It is perhaps the most precarious position in which a reader can find himself. There is no mooring, no anchor, no base; nor center, nor axis, nor hub. He has nowhere to turn. He sits in readers’ limbo: he is between books.
Have you ever read compulsively, ploughing your way to the end of a book, only to lament its final pages. It ended too abruptly, or I just wanted to know what happened to the characters after… Finishing a book can be as much a devastating loss as it can be a crowning achievement. But for all the pain of losing touch with the characters you have grown to know and love, part of the heartbreak of finishing a book has nothing to do with the book itself.
It’s the booklessness on the horizon.
For any given amount of time, the books I intend to read always outnumber the books I have or will have read. I am a voracious reader, but I am not a devourer of books. I’m just not a fast reader, and I often resent myself for it. Unfortunately, it’s my appetite for books that often leads to the gridlock I encounter when as I’m trying to transition from one book to another.
But I’m always up for a new method. This time, I’m approaching my next book as I might my next bottle of tequila: I’m taking a flight. I’m making use of technology and employing my iPad as a platter to serve myself a book sampler—revisiting books I’ve been eyeing for the last several months, digging into recently received suggestions, and (at least in the case of the final installment of Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy) giving in to a recently developed addiction to mysteries and thrillers.
At some time or another, I hope I’ll make my way through all of these (either in paper or electronic format). Here’s the sampler menu as it currently stands:
- The Unfinished Angel (Creech)
- Her Fearful Symmetry (Niffenegger)
- Spooner (Dexter)
- Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Tower)
- Wolf Hall (Mantel)
- Something to Tell You (Kureishi)
- The Girl With No Shadow (Harris)
- The Housekeeper and the Professor (Ogawa)
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Larsson)
In the meantime, I’ll be reading samples until a.) I find a book I can’t put aside to dig into 20 pages of something else; or b.) I get exhausted, confused, fed up (or all of the above) and stick with whichever book I happen to be sampling just then.
Suggestions to add to the menu, opinions on anything currently on the list, or explanations of your own methods for choosing your next book are most heartily welcome.