When you pick up a novel, you basically know what you’re going to get: some characters, a setting or two, probably some discernible overriding theme—you know, the bare necessities of storytelling. These components are in any narrative concoction; whether it’s good or not is usually all a matter of mixing it up the right way. And there in the middle, moving them all about in some dramatically interesting fashion, is the conflict. Conflict can be a make-or-break element because a story’s clashes and bashes and gnashes propel everything and really make the story come to life. But for me there’s an even more primary conflict attached to this whole process, one that exists outside story itself: summoning the strength to actually pick up the novel to read in the first place. And, if you don’t mind, this conflict is what I’d like to investigate here today.