Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reader meets book

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.

I 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 shelf.

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.

8 comments:

  1. I'm a mood reader, too. If I am absolutely NOT feeling something, I will not pick it up (alternatively, sometimes I absolutely have to read something because I saw it in my tbr and felt the tug of it being 'time'.)

    For what it's worth - EPIC FAIL is cute and engaging, much more so than I anticipated for that type of read. P&P fans will enjoy it, knowing the story while being swept up in the innocent romance of everything. Right now I've been in an adult-fiction mood, and the serious stuff really does become something that you crave every once and a while.

    I've also been on a gothic binge. Woooh, boy, gothic romances are some kind of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "sometimes I absolutely have to read something because I saw it in my tbr and felt the tug"

      Yes, books call to me, too!

      If you like gothic romance, I hope you've read DuMaurier's REBECCA. (or will, when it calls to you!)

      Delete
  2. I think myself the same way too. I think this is the reason why I couldn't make it through my 40 x 40 book challenge. (That may or may not also be an excuse.) But yes, my mood plays a big role in my being able to get through a book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, for me challenges have to allow very wide latitude in what I can read.

      Delete
  3. I do the same thing. I can force myself to read certain types of books (sometimes I have to with library materials) but I usually end up thinking it would have been more enjoyable at a different time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read BABBITT while still in high school and hated it. I could barely drag myself through it. Then I reread it as an adult and loved it!

      Delete
  4. I am the exact same way. I have books that I haven't been able to pick up for years because I don't feel ready to read them yet. I definitely have to wait for the right time/mood. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's kind of a comfort to have them around, waiting!

      Delete