The Between Books Blue Funk

dull bookWell, it’s happened. The miasma is upon me. After a string of really enjoyable reads, I am Between Books.

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.

9 thoughts on “The Between Books Blue Funk

  1. Been there. Know that emptiness. Have some favorite authors I really trust (not a shred of doubt I will get into the book quickly) and I like to have more of THEIR books on hand. Problem is I read them too fast and have to wait for more. I like Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe, Anita Shreve, Wendy Welch & more. I have OTHER books waiting, but am annoyed if I don’t have any of the favs stacked up. And I believe I DO understand what it would be like to live in a bookstore and still have this problem. Mostly because I know I’ve read all my favs have written and I want something good to read NOW and not willing to open myself to going through shelves to find something new.

  2. What you need is a little comic relief. The cure is waiting in your inbox. We all know that Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall. The question is Why?

  3. Oh yes, been there done that. Other than waiting through it, try re-reading a much-loved book or childhood classic. Or get recommendations from others about recent can’t-put-down reads. For me, it was ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK by Piper Kerman. Yes, it is the basis for the Netflix series which I haven’t viewed yet. But it was good.

  4. Been there. I find the best way to break the cycle is to reread something that I read a long time ago and really enjoyed. For me, Terry Pratchett is always a good choice. I’ve read most of his Discworld series over the last 20+ years, but every time I pick one up, I find another reason to laugh and the way he plays with language. I’m a mystery reader, too, so I also go to Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, Aaron Elkins, or even Agatha Christie. It’s like revisiting old friends. The best is when you pick up something that you were forced to read in high school literature class and find that it’s actually a wonderful novel and not the drudgery you remember, or am I the only one who experience that with Moby Dick?

    • OH no. Not Melville. No no no no no. But Pratchett, yes, good idea. And I’ve never read Elkins but always intend to, and we have a bunch in the mystery room. I may try that. I LOVE Josephine Tey’s books, and I keep meaning to try Sheri Tepper under her mystery writing name of Oliphant. So perhaps there’s yet a way out of this. It’s been a long one! Thanks Sharon.

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