I'm reading much slower these days than ever before. Someone once told me that the way to truly enjoy and appreciate literature is to take it in slowly and that there's no way someone can appreciate a book when speed reading, a point I have tried to take to heart ever since. But slow reading doesn't always translate into better appreciation of the written word. Sometimes it's just a boring book that's a struggle to get through.
Yesterday, I found myself asked about my current read. I commented vaguely that it was merely "okay", not an excellent book but not terrible. And suddenly I realized why earlier that day, when a colleague asked for a book recommendation, I was stuck. Because in the last six months, I have read around 30 books and only 3 of these have been truly worth mentioning. It's not that the books are all terrible, exactly. In fact, only one book was purely bad, while a few others were just disappointing. There's a fine line, though, between good and excellent. A line that recently, no one has crossed.
Last year was rich in terms of book quality. I read some excellent books. But suddenly finding myself not in a reading slump, but in a bit of a reading flatline, I have to wonder what's changed. Is it that I'm picking books differently? I've started going based on very specific recommendations and reviews - perhaps my opinions don't mesh so well with these reviewers? Or perhaps it's all just bad luck. It's mostly been the random finds that have disappointed.
This last week has seen windfall book-buying, stories from all across the globe. Almost all purchases are essentially long-shots and random buys. In some cases I knew of the author or heard of the book, but for the most part, I went with my gut. Adventurous reading. After I finish this somewhat boring book, I'll start on the fresh buys. Because out of so many new books, one of them has to get me excited. And isn't that what good literature is all about?