I know you’ve been there, that unhappy head space where you’ve got high, high expectations from having just finished a really enjoyable book (or, if one is lucky, a spate of three or four) and you’re tired when you go to bed because a bunch of new real-life projects are in the works, and you turn to your bedside table piled high with great choices ….
… and go flat. I like Sarah Allison’s writing–that matchmaking apple-flinger tree was one of the most lovable romance characters ever–and I admit readily the reason I can’t get into The Peach Keeper is me, not her. Or The Rebel Bookseller. It’s a great book with important things to say! So is Big Box Swindle. Each of these waits on the table by my bed, weeping softly. All of these are books I’ve looked forward to reading.
Sarah Nelson discusses in her memoir So Many Books, So Little Time how your mood and recent life moments must align in some way with what you’re reading, or you can’t get into authors even though you want to. Wise readers put them down and return later.
Usually the catalyst for breaking my Between Books Blue Funk is to read something completely different from what I normally choose. So the other night I grabbed a post-apocalyptic young adult novel, and settled in.
It didn’t work. The novel was awful, but not even awful enough to trigger the horrible-writing-response that lies dormant in all of us, inciting print-blood lust to rip the thing apart. This was more the toss-aside casual disdain of “oh, please.” In a badly-crafted amalgam of Hunger Games goes on The Road, literary crimes are just way too obvious to ignite passion.
And so I sit, stuck. How could this happen to a bookshop owner, you ask, spoiled for choice an’ a’ that? Perhaps that’s part of the (first world) problem; too many choices reduces one to making none. Or perhaps this is the consequence of binge-watching the whole Season Four of Downton Abbey in one week. (Yes, we know, but we won’t spoil it for you.) I’ve let my reading muscles go slack.
Although I did get quite a lot of crocheting done.
Whatever the combination of reasons that have led to this winter of my book discontent, I hope it’s over soon. There are so many new writers and worlds to explore, I hate to fall behind.