Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Out with the Old...In with the New

We're doing some redecorating in our home this month. My youngest child is finally at the age where he doesn't spill everything he touches. New carpet, new furniture. Yeah!! One of the rooms we are recarpeting is the one where I keep all my books. While the prospect of temporarily moving over 2000 books is daunting, it also provides a much needed opportunity to pare down the TBR pile.

I started collecting books around 1990. Before that, I would read and toss. I hadn't started any of that crazy glom behavior yet. Then I went to work part-time in a used bookstore. A customer would recommend an author and the books were right there on the shelf waiting for me to take them home. I don't think I ever took a paycheck home from that place. Back in the early 90's I collected Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Barbara Delinsky, Elizabeth Lowell -- all the usual suspects. When I glommed an author, I bought it all, no half measures for me. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy all those early books by most of these authors. Why was I reading those alpha jerks from Krentz? Maybe I would have enjoyed them in 1982 but not in 2006.

I remember bidding furiously on eBay in the late 90's for the Jayne Bentley books. Winning those books at the oh-so-cheap price of $125 gave me a lot more enjoyment than actually reading one of them ever could. So came the realization that I would probably never read these books and it was time for them to find new homes.

My reading tastes have changed through the years. I used to read almost any book from one of my favorite authors even if it didn't interest me. I am attempting to break that habit with this move. Out the door goes any book set in the American West -- I can't find anything romantic about the period but my mother won't read anything else, so she gets those. Out goes lots of romantic suspense with serial killer plots -- I've decided I like action adventure not grisly murders.

I've gotten rid of almost 600 books in the last week and I feel much better about what's left on my shelf. I might actually get around to reading a few...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reading Slumps

I'm in a reading slump. No book can hold my attention for longer than a chapter. I have 7 books sitting on my nightstand with bookmarks in them. I'm reading books by authors that I normally love, so what's wrong with me?

Reading slumps usually happen around once a year for me. In a normal month I'll read between 10 and 15 books -- not bad considering I work full-time and have 2 small children. Last month I only read 4 books and this month I'm not doing much better.

Since I haven't been reading much, I've been watching movies. I signed up for the new Blockbuster movies by mail service and have been having a blast. We have a Blockbuster store about a mile from us and with the new program you can return your movies to the store and get a free movie to take home. So for the same price I was paying at Netflix, I can get twice as many movies. Since I can never get near a TV set in my house, I've been renting the TV shows on DVD and watching them on my portable DVD player. I have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and am now starting Season 4. It's funny to me that I'll watch movies and shows in a genre that I would never read in. Take Buffy -- I really love the show, but can't stand vampire romances. What's romantic about falling in love with a dead guy?

When I'm in a reading slump, I spend a lot of time trolling review sites looking for the book that is going to get me out of the slump. I tend to try a lot of new-to-me authors hoping that I just need a fresh voice to get me going again. So far it hasn't worked. I tried Julia Ross last night, an author whose books had recommendations from some of my favorite authors, but couldn't get past the third chapter. Any little historical inconsistency throws me off these days and the book hits the pile on my nightstand.

Hopefully this nasty slump will end soon and I can return to regular reading. Until then, I can find out how Buffy will survive without Angel...