Saturday, 19 September 2009

Picking the wrong book.....do you get anxious?

Yesterday morning I was running around getting ready for work. I had finished Skellig the night before, and I still didn't know what I felt like reading. I picked one book up, then another, then another. Time ticked away, I had to go catch the bus. Finally I picked A Restless Evil by Ann Granger. No sooner had I gotten on the next bus (I missed the one I was trying to catch, of course), then I looked at the book and thought, "No. No, I don't want to read this one! I want to read Fred Vargas's This Night's Foul Work. Why did I put it down?" All day long I was waiting to get home so that I could put A Restless Evil aside and have This Night's Foul Work with me. I gazed out the window on the bus ride home, rather than read any of A Restless Evil. Once in the door, the first thing I did was take A Restless Evil out of my work bag, and put it back on the TBR shelf, and pick up This Night's Foul Work and heave a great big sigh of relief.

Have you ever had this anxiety, that you've picked the wrong book to read, and had to wait to get to the right one? Do you feel uncomfortable too until you have the right book in your hands?

And I swear, I had no idea why I wanted to read This Night's Foul Work; I was looking at The October Country, The Heart-Shaped Box, Spirits That Walk in the Shadow, all for Carl's challenge. I even picked up Unshapely Things, a fairy/druid mystery by Mark del Franco.But I wanted This Night's Foul Work. This morning when I finally began to read it - on the bus, I might add, I discovered that the opening chapter has a -

ghost story. That's right! The main character, Commissaire Adamsberg, has bought a house in or near Paris (it doesn't say yet where it is); his neighbor comes to talk and over morning coffee, tells him the house is haunted by an evil female ghost. She's the ghost of a nun who murdered 7 women in 'the century before the century before this', and all the women who have lived in the house since have died because the ghost affects them particularly.

Sometimes, my deeper self knows what I need before I do.

Here is a ghost story for today's Bluenose Excerpt:

As late as the turn of the century a man from Schwartz Settlement was passing Red Bank when he saw a boat coming towards him with eight men rowing and one in the bow and one in the stern. They had big hats on with turned-up brims, and they followed closely along beside him. When they came to shore they went ahead of him and moored their boat and then stood in front of him but never spoke. He said they were large men and looked like pirates, so it was thought they had buried treasure there. He rushed past them, for he knew they were not human, and he would never go that way again.

21 comments:

Eva said...

I definitely have that feeling Susan!!! Although usually for me it's not a huge deal since I'm in the house all day-within a few pages I get cranky and go back to the book I really want.

DesLily said...

before I read Drood I picked up two other books and read the first 3 pages or so of both and put them down.. then i read the first 3 pages of Drood and kept on reading..I hope it doesn't mean I won't read the other two books, but they didn't capture me at that moment..and that's where it at.. capturing you at that moment in time and much depends on your mood and feelings of the day. Interesting how that happens to us.

Amanda said...

I do get that. Thankfully, I don't often have to make split second decisions like that. Since I'm a stay at home mom, I don't have to rush off to work or school. But sometimes I've just finished a book and need to pick a new one before a Dr.'s appt or picking up my boys from school. I hate having to choose fast like that.

wordlily said...

I've had that happen to me, too. Not often, thankfully, but sometimes, yes.

http://wordlily.wordpress.com

StephanieD said...

Oh, yes I have that feeling often. The imagined story experience seduces me so that it must be the very next book I read and I'm not satisfied until I've done so.

Lesley said...

Oh yes, you are definitely not alone in that feeling! Even though I work in a library, when I'm about to start a new book and debating about which one to bring with me to work to read during breaks, etc., it can be very nerve-racking, especially if it's at the last minute!

I always bring along more books than I can read during vacations and extended periods away, just to avoid running into that same situation.

I'm glad you finally found something you wanted to read!

Emily Barton said...

Oh, yes, yes, yes! I definitely get that feeling, which is why I always take a bag of books with me on airplanes -- the worst would be to be trapped on a flight for 4 or 5 hours with the wrong book, wouldn't it? Like being trapped with an annoying passenger sitting next to you. And now, thanks to you, I guess I have to read This Night's Foul Work. I mean, how can I NOT read something that starts with a ghost story?

Kailana said...

I always carry a couple books around with me. I need variety or I feel like I am pressuring myself into reading something and then it isn't fun. I have a book bag that I leave in my car... I am a bit OCD about reading, I think.

Julia Smith said...

Ooo hoo hoo! Spooky!

I don't get an anxious feeling when I decide I'd rather read something else. I'll read what I have with me, but then I'll switch over and let the other one languish awhile.

But more often, when I'm on the bus and have something to read with me, something that I do want to read, I end up running scenes through my head for the story I'm writing. Or just plain fall asleep!

litlove said...

Oh yes absolutely! I get really cross with myself if I've ended up bringing the wrong book away with me as I feel like I've wasted valuable reading time! I have the Ann Grainger book you mention sitting on my shelves and have recently been introduced to Fred Vargas and think she is wonderful. I don't have the particular title you mention, though, and must get hold of it.

Literary Feline said...

Yes, that definitely has happened to me too. Just like you, I will grab a book to read as I'm walking out the door, only to realize later it's not the book I'm in the mood for. Sometimes I go ahead and start on the book I did bring with me and other times I'll just wait until I can get home and start on the book I really wanted to read.

