Thursday, June 10, 2010

Disappointed now

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?


  1. Oh I feel sorry for you. 3 out of 30 is not a good average. Perhaps you should think about abandoning reads that really aren't doing it for you.

  2. Choosing the next book is so difficult. I don't bother with boring books these days - if it doesn't interest me I put it to one side. Fortunately I've had a run of good books lately so I'm happy

  3. I think maybe sometimes the books one is reading just go through phases. Sometimes you hit a lot of good and a few very good...and sometimes everything is just fair.

    I know sometimes I get caught up in reading ARC or review copies and I might not be really finding something great, so I take a little break and maybe read something strongly recommended from someone, a book blog, I really trust.

  4. I don't necessarily think reading slumps are such a bad thing. In the last year I've read more books for review purposes - and so I've been reading more books outside of my normal comfort zone. The result is that I’ve read fewer books that I’ve personally LOVED, but I’ve read several books I’d cheerfully recommend to friends because I know they will love them. I think that comes with the territory of being a book blogger versus a reader. A book blogger has to be willing to take a chance on a dark horse – which may or may not pay off in the end (and to varying degrees). A reader can stick with the specific author or genre that excites them because it isn’t necessary to have points of reference/basis for comparison.


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