Book Bites Hurt

Most of the time, biting books aren’t this obvious.

I’m doing a lot of prep for NaNoWriMo. (That’s National Novel-Writing Month, which is November)

Most of it involves research- I’m subscribing to some new blogs, clicking around websites, and (maybe) signing up for a few classes.

Some of it involves plotting- I have a beautiful stack of multi-colored 3×5 cards. Whenever I get a scene idea, I jot it down. Soon I’ll be arranging them in a pleasing, plot-climbing order.

A lot of it, however, involves reading. Not just research books. I’m reading YA fiction. A lot. Because (as evidenced in this post), I can’t read while I write. So I’m reading two or three or four books a week in order to the make up for the month I’ll be book MIA.

Once in a while, however, I come across a book that makes me want to stop reading. Sometimes it’s because the book is so beautiful and amazing that I’m sure whatever comes next will pale in comparison. I need time to digest it and sigh about it. This happened with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I was daydreaming about that book for weeks! (My review is here, if you want to read it).

Most of the time, though, when a book makes me want to stop reading, it’s because I feel like I’ve been bitten by it. 5-star reviews, critical acclaim, and NYT Best-seller lists mislead me into thinking that it will be fantastic. And, in short, it’s not. Sometimes it’s the writing, sometimes it’s the story, sometimes it’s the lack of either. Woe to the first person who talks to me after I slam the back cover! Two hours later, I may be done stewing about it, but probably not. Sometimes it takes days. Sometimes weeks! People ask me what I’m reading and I scowl and say, “Nothing.”

There are a smattering of authors that I read after such occurrences, because I know that their beautiful stories will heal my gaping book-wound. After reading something by Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen, or Marcus Zusak, I am ready to give it another go.

Does that happen to anybody else out there? Can a single book put you off of reading for a week or more?

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13 thoughts on “Book Bites Hurt

  1. Brittany says:

    I’m actually the opposite! I’m getting a lot of inspiration from the books I’m currently reading. It IS slowing down my reading process a lot, but I think it’s helping me 🙂
    This is my first year doing NaNo so I have no idea what I’m doing lol. I love the notecards idea! That’s a great way to get organized and still be able to move things around.
    Thanks for sharing this post!

      • Brittany says:

        Just added you as a buddy 🙂
        Thanks! I’ll have to check out the link. I think I’m going to need all the help I can get! I usually fly by the seat of my pants…. Which explains why I have 12 different sets of exactly one page of a story haha

      • Gus Sanchez says:

        Ah, someone else who knows Bud Smith! He’s a really good friend of mine; he and I have taken part in a literary anthology that’s being published very soon. Awesome writer, even more awesome person.

      • Laura Lee Anderson says:

        Lucky you! The writing world is a small one, it looks like. 🙂 Bud and I met at the Backspace conference this past Spring. I thought he was a famous person in disguise because his name tag was hand-written (I don’t know if he knows that, hehe). Now I think he’s a famous person pre worldwide-discovery. 😉

      • Gus Sanchez says:

        We sort of knew each other back in the MySpace days – yeah, I just aged myself – because we ran in the same blogging crowd, so we were pretty familiar with each other.

        He’s gonna be massive. Massive, I tell you!

  2. Gus Sanchez says:

    That’s been happening to me recently, after having re-read “American Gods.” I can’t imagine reading anything this good immediately after that, so I’ll go for something less challenging to fill the time.

  3. Shelver506 says:

    Yes! This!

    It’s very rare for me to go over a week, because I get antsy and bored, but I know the feeling. Like you, I either take a break because a book was really bad or really good. If it was really good, I need the time to digest everything (and sometimes stop crying) and get everything sorted in my brain so I can write a semi-coherent review. When it’s really bad, I’m beastly. Really, it’s just not pretty.

  4. Writerlious says:

    It’s kind of sad but I feel like probably 75% of what I read disappoints me. It’s always exciting to discover one of those rare gems that’s truly awesome. It’s like shopping in a thrift store. There’s a lot of crap, but sometimes you discover something really amazing.

  5. michelsauret says:

    There was a period of several months when everything I picked up was disappointing. Then our son, phoenix, was born and reading became impossible. Its usually the unknown authors I enjoy most. Best sellers, I typically avoid. Maybe its out of spite. Maybe its out of jealousy. Maybe its because there are so many other books out there worth discovering. But yes. I’ve been bitten by a book or dozen before.

    Nice post.

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