Tour’s Books Blog

December 3, 2009

Somebody Hit the Snooz Alarm

Filed under: Asleep at the wheel,Editorial,General,opinion — toursbooks @ 2:07 pm
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I feel like I’ve been swimming in a sea of mediocre books lately.  It isn’t limited to genre either.  There are a slew of mysteries due for release in January – hardcover, of course – that I’m lusting for, but right now I’m just depressed over my inability to find an excellent read.  Over on PBS (Paperpack Swap) they mentioned a big book sale at Bookcloseouts.com.  Oh wow, did I go nuts.  No, the books I wanted the most weren’t there – big surprise – but a lot of others were.  I went crazy twice.  Once doing mystery/thrillers and whatever paranormal books on my wish list that I could find.  Then I went back and ran amok in the fantasy section – or wizards and nonsense as my brother dubbed it years ago.  Raymond Fiest, Robert Jordan and many others.  Soon, over 30 new hardcovers cost $2-3 dollars each will add to my alarming pile of to-be-read books.

With hundreds of unread books around me, how can I keep getting “Meh!” books?  Maybe I’ve hit a wall, or maybe too may average books are published.  One thing is certain, when I get a good one, I’m overjoyed.  I happen to accidentally buy In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming.  Just the opening chapter reminded me just how good a writer she is.  I’m not crazed about the series, but no question, its first rate.  Why I don’t love it is easy to for me to understand – I just have a preference for irreverent humor in my books.  Julia Spencer-Fleming is not exactly a laugh a minute.  I think the other part of my aversion is the reminder of just how short our days are right now.  We’re just 3 weeks from the shortest day of the year and that’s depressing.  I don’t like winter.  I don’t like short days, cold, snow, ice, wind, trees without leaves, heating bills that look like the national debt – pretty much the whole winter thing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, Christmas is coming.  Then what?  Three miserable months!!!!!  Depressing.  Somebody pass the peanut butter cups, my ‘happy drug’ of choice.

So, how does this affect my reading choices?  The last thing I need is some moody, depressing, introspective book.  Especially one set in cold climates.  I’ll have plenty of ice and snow, I don’t want to read about it too.  Instead, give me some thrilling, laugh out loud funny, fast paced, fascinating characters that leap off the page – now any of those are good antidotes to the weather induced depression.  I don’t care if it’s Harry Dresden or Sir Henry Merrivale or John Rain or a good romance – shifters being my personal favorites of late, I just want a good read.  Well written, interesting, fast paced, and intelligent story.  I don’t want a bunch of angsty characters emoting like self-adsorbed, overwrought teens.  I don’t want unrelieved, depressing story lines designed for a good crying jag.  And I don’t want to be grossed out with horrific monsters.  I want GOOD BOOKS!!!!!!

I’m a lot less forgiving in the winter than I am the rest of the year.  It’s like 4 months pf PMS and chocolate withdrawal.  I’m grumpy, cranky, easily annoyed, and incredibly intolerant of mediocrity.  I want a reason to survive till spring gets here and I feel like I’ll be happy and cheerful again.  Reading a book like In the Bleak Midwinter is kind of counter productive.  It’s an excellent book, it’s just freaking depressing and does nothing but remind me it’s COLD, DULL, and DEPRESSING right now.  Regency romance is a vast wasteland of clones and interchangeable characters, with a rare original.  Erotic romance is another genre awash in average and below writing.  Mystery, well, there are some good ones – and a sea of overly cute cozies, many featuring too-stupid-to-live “heroines” that feel and sound like the same brainless twits that inhabit Regency romance, only now they fret over Prada and Gucci and boldly commit acts of such overwhelming stupidity that I have to wonder how they survived to reach adulthood.

So what’s on my reading list for this winter?  I’m keeping favorites like Mr Impossible by Loretta Chase (set in Egypt) handy along with Kaitlyn O’connor’s Cyborg Revolution, everything by Shelly Laurenston, and a couple of new books that sit waiting for me.  I’ve been playing in the swaps on Paperback Swap – they’re addicting – and I keep offering books I haven’t read, so I end up tearing thru books so I can get them out in time.   Reading under deadline is like homework, and I get annoyed with myself for getting carried away in the swaps.  Thank heavens the holidays are coming and I’m taking a break from swaps.  I’ve been so desperate for a break, I pre-ordered Oracle of the Dead by John Maddox Roberts that should arrive next week.  Nothing like a good Roman mystery to clear out the cobwebs.   I also bought a couple of Frank Cole mysteries set along the Gulf coast, The Pirates of Pensacola, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon, a couple of Jaz Parks novels by Jennifer Radin, and a mixed bag of traditional fantasy books.  On my wish list at Amazon are a slew of mysteries by authors I know and like – Robert Crais’s new Joe Pike novel, a new Tim Dorsey off-the-wall mystery, and the latest Zack Chasteen novel by Bob Morris, and a Thorn mystery by James W Hall.  It’s no surprise that 3 of 4 of these novels are set in Florida.  If I could find some good ones set in the islands, I’d buy them too.  Anything to escape winter for awhile even if it’s only in the pages of a book.

So I’ll enter my winter funk, try to stay awake rather than just burrowing under the blankets and going into hibernation, and write the occasional reviews.  Oh, and eat lots of homemade chili and beef vegetable soup to keep warm and try not to faint when the gas bill arrives.

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