Monday, November 10, 2014

Mondays on the Margins. More or Less.

I've been in a weird reading place lately. My sweet spot is usually to have one fiction and one non-fiction book on the go, I try to alternate between genres and not go too long without a "broccoli book" (something that's good for me, that I usually end up enjoying more than I think I will), and when I'm in a rut I read short stories. But my focus is all over the place, and even while reading I find my mind wandering, and when I get into bed I can't decide what to pick up, and it scares me. Being a reader is such a huge part of my identity, and if depression or anxiety or getting-older hormones are disrupting that, well, that's not cool.

One thing I have to watch is over-using the library. I know, that sounds stupid doesn't it? But I splurged on three or four books that I really wanted to read at the beginning of the summer and I've only read one because of this habit I have of going to the library to pick up holds and then panic-grabbing two or three books off the shelf because GOD, WHAT IF I RUN OUT OF BOOKS? And then I go to the books that have a due date before the ones that don't. So it's NOVEMBER, and I haven't read Bark or Sorrow's Knot or Fly By Night, or the conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series - it always sort of embarrasses me when I buy a book in hardcover and it comes out in paper before I've read the hardcover. I also surf around on the library ebooks and it's way too easy to borrow them without leaving the comfort of my bedroom. After the last two turned out to be complete dreck, I've decided I need to be more discerning about those.

So I've missed my window to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters sitting in the back yard between when it was too hot and got too cold. I guess I'll go for snuggled in my chair with many blankets on a snowy day. A really great book sort of demands a more auspicious reading setting, don't you think?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I've been turning up my nose slightly every time someone mentions The Goldfinch, because we did Donna Tartt's The Secret History in my book club many years ago and most of us, including me, found it shallow, melodramatic and silly. I got it out of the library for my mom, and she gave it back to me yesterday. I started reading it today and so far I'm finding it riveting. So there's that.

9 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm one of those who thought The Goldfinch was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. So I am very curious as to what you will think.

Steph Lovelady said...

What works for me usually is to have a book with long chapters for when I have time to really sink into a book and one with short chapters so I don't decide not to read because I only have a little chunk of time. I hate, hate, hate stopping in the middle of a chapter.

Unfortunately I'm reading one with medium chapters and one with longish chapters right now, both for book club. The books themselves are not unfortunate-- Don Quixote and Loitering with Intent (Muriel Sparks)-- just the combination.

Nicole said...

The Goldfinch is on my to-read list!

Hannah said...

eBooks!

I have some sort of addiction to downloading utter dreck & crap as eBooks. It's kind of funny, really. It's all cheesy romance novels.

I did however FINALLY read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill this week, and have you read that yet?? Oh, it is so so good. Scary, but with some great characters.

the queen said...

I think this was the most entertaining of the Pulitzer winners I read in the past few years.

Maria said...

I still have "Bark" on my reading pile. Haven't gotten to it yet. And I agree with you about "Rooms." I was listening to it on tape in the car as I rode to and from work every day and when I was about 3/4 of the way through it, I realized that I didn't really CARE about any of the characters except Tristan so why keep reading? But,since I was almost done, I stayed with it and then it had this stupidly unsatisfying ending. I hate it when I feel like an author is tying up loose ends just to tie them. I'm on to Alan Cumming's memoir now. We'll see....

slow panic said...

OH! I love this post!!

I freak out when my reading mojo is off and usually it is because of anxiety/depression/stress. I don't like it. It means I'm off balance (OK, wait that's always).

I currently have a stack of library books on my nightstand that I will never read. Love going to the library and grabbing stuff off the shelf. I don't seem to have any guilt over this. I figure it's better then going to the bookstore and buying them and never reading them.

Somehow I feel safer with lots of books around me.

Also, glad you are liking the The Goldfinch.

Julie Harrison said...

I need a new book so bad. My friend lent me The Squawking Chicken and it is terrible. But I have nothing else that is "light enough" to read right now. And I need to read to get to sleep at night. So I keep reading the damn thing.

Jenny said...

Oh my God, "broccoli book" is the perfect phrase I didn't know I desperately needed. I don't go to the library all that often, so when I do I usually get a boatload of books, with the best of intentions. The juicy memoirs and the huge, glossy tomes full of crafts I'll never attempt get devoured in the first couple of days, and the legit nonfiction tends to sit there through all three renewals. No harm done, I suppose, but I still feel bad neglecting them!