I keep acquiring new books despite the fact that I already live with teetering piles of the yet-to-be-read. Not to mention the books I'd like to reread.
But the important thing about choosing a book is that
I have to be in the mood for it. It has to be the right time. Often
I'll scoop up a book at a store or a yard sale or a giveaway table
because I know I want to read it sometime--just not today. For example, Code Name Verity
is in my TBR stack. I know this is going to be riveting and
hard-hitting and emotionally wrenching, so I need to wait until I have
the necessary time and the emotional fortitude. Then there is Hotel Kid,
a book about a boy who grew up in the Hotel Taft in the 1940s. I will
probably read this when I'm feeling nostalgic (yes, I am capable of
nostalgia for times I never even lived through). Also on deck: Epic Fail, which I expect to be fun, and you would think that surely a person is always in the mood for a fun read, but I am just as often in the mood for serious reads.
This is only a small sample of the books that have been waiting for me. Some have been waiting for years.
go through phases, too, where I can't get enough of a certain topic. I
have gone through periods of reading about Lewis and Clark, the
Manhattan Project, Himalayan mountaineering, and Beat writers, just to
name a few. I cycle in and out of them. Chances are, if I see a book on
one of these topics, I'll snatch it up, even though I won't open it
until I'm in that phase again. Richard Rhodes's The Making of the Atomic Bomb
is one of the best books I've ever read on the subject, and deserving
of the Pulitzer it won. But it's a meaty read, and not likely to be
interchangeable with a light romance if the latter is what you're really
in the mood for. It's not what I'm going to read when I'm on a
contemporary-YA streak, or when I'm working my way through my humor
We often talk about the fact that "not every book is for
everyone," and that's true. But it's also true that not every book is
for every mood. There are books I love but still have to be in the right
frame of mind for. And as writers, we also hope that our books find
their readers at the right moment. Sometimes people say to me, "I have
your book, but I haven't read it yet," and I completely understand. It
has to be the right time.