I previously wrote about how it feels to be in a reading slump, but I also sometimes have this almost opposite experience that I like to call “Book ADD,” which is when you have too many options of books to read that all sound great, so you start all of them and can’t decide which one you really want to read. That’s what I’m going through right now.
I actually used to not see this as a problem. In my teen years I would often start a new book about half-way through the book I was currently reading, sort of staggering them as a way to keep a book “on deck” (which I actually usually still do, just not overlapping them). And I never had an issue keeping the stories straight in my head. I wasn’t quite as expert at this as Rory Gilmore, but I agreed with her general premise of having a few different genre options to choose from, because you never know what kind of reading mood you might be in.
Whether it’s an effect of aging (brains stop developing around age 25, you know), or the attention deficit created by social media, or just that I don’t have as much free time to read as I did when I was in middle school and high school (work, amirite?), I can no longer overlap books in this way and still have a meaningful reading experience. I have to pick one and focus on it if I want to really enjoy the journey.
But I think my brain likes to trick itself into thinking I can be all loosey-goosey still, and tries to get me to do this multiple book reading thing. Just within the past week I’ve gotten fewer than 50 pages in to three different books. They’re all great, and ones that I’ve been excited to read for awhile, but I’m stalling on which one to commit to.
So, to sort my way through my thoughts and feelings on the three books that I have started reading in the last couple of days, I decided to write about them. Maybe this will help me decide which one to go with first. Maybe you, kind readers, can even give your opinion on which one I should continue.
An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon
Solomon’s debut novel re-imagines the American Antebellum South on a generational ship carrying the last remnants of humanity to a new planet. The ship’s occupants are stratified by class and race, and the story is told from the perspective of a “lower-decker,” in effect a slave.
I’m intrigued by and 100% here for social justice-infused science fiction, as I’ve written about before (my essay about it was even featured in Medium, what what!). I think Ghosts will definitely scratch that itch and give me a lot to contemplate. I’m about 45 pages in to this one and can already tell it may take me a little longer to read than a page-turner, because I want to soak everything in. But that’s not necessarily bad.
This is a book that I’m going to have to really focus on, with no distractions, which means it may be good for a vacation or public transit book. When I read at home, it really has to be the right kind of book, because I have so many other things I could be thinking about or doing, you know?
All that to say, I really want to read this, but it will have to be the right time and place. Is that now? I don’t know. Let’s see what else I’ve got…
The Kingdom of Copper, S. A. Chakraborty
This is a sequel to last year’s The City of Brass, which I absolutely LOVED. I’ve been meaning to read the follow-up since it came out about six months ago and just haven’t gotten to it for one reason or another. This is the second in a planned trilogy, so maybe I should wait until the third comes out so I can read them back-to-back?
The City of Brass draws on Middle Eastern and Persian folklore and mythology, which is refreshing after all the pseudo-European, pseudo-medieval fantasy fiction I am wont to read. (And still love, don’t get me wrong! But it is possible to burnout on fae and wizards and dragons.) It’s definitely opened me up to a wider variety of fantasy settings, as well as more work by authors of color, which I am very intentionally trying to seek out as one of this year’s reading goals.
The thing with this sequel, though, is that I was actually satisfied with the first book’s ending. I would love to spend more time in that world and with those characters, but I’m finding it hard to conceptualize where the story will go. I guess that’s good, though, maybe? I have room to be surprised. We’ll see…
Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
Not going to lie (PUN!), I’m mostly interested in this one because of the HBO series. I’d call myself more of a casual fan of this sort of “frothy, pulpy female-led mystery/thriller” genre that seems to be having quite a boom for the past several years now.
I really liked The Girl on the Train, I appreciated Gone Girl, and I most recently read and very much enjoyed A Simple Favor. This last one I also read because I’d seen and loved its adaptation. (Even though I wrote an entire post about how I didn’t care about reading the book. Joke’s on me, I guess, because it was great.)
All that to say, I have ample reason to believe I would get really into Big Little Lies. Already having watched the entirety of the TV series save the season 2 finale (which hasn’t aired yet), I will most likely know a lot of the twists before they come, but for me, knowing plot points and twists doesn’t ruin my enjoyment of a book; it enhances it, rather, because I get to then see how the story is constructed leading up to that twist.
Plus I’m sure there are a lot of differences between the book and the show–I have already noted that the book takes place in Sydney, Australia rather than Monterey, California–and those are always fun to see.
Well, I have to say, I have gained nothing through writing this post except the insight that I still want to read all three of these books, and I still don’t know which one to continue first. Crap. What do you guys think??? HELP! Where’s Anne Bogel when you need her?