... is the sense of guilt that stops you reading for pleasure.
Take today, for example. I should be writing an essay on Germinal and Far from the Madding Crowd. I've done the reading, taken notes and started one of my chaotic mind maps that usually transform themselves into a well structured argument. I have most of the salient points, and plenty of examples, but I can't quite get to the heart of the matter.
In my defence, I am recovering from a vile sickness bug and have barely left my bed since Saturday. Yesterday I spent all my waking hours in the company of Radio 4. From Poetry Please to Gardeners' Question Time, via trading with Iran and the omnibus edition of the Archers, it's remarkable what you can learn.
So for today at least, I'm pleading for compassionate leave from literary studies to read The Fault in our Stars, as recommended by one of my Open University friends. After all, it's OK to play truant once in a while, isn't it?