Thursday, August 23, 2012

Read Any Good Books Lately?

This image is from Barnes and Noble
So, since I seem to be talking about aging this week (I'm sorry, Boys, about yesterday's post, which your father considered a little...much) here is another symptom that I'm getting older:

I have no patience for books I don't like. None.

In the olden days, opening a book was a commitment, and I would stick with that book until the final page, no matter how many times I rolled my eyes at how tedious the book was, or how much the subject matter made me blush, or how irritated I was with the author for wasting my time. I read voraciously and constantly, and finding good books was practically inevitable given the sheer quantity of words I took in through my eyes.

Not any more. Now if a book has not captured my attention within 50 pages, I close it, and it is dead to me. (I'm looking at you, any book that includes a teenaged vampire.) As some guy named James Pryce pointed out, life is too short for reading inferior books.

My requirements really aren't that steep. The book's plot has to be engaging and/or intriguing, it can't have sex/language/violence that would make it X-rated, it has to have characters that are not ALWAYS good or ALWAYS bad, the vocabulary has to make me smile, and it has to have a satisfying ending.

Okay, maybe my requirements are pretty steep, when I write them out like that. It doesn't mean they're unreachable, though. I find myself gravitating to the young adult shelves, because these books usually have good plots and satisfying endings, and often they come in a series or can be re-read and enjoyed.

When I do find a good book in the adult section, I am delighted. Such is The Habit. Susan Morse talks about dealing with her aging mother, her teenaged children, her siblings, her delightful but often absent husband (David Morse! The actor! Boomer from St. Elsewhere!) in a way that makes me love all of them. I laughed, I cried. I got it.

I finished The Habit Monday. Since then, three whole days ago, I have checked out and opened six different books. I have closed and put down five of them, disappointed. Now I have great hopes for The Golden Compass (thank you again, young adult section).

So what are you reading, and what am I missing?


  1. You should never pose that question where I will see it Sara. You'll get way more answer than you want. Here are some I've loved in the past few years. Remember who you're dealing with when you observe that there is nothing new or trendy on this list.
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
    The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
    What is the What by Dave Eggers
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    I could go on, but I will quit now. :)

    1. No, no,no, Anne, go on! These are exactly the books I've been looking for. I've read several of these, and am putting the rest of them on my list. LOOOOOVE Leif Enger. Oh, and Cutting for Stone, and Guernsey, and Book Thief. List some more.

  2. I'm new to your blog this week, and I'm reading through some older posts.

    My young adult readers loved that series, which their dad read to them. I will throw out a recommendation for The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau. Duprau was a 5th grade teacher who wrote the first book 20 years before its release. She had stashed it in a drawer, thinking it unworthy of publication. Later, she got it out, did some work on it, and it became a hit. The series is full of life lessons and discussion points.

    1. B, I'll give that a try. I do love YA series.