Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Problems

I, once again, have a dilemma. But this time, the dilemma is a good one. It makes me happy. It even makes me giggle every so often when I ponder it. My problem is this: I have too many new books to read, and I can't decide which one to start with.

Yes, I know that the world is busy debating health care options, settlements in Jerusalem, global warming mandates, and whether North Korea is unstable enough to nuke us. But I can't fix any of those things no matter how much thought I put into it, so I'm going to focus my energy on a mini-crisis of my own making.

It started like this: my friend Kelly recommended a book series to me. The series met several key reading requirements: 1) it is at least moderately well-written, 2) it is engaging and escapist, and most importantly 3) all the books in the series have been released. So help me, I refuse to start one more book series where I have to wait a year (or more!) between books. In fact, I could have overlooked the well-written part of my requirements as long as the book met the other two. The book series is called "The Mortal Instruments" by Cassandra Clare. Book one is "City of Bones."

Kelly dropped off the first two books in the trilogy on Saturday afternoon. Ryan was gone most of the day, so I plowed through that one like a hot knife through butter. Zack was sick and had to stay home from church and serendipitously it was my turn to stay home with him. Long story short, I finished both books in about three days. I want to say that it was the reading equivalent of scarfing down an extra value meal when you're famished - I inhaled those books so fast I barely tasted them. But even though it was fast, I enjoyed the books. When it comes to good books, I'm not a nibbler - the book is either devoured whole or tossed out like a moldy loaf of bread. I think a better analogy would be to say that reading these books this weekend was like swimming underwater. I completely immersed myself and zipped through the pages, holding my breath until I absolutely had to come up for air. Then I would inhale, quick and deep, and plunge back in. I love that feeling of being so encompassed by another world that my own life and problems seem trivial and my whole mental effort is devoted to how that character was going to get himself out of the mess he's in.

I had to surface this afternoon when I finished book two because I didn't have book three. I did, however, have an exam to study for and various other mundane tasks that become urgent when a mother neglects her hearth for a reading binge. So I wasn't complaining. But by this evening I was ready to start neglecting again (real life being so much less appealing than I remembered) so I hopped onto Audible and started perusing. That's when it happened. For once in, I don't know, months and months and months I had a list of books that I was anxious to read and didn't know where to start.

It's not normally like this for me. Usually, I finish a book and then start hunting for a new one. Any time I talk to someone, I ask what they're reading right now, always looking for suggestions. I grab random books at the library, hoping something will be worthwhile. I read reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audible looking for a book with the right combination of interesting plot, decent writing, and that's light on the smut/language. Generally I can have two of the three, and my mood determines which ideal I have to sacrifice. Right now I feel like I pulled the handle of a slot machine and hit the literary jackpot. (For the record, I've never actually pulled the handle of a slot machine, but I wouldn't be opposed to reading a book about it. My standards only extend so far.)

Here are the books on my dance card:
1. City of Glass (the above-mentioned Book Three)
2. SuperFreakonomics - my mind is itching to read this one, it looks so good!
3. The Gathering Storm, the latest in the Wheel of Time saga. It comes out tomorrow, but though I'm buying it right away, reading it can wait. I've already waited, what, four years for this book? Plus the book before this one could use a reread.
4. K2 by Ed Viesturs - I'm halfway through this book right now but it might get shelved temporarily.
5. and 6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and the latest 39 Clues books - both are fun series that Brad and Noah are reading and I like to read with them.

Six books. Six brand-new books. How did I get so lucky? With the reading I have to do for school, I could probably string these books out for months. On the other hand, I could buy them all and read straight through and polish them off in about a week. Two weeks, tops. Although I can't imagine the state of my house afterwards, or my marriage for that matter. I think I will bask in the glorious beauty of six books sitting on my nightstand (or in my ipod). Yes, it might be frustrating to have so many great books waiting to be read, tempting me to abandon my responsibilities. But think of the pleasure it will bring when I find time to escape reality and have something great to dive into. Bliss. I think I'm going to invest in a snorkel.



I so love this post...especially the part about it being your turn to stay home from church. ha! Even if it wasn't I'm sure you could have bribed Ryan to swap. :) I am excited about starting City of Bones but did not check out #2 & 3. I told myself I have to finish two other books inbetween each. Book club is deciding on next years list in a couple of weeks and I need something to contruibute. So even if I 'scraf' them down, which I tend to do, I'll have the chance to read them again.

Kim said...

I'm getting pretty excited about the books I'm planning on reading as well. Then Drew and I decided that we are probably going to read a book together again which I love. I think we are going to go back and read some douglas adams.