Susan said...

Eva: It is a feeling of being cranky, isn't it? and sometimes it's like part of me thinks I want to read a book, and I don't listen to what I feel like reading.

Deslily: exactly! another time I will want to read the Granger, but right now it's Fred Vargas. Capturing our attention is what the cover and feel of a book does. Thank you, Pat!
PS how are you finding Drood? I am eyeing that to read soon, too.

Amanda: choosing fast is hit or miss! You're right, it's hard to make that instant decision, especially when I'm not sure what kind of book I'm in the mood to read at that moment.

Wordlily: It doesn't happen often now, I'm better at letting myself pick at the moment, rather than deciding ahead of time what's next - I often change my mind when I do that. Thanks for the comment!

Stephanie: yes! that's it! the combination like Deslily says above, the right moment and time for the book...sometimes I don't listen to what that seduced feeling is saying! I like that. A book seduces us. Very apt image for us book lovers! :-D

Lesley: I love that, you work in a library and still need to choose what to bring from home! I know exactly how you feel, I used to work in bookstores, and I always brought my books from home to read. However, I found so many good ones to read at the store that I would bring home more to read! lol Do you find yourself bringing home more books than you can read?

I'm the same way with trips, I always bring more than I end up reading! that way I have a choice, like you!

Emily: 'a bag of books'. I like that! that's how I travel too, no matter how hard I try to take only a few, it's always 3 or 4 or 5, depending if there are bookstores where I'm going!

I hope you like This Night's Foul Work. The Commissionaire is an unusual detective, I quite like him, and the set-up with the Murder Squad. I reviewed the previous book, Wash This Blood Clean From My Hands, last year.

Kailana: I like that, OCD about reading! YES!! that would describe me too. there are times I can't go grocery shopping without a book, or even going to the library - when I'm returning books and getting more - I still carry my own book with me!!

Julia: I fall asleep too on the bus. But in the mornings I'm fresh enough to read. and I hate being on the bus without a book! It was just a particular feeling I had Thursday, that I didn't want the book I'd hastily grabbed, but the one I'd been looking at....

litlove: yes, exactly, I felt like I was wasting reading time! even thought the Granger one looks good, I didn't want to read it then. I'm kind of happy to know that I'm not alone in getting cross when I've picked the wrong book quickly to read!

Isn't Fred Vargas a really good writer? This was the one from late last year, and there's a new one just out now.

I didn't know you read mysteries too, this is delightful to discover about you - Shakespeare and mysteries!

Susan said...

Literary Feline: I've done that too, settled for the book I've brought, but this time I suddenly knew I wanted one at home, and more importantly, which one! lol

Everyone: thanks so much for commenting, I know I'm not alone n this now! Not a freak at all, and maybe slightly (or a lot...)OCD about books!

DesLily said...

I did my review on Drood here:
http://herethereandeverywhere2ndedition.blogspot.com/2009/09/drood.html
I really liked this book!!!

Susan said...

Deslily: thanks! I'll come the review...not sure how I missed it, I have you on my blogroll.

Bybee said...

Yes, there's nothing worse than a long subway ride to Seoul and the wrong book.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

It is very important to read the book you want to read WHEN you want to read it! I can totally relate to that. I have a huge TBR stack (there are actually several stacks!), so it isn't always easy to pick the next book. But it's very important to pick the right one.

Daphne said...

I know exactly what you mean. That's the reason why I routinely cart around at least three books.

Susan said...

bybee: ouch! that is awful. How long is the ride? Oh that would be sheer torture! I hope it hasn't happened too often. no wonder we get OCD about it and start carting around 2 or 3 books at a time instead!

Creations/Laurel: Yes, I have two 6 shelves full of TBR books! And still sometimes I'm not in the mood for any! lol thanks for the comment, I think this is your first time here. Welcome!

Daphne: Yes, I recognize the signs! *high five* OCD is alive and well in book lovers! lol I have a notebook as well as a book, so if I'm really stuck (and the bus isn't jolting too much) I can at least write a little, if I'm done my book. I've been known to stop in bookstores and buy another book to read on the way home, just so I'm not without a book! And also if I'm bored with what I'm reading.....any excuse for a new book, in fact.... :-D I just can't carry 3 books all the time because of my back, or I would! do you pick randomly the back-up books?

Michelle said...

Oh yes, I get that feeling all the time. I'm thankful that I don't have to leave the house that often so it's no big thing usually.

The most recent happened the other day. The thing is that I take my boys to the park in the afternoons after Oldest's nursery and I sit and read my book while they're playing. And I'd just finished A Fine Balance and needed something new. Grabbed one book (about zombies it turned out) when I decided I really needed something a little lighter. And that was One Day by David Nicholls. And I got that in my head and it wouldn't leave and I nearly called the boys to go home early so I could start on my book!

Susan said...

Michelle: Oh yes, you understand too! It's an awful feeling, isn't it? To know we have the wrong book with us - that there is another we really want to read at this moment in time. I like how you describe how you couldn't get the book you wanted out of your mind, even though you were holding another perfectly good book! that's exactly how I felt that day....Thanks, Michelle, for the lovely comment. I also had to laugh that you wanted to cut your children's play time short so you could go get your book! we are bookaholics, aren't we??