Book Expectations


woodland path

This week has been a bit iffy.  One sick child, two broken lawnmowers (rider and push mower) three trips to the grocery store, or was it four?  It did have a few bright spots. A trip to visit my grandmother that turned into an impromptu family reunion because so many family members had the same idea.  A dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant.  Too many ice cream sundaes.

I did finally have some time to read.  I read less in the summer.  The kids are off school which makes life strangely busier and the weather is nicer so we do more in the evenings.  In the winter I just curl up with a blanket and a book.  In the summer I am much more likely to be outside instead.   This week I managed to finish the fourth book in the Lymond Chronicles.  Is everyone sick of hearing about my progress through these books?  I am sorry but they are almost all I have been reading lately.  I did have to take a break after finishing Pawn in Frankincense though.  It was just so traumatic.  I read something a bit easier with a bit less death.  I also abandoned a mystery when I was halfway through.  There was nothing wrong with it, I just didn't care who did it and that isn't good when you are reading a mystery.

I find, in recent years, I expect more out of a book.  I used to read pretty indiscriminately.  It wasn't that I couldn't tell the difference between a wonderful book and an okay one, it was more that I was willing to devour any and all books.  Lately I don't have the patience for the just okay books.  I don't mean I always read deep and heavy books, after all I love Georgette Heyer and she is pure fluff.  But she is well-written, captivating fluff and I think that is the difference.  If the book doesn't pull me in completely I don't have a desire to continue it.

I think that possibly reading blogs and blogging has something to do with that.  I have encountered so many fantastic authors that I would have never heard of otherwise.  Before, I mainly found new authors by stumbling across them in the library.  That is a bit hit or miss and, since the library in the town I currently live in is pretty abysmal, it had been a while since I had come across a new author that I really loved.  Most of my old favorites, Angela Thirkell, Dorothy Sayers, Mary Stewart, were from years ago when the library I went to was much more comprehensive.  I had gotten used to reading whatever I could find, whether it was great or not, because that was all there was.  Then I discovered book blogs and became a bit obsessed with tracking down all the books I was reading about.  I fell in love with Persephone books and authors like Mollie Panter-Downes and I rediscovered some I had read years ago and forgotten about like Barbara Pym.  I recaptured that old feeling of loving a book.

It can be compared to someone who eats a lot of fast food.  Maybe they get used to those burgers and even kind of like them.  They are quick, and convenient and fill a need.  But then they start eating home cooked food and suddenly those fast food burgers don't taste as good anymore.  Some books are just fast food books and that can be okay but sometimes, once you have started them, you find yourself pushing them aside like that unfinished fast food burger that tasted good for the first few bites but is then unappealing.

I am not sure I am explaining myself very well but I am finding it interesting that books I might have basically enjoyed years ago are not capturing my interest lately.  Do you find something similar has happened to your reading interests?

7 comments

  1. I get what you mean. Tastes change over time, especially when you've experienced more of the "finer" things in life -- better food, better books. But to extend your analogy, just like I will never be able to say no to Sonic mozz sticks, there are still some "fast food" books that I can't pass up even if I wonder why I consumed them afterwards...

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    1. Oh good, I am glad you understood what I meant. After I published this I was worried that I sounded like I was putting down light and fluffy books. I was just interested in how my taste in books has changed.

      As you said, there is a time and a place for junk food in every aspect of our lives, whether that be actual mozzarella sticks or the book version of them.

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  2. I can definitely understand that feeling. Like you I used to depend on whatever was at the library, and now book blogs have widened my horizons so much more. I still have a taste for light and fluffy books, but I think my reading is more diverse now.

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  3. Goodness, yes. My reading tastes have changed a lot over the years! And my taste in movies. Mostly that things I used to dislike (or think I would dislike) now delight me. Usually once I like something, I keep liking things, but lately I've been rewatching some movies I heartily disliked as a teen and discovering they're awesome.

    Oh, and I really relate to the "I keep reading blog posts about all these great books and authors and I want to read them alllllllll!" problem. It's terrible, I tell you. Especially when the library system doesn't have the books I really want to read. But even when they do, I don't have the time. I need to quit buying books and figure out a way to buy time.

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    1. If only we could buy time. Then my book buying and reading time might have a chance to balance out. I keep telling myself I should stop buying books for a while but it doesn't really seem to be happening.

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    2. I have the self-same problem. I actually realized a while back that when I buy a book, it feels like I'm buying a chunk of time, because I imagine myself reading the book, the pleasure of that time... but it's not true, I'm not buying time. I just wish it was.

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    3. Well, it may not be true but I like the way it sounds. Buying books is the same as buying time. Works for me.

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