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Sunday Salon: The Bad Thing About Good Books…

June 7, 2009

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, all! I’m still adjusting to it being June, but we’ve had a string of sunny-but-not-too-warm summer days recently, so that’s helping.

I feel like a bit of a jerk complaining about how good my reading’s been recently (with the exception of Blindness – I appreciate everyone’s advice on the matter; I tried the paper version, got to two pages back-to-back without a single paragraph break, and decided to chuck it. I’ve also identified something I’m super-sensitive to in my reading. I don’t mind books full of sex, or swearing, or violence, or any number of other things. But what I can’t stand is people being brutally, unrelentingly horrible to each other, particularly when it seems like everyone is trapped. Come to think of it, I think that’s why “Pegasus” is one of my least-favorite episodes of Battlestar Galactica, despite it being fantastically written, acted, and directed. Brutality and hopelessness, yick!)

Aaaaanyhow. The rest of my reading recently has been very, very good, and that’s put me in a weird place with my current reads. My current audiobook, Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, is totally fine. It’s not bad, it’s interesting, it’s serviceable YA fantasy. If I read it at any other time, I’d probably classify it as really good. But because I’m coming off an “audiobook high” of the Tiffany Aching books followed by Persuasion, all of which I loved, the new book just doesn’t hold up to comparison, so I’m unable to muster up the enthusiasm that it probably deserves.

Same problem with my print books. I finished Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker (review coming soon; probably tomorrow), and it was thoroughly absorbing and very, very good… but it’s left me feeling kind of uninspired to read anything next. Yesterday I picked up and put down no fewer than four different books, uninterested in reading any of them, before deciding that what I was really in the mood to do was watch vampire TV shows on DVD and knit until my wrists hurt. So, that’s exactly what I did (Angel S4, Buffy S7, and True Blood S1, for the curious, and I’m not going to ‘fess up to how many episodes of each).

It was a good time (and I got some serious knitting done), but now I’m feeling kind of antsy about wanting to get some reading done, but not wanting to read something that has even a little bit of a chance of being a let-down. I temporarily solved the problem by starting a re-read of a book I know I love (Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams), but re-reading isn’t a permanent solution. Clearly, I just need to read excellent books only for the rest of my life. :)

What say you, readers? Do you ever have the problem of not knowing how to follow up a really good read? What do you do about it?
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Also, if you haven’t yet, go check out (and sign up for!) the 4 Rs Challenge. If you don’t normally do challenges… well, me either, but this one is minimal effort (only a single book!) and is so far a lot of fun!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2009 12:13 pm

    Yeah, I hate the follow-up to a good read. I usually get a bit ‘moody’ for a few days following and pick-up and put down several books. Eventually something will grab my attention, though, or enough days have gone by. It can be rough, though!

  2. June 7, 2009 1:06 pm

    Sometimes I take a short break from reading books. Other times, I try a few until something clicks.

    P.S. I have an award for you at my blog!

  3. June 7, 2009 4:36 pm

    Sometimes I just take a breather, watch a DVD, read a little non-fiction or an essay, but then I have to pick up the next book on my pile from the library or TBR stack! Have a great week!

  4. June 7, 2009 4:43 pm

    Kailana – I know sometimes it just takes time, but I always feel guilty when I look at my TBR stack (well, it’s more like my TBR bookcases) and I’m not in the mood to read any of them.

    gwendolyn – Thank you!

    Gavin – I think non-fiction might be the answer… plus my LT Early Reviewer book from February just showed up, and it’s non-fiction, so hopefully it’ll be a good fit. I also have several short story collections around that I might try dipping into.

  5. June 7, 2009 6:42 pm

    I usually go for a reread, although going for something completely different like nonfiction can work too.

  6. June 7, 2009 8:33 pm

    I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel bad for the book I read after a fantastic read.

  7. June 7, 2009 9:53 pm

    Yes, reading several truly wonderful books in a row – or one absolutely phenomenal read – can sometimes throw me into a reading slump. I felt like that after reading The Hunger Games – and then someone on Twitter suggested Graceling, which was also very good, so my slump was short-lived, thank goodness.

  8. June 7, 2009 10:55 pm

    I go with something totally different to cleanse my palate like a cookbook or a cleaning how-to, something without a narrative. If I don’t have a book like that on hand, then I watch a procedural like NCIS that will wrap up in a single episode.

  9. June 8, 2009 8:30 am

    I share the dilemma of the next book after a great read; which is why I mix up my genres so much, I think. And, I have to mention that the word ‘servicable’ has to be kiss of death to describe a work of fiction. eek, translates to ‘boring work’.

  10. June 8, 2009 10:48 am

    DoB – Well, since I’m doing both, I’d say I’m covered. :)

    Kathy – There are definitely books out there that didn’t get a fair shake just because of where they fell in my reading list.

    Carrie – Except I feel bad for whatever book you then read after Graceling!

    Dani – Excellent ideas!

    Care – Well, that’s the thing – if I’d been listening to it at any other time I’d probably think it was pretty darn good, but after so many good books, “serviceable” is about the most enthusiasm I can muster. I’m not turning it off and going looking for something else, so that’s something, right?

  11. June 8, 2009 11:59 am

    I have that problem every time I read something really amazing. I usually just try to soldier on through. I’ll chose a book I don’t really expect to love, or I’ll go with a reread, or I’ll find a title that everyone says is very similar to the book I just read and loved. Sometimes this works very well; other times, I just can’t seem to kick myself out of it. It took me a good two months to shuck off my last reading funk. Blah.

  12. June 8, 2009 11:04 pm

    I know what you mean. After a book that has really resonated with me, I often have to take a reading “break” – so I can let that book sit in my head, and I can say goodbye to the characters, sorta. If I try to jump right in to something new, I will generally be less than enthused about it.

  13. June 9, 2009 2:38 am

    You know, I actually don’t mind if I follow up a great book with a meh book. Sure I’d prefer every book to be great…but that’s not going to happen!

    I also can stand when people are horrible to each other, so Blindness is probably not for me.

  14. June 9, 2009 2:42 am

    I’m like Dani. I’ll follow up a good fiction read with some nonfiction. Or even just read a magazine for a little while before starting another one.

    Great ideas in this post & comments!

  15. June 11, 2009 3:25 pm

    Memory – Yeah, I’m trying to nip this in the bud before it becomes more than a weekend-long funk.

    Elizabeth – I wonder how many of my books got docked points because they just weren’t as good as what I’d recently finished reading?

    Lenore – Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but sometimes nothing appeals. Luck of the draw, I guess.

    Kelly – Nonfiction is working for me this time around; at the least, I’m now excited to get back into fiction!

  16. June 12, 2009 3:31 am

    When I get in a kind of reading slump like that it helps to switch over to non-fiction (biographies or reference mostly) for awhile. That’s what I’m doing now.

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