I enjoyed the discussions about female anger and angry heroines, both here and elsewhere, prompted by my post on Lady of Quality. I don’t think of myself as a woman who has a hard time with anger, but I was reminded this week that sometimes even when I think my anger is justified, I have a hard time feeling that way. And I can feel guilty that I wasn’t “nice” about my anger. Turned out I needed that post.
Book Fast Update
With two weeks left in Lent, I am finding my book-buying fast surprisingly easy. I’ve added only 7 things to my wishlist. I’m pretty sure I won’t buy most of them once Easter comes, either. Some things I noticed:
- A lot of my wishlist books are older. What’s hot in romance right now is mostly not my bag, baby. (I think I already knew that, but now I don’t even feel bad about not being into it).
- I pick up a lot that I’m only mildly interested in simply because they are cheap. Once I couldn’t buy new books, I looked at things like Dear Author’s daily deals post and thought, “Eh, nothing I can’t live without.” I expected to want more of those books, because I usually pick up at least a couple every month.
- I often buy a book by an author I’ve liked in the past as soon as it comes out, even if I still have some of that author’s books (including earlier books in the same series!) in my TBR. Why am I doing that? What if I don’t like those TBR books much, and decide I’m done with the author? Then I’ll be sorry I bought the latest, but still feel I “should” read it. Ugh.
- I’m more swayed by what’s popular in my on-line circle, and on-line generally, than I thought–both for and against. For instance, when everyone started talking about a certain book, at first I felt left out and really wanted to be able to buy and read it and join the conversation. But because I wasn’t part of that conversation, it came to seem like too much noise. At this point I actively don’t want to read the book. It’s the hype conundrum again: if you’re in the circle, it’s great; if you’re outside, it’s annoying. I’m not sure what the lesson for me is. Don’t spend so much time on Twitter, probably.
- There’s another book, by an author I’ve had mixed success with in the past, that many people I follow are reading/planning to read. I thought I would be buying it as soon as Lent ended. But I haven’t been interested in erotic romance lately, and the plotline of this one doesn’t appeal to me. I’m glad I couldn’t impulse-buy it. I “auto-buy” too much rather than deciding on a book-by-book basis. I don’t want to turn myself off an author I enjoy some of the time. Not every book by an author will be a winner for me. So why am I buying them all?
I might have changed some of the buying habits that have led to my too-big TBR woes, which was really my goal with this resolution. If I had it to do over again I would give up library books, because the real point for me is not so much not to spend money but not to acquire things I don’t really want. The library kept me from discovering the
abundance excess that is my TBR.
What I’ve Been Reading
A lot of mysteries: on audio, Heyer, Footsteps in the Dark: meh, too farcical for me; Andrea Camilleri, The Age of Doubt: I like the Siciliy-set Inspector Montalbano series a lot, but haven’t read one for ages. I skipped over several books because this was what I found first at the library, and found reading out of order to be no problem. I love the descriptions of food and the crazy colleagues. These books are short and on the light side, but not weightless, thanks in part to Montalbano’s philosophical bent. I’ve already downloaded another. Jim Butcher, Storm Front: has been in my audio TBR forever. It’s urban fantasy, but I thought very much hardboiled-ish PI with magic. I would listen to more in this series, though I didn’t like it as much as Ben Aaronovitch. It’s an older recording and at first I found narrator James Marsters’ (yes, Spike from Buffy) breathing distracting–that gets edited out or not picked up in newer recordings–but in the end it seemed very human and intimate, which worked with the first-person narration.
In print: Malla Nunn, Let the Dead Lie. Second Emmanuel Cooper book set in 50s South Africa. I thought this was a bit stronger than the first one and continue to enjoy Nunn’s vivid depiction of physical and social setting (though the race relations can certainly be painful to read about).
Verdict on all these: I love mystery but I’ve had a run where women are very secondary characters, and appear mainly as femmes fatales, love interests, sex workers, or wives. I am tired of this. I’m craving a more woman-centered book.
I did read a couple of those: Marion Lennox’s linked Harlequin Romances (the heroines are sisters) Her Outback Rescuer and A Bride for the Maverick Millionaire. Lennox is a reliable pleasure for me and these were perfect for a stressful week. I liked the first better, maybe because I read them too close together, but I also thought #2 had too much external drama for such a short book. My favorite scene in HOR was a hike where ex-commando hero Hugo tries to outrun his feelings for the heroine; tiny ex-ballerina Amy matches him all the way. One of those symbolic moments good category authors do so well.
I finished both audio and print reads last night and can’t quite decide what to read next. I’ve got plenty of good stuff to choose from, though!