Book Selection

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right novel to read and recently I have started several, only to put them back on the shelves after reading a few pages. It’s not that the books aren’t good, it’s just that they haven’t been the right books for me at that moment. I haven’t abandoned these books, as I’m sure at another time they could be the right books.

The books I’ve started include these (and there were several others too):

  • The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, described on the back cover as seething ‘with imagination, inventiveness and intelligence’ (Sunday Times). That’s as may be, but it’s written in the present tense, which I’m not keen on – another time and I may not even notice, after all I like other books by her that I’ve read.
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’ve read more than a few pages of this, 87 to be precise, but it has nearly 800 pages. I thought when I started it that it was going to be one I could get really engrossed in, but then the story seemed to get swamped in too much detail, too much description and I wanted it to get a move on. So, I stopped reading.
  • The Snow Geese by William Fiennes – a book about natural history, poetically written about leaving and homing, belonging and wandering. But again the detail was just too much for me – I needed something with more bite, more action, more cohesion.  Another time I can tell this book could be the one for me, but the time and my mood weren’t right.

I like to read more than one book at a time but sometimes one book will grab me more than others and I leave them to finish it. That happened last week. I was reading and enjoying The Joyous Invasions by Theodore Sturgeon, three science fiction stories from the 1950s. The first story is To Marry Medusa, in which a down-and-out is taken over by a seeding of the Medusa, from outer space. But I was also reading The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves and had got to the point where I just had to know what happened next and who the murderer was, so The Joyous Invasions had to go on the back burner for a while.

This is why I can’t plan what I’m going to read and why I’m finding it difficult to stick to reading just from my own unread books. I think I’m going to stop doing the Triple Dog Dare Challenge mainly because I’ve borrowed some books from the library this week that I really want to start soon. I ‘have’ to borrow library books to make sure that the library service keeps the mobile library running! If there aren’t enough borrowers it will be cut.

13 thoughts on “Book Selection”

  1. I find myself re-reading when I can’t get anything else to click for me. It can be frustrating sometimes, especially when you know you’re probably going to like something but that first page doesn’t ‘click’. (I also don’t attempt TBR challenges as the moment I “have” to read something, I know I won’t!) Good luck getting your reading mojo back!


  2. I agree with you. I always have to have several books going on. It depends on the reading mood at the time. I have just piled together my TBR books (183 fiction and non-fiction). I panic a bit when I see how many they are. So my new year promise for 2014 is to read at least 12 of them + 5 non-fiction. I just made a special page on my blog for this reason. As you see from the list I am half through reading several books. I agree with Vicki as well: when you have to read something there is suddenly a reluctance to do it! Anyway, good luck with your TBR books. Maybe do like I do when I don’t like a book. I read just one chapter a day…finally you will have ended the book!


  3. I don’t know how you do it. I can only concentrate on one book at a time. The exception is when I’m reading a long history or biography and then I can read a novel too but I’d rather stick to one. I used to be a mood reader but with my commitments to review I’ve become able to read and enjoy almost anything no matter my mood. Even better, I’ve learned to read (and relish) books while my hard of hearing husband has the TV blaring. 🙂


    1. Barbara, I get itchy feet if I just stick to one book and actually it’s only like watching serials on TV – I can keep track of those, although sometimes I do have to recap what I’ve read. And my husband is deaf in one ear, and I can read over the TV too. It helps that when I was a teenager I used to do my homework whilst the TV was on as it was too cold in my bedroom to do it there, so I got used to blocking out the sound.


  4. I too like to read several books at a time. Usually a fiction, a non-fiction, and something long-term, perhaps a short story volume or the kind of non-fiction which take weeks to amble through. I do like to have one fiction book that’s my main read though and I thoroughly sympathise with your problem of starting several books and them not being what you want. It happens to me from time to time though I’ve been more lucky recently. I also seem to be a bit ‘off’ long passages of detail and description too at the moment. Not at all sure why. Quite agree with your library stance too.


  5. Margaret – More than once I”ve started a book and for the same reason stopped reading after just a few pages. Reading is as much about one’s state of mind I think as it is anything else. And I know exactly what you mean about reading more than one book at the same time. I do the same thing!


  6. Maybe it’s spring fever–I know that I’m finding it hard to concentrate myself these days, and am actively juggling 5 books, and dipping into a few more. Sometimes you just have to through challenges out the window and read what strikes your fancy!


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