I’m a moody bastard (when it comes to reading)

So before Christmas, I started on this book, The Black House by Peter May. Started off well, I was into it. Then I hit this rather exhaustive autopsy scene in the book that was chock full of well-researched detail. Maybe if I had hit this at another time than around the Holiday – when my attentions were very divided to begin with – I could have slogged through it and come out on the other side. But no. I did eventually get through the chapter but by then the book had just lost some of the fizz for me. I still want to read it. Just not now. It’s not hitting me. I wish I wasn’t like this with books but I am very moody.

There is a saying that life is too short to read bad books. I firmly believe this. For me, it is more about the investment of time. Between working, being Dad and writing, it’s hard to find time for reading in any case. But I do find the time. However, I am not a fast reader. If something grabs me, though , I seem to find ways to carve slices out of my day to continue reading it. Mere moments in some cases. They don’t all “go to 11” (to steal a phrase from the Spinal Tap movie) but when they do, it is great, isn’t it? More commonly, others are just enjoyable reads. This is why – you may have noticed – I never seem to give a book any less than 3 stars. That’s because if it’s not working for me – for whatever reason – I abandon it. If it’s a mood thing, I might come back to it but if it just isn’t working and I feel it’s a 1 or 2 star book 70 pages in, then forget it.

I realize that, as a writer, this puts me at something of a disadvantage. Because, of course, we can learn as much by reading something we don’t like as much as something we love. I could be learning what not to do. But even books I like have plenty of those teachable moments in them, so I am not missing out entirely, I suppose.

So I’m sticking Peter May’s book in my come-back-to-it pile and I think I have decided on one or both of two books: Randy Chandler’s Hellbent House for when I’m feeling horrific and Warren Ellis’s Gun Machine for when I’m in the mood for some crime and badassery.

Now, see, don’t you feel better? Now that you know what I am reading next, you can finally get on with your day.

– D.


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