Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thinking On Thursday: What Do You Do When A Book Breaks Your Heart?

If you've been blogging about books for any length of time, you probably know the following is a given:

You win a few. You lose a few.

There is little that is more joyful then discovering that a book you hadn't expected to read has become one of your favorites. And there is little more frustrating then having a book you were aching to read--particularly when it's from an author you know and love--turn out to be a total dud.

Loving and Loathing both sorta come with the territory, right? And when you close that book that didn't work for you, you dust yourself off (metaphorically speaking), you stand up and you move on.

Most of the time I'd agree and say this is true. People say you've gotta be tough and have thick skin to be a writer. But how often do we really consider what it actually takes to be a reader? Reading is far from a passive activity. Depending on how intensely a particular reader connects with the books he or she reads, the choice to be a reader can encompass anything from skimming the page to handing an author temporarily control of one's senses, heart, and soul. It can be a deeply personal and moving experience that can take something from (or give something to) the reader just as much as writing the text took and gave something to the writer.

Have you ever had a book break your heart? (Or the reverse, fallen madly in love with a book?) I'd never really thought about quite how powerful an impact the books I read--especially since I read quite a few each month as a blogger--effect me until today, when I finally admitted to myself that I am, essentially, suffering an actual sense of loss or a "broken heart" from a book I read two weeks ago.

Signs that a Book Broke Your Heart:

You don't want to read. It may be just a general 'eh, I'll do that later.' feeling or the thought of getting a book might seem outright unappealing.

You are afraid to read because you worry your reaction from the 'guilty' book will influence your feelings about the next book you pick up.

Even the newest most fabulous books you've just purchased can't seem to get you truly motivated to read.

You procrastinate doing other stuff during times when you would normally be reading.

When you try to read you are unable to focus on the book or truly connect to what's happening on the page.

A lot of these are similar to what happens in a reading slump. The big difference, of course, is knowing what caused it.

So I suppose the true question is... how does one mend a broken heart? And how different is one of this nature then one caused, say, by losing a guy? I know this much: the discussion is over. I can't exactly call the book up and yell at it. (Although the review might be a pretty close consolation prize where that's concerned...)

But I Can...

Take It Slow: I wouldn't rush into a relationship with a new guy if I had just gotten dumped, and I don't NEED to be reading two to three books a week if I don't feel like it. I know I do need to read, because I need to put space between me and the book that wrecked me, but I need to read *for me* for now.

Pace Myself: I have two book tours coming up in March and I need to do reviews for those. Hopefully I'll luck out and both of those books will be as stellar as they sounded when I agreed. But to get started, I need to just start reading these. If I do 25% a night on my kindle, I'll have them done in a week and have their reviews written.

Read Stuff I'm Sure I'll Love: This is the time for comfort food (books). Nefert's Curse by P.C. and Kristin Cast and My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent are likely candidates here.

Read Stuff I've Been Dying To Check Out: But NOT stuff I've hyped through the ceiling. Juliet Immortal might be a good choice, or perhaps Pivot Point? Or I might give Unearthly that second glance I've been meaning to--but ONLY once I get the ball rolling again. Why are these books different then The One That Got In My Way? Because I haven't been dwelling on them for months.

Don't Be Afraid To Stop A Book That Isn't Working: i'm not exactly a strict finisher anyway, but this is definitely a time when DNF or at least pausing a book is better then trying to trudge through.

Write, Damn It!: I'm not a helpless passive wuss who has to give control to someone else's words all the time. (Oh hell that sounded bitter! And yet again--it takes an equal amount of courage to be a reader. I'M being a wuss right now, is what I'm saying. ;) ) I've needed to get doing on the last draft for my novel and this might be a good time to shift gears a little. I don't want to go as MIA as I did last year, but it's time to quit stalling.

So, have you had your heart broken by a book? What would you (or should I) do about it?


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