attention on those things long enough to finish one book, let alone a hundred and fifty or so a year? It's impossible!

Not reading makes me antsy. I buy magazines in hopes of jump-starting my reading impulse, I read long internet articles, but those books still look impenetrable, no matter how many issues of TIME I manage to choke down. I'm unable to read. But like every year, I overcame the ennui. How? Check back in an hour and I'll tell you.