Book Purges and Booklust

I’ve been on a book purge lately. I didn’t mean for it to happen; I love books, and I tend to have them hoarded on my Kindle and Audible app, at least six months’ reading queued up at any given time. January was about slashing and burning most of my books; it was scorched earth policy in literary format. I don’t think January would have been so harsh if I hadn’t ended 2013 on such a high bookish note.

December was packed to the brim with work tasks. The fella and I took time off for the holidays at the end of the month and traveled to Vermont. We live in Phoenix, so that meant a lot of travel time (erm, reading time!). Our connecting flight from Chicago to Vermont was cancelled due to inclement weather, so we were stranded (minus our luggage, including winter coats!) at the airport hotel. This just gave me more time to read.  I finished up the Divergent trilogy before we even made it to Vermont! While there, I managed to finish two more books – Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan and The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Both were excellent books that weren’t new releases, but came from book blogger recs. Now I have to check out more recent publications by both authors.

I decided to start off 2014 with another book blogger rec, Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Almost every book blog/site I follow mentioned how amazing this book was. I’ll post a fuller review this month, but I was not disappointed. I want more people to read it so I have more people with whom I can discuss the book.

And after that, it kind of went downhill. I started seven different books and just couldn’t get through the first chapter on my Kindle. I deleted two other audiobooks before I was a quarter of the way through. The hardest purge was Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. I adored Ford’s debut novel, and I tried to temper my expectations for the second book. The plot didn’t seem that compelling to me, and I worried that Ford wouldn’t be able to top Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I was right: it felt like a rehash of old territory, a lacking reinvention of what worked in Hotel, just applied to a similar-but-not-same story. It just didn’t work, and after about a fifth of the book I removed it from my shelves. I love Ford’s writing, the way he captures history in puns and weaves depth into brief observations – but it wasn’t enough.

Normally I would give a book a little more time to get better and grab me, but I just didn’t feel that approach this time. I don’t want to just get through a book. I want to be enamored with a book, to love it so much that when I finally put it down it stays with me for days, weeks later.

It’s not too high an expectation from a reader. It’s not too much to ask from an author.

What was the last book you read that you truly loved? Why?

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