Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Am I Still A Reader?

When is a slump not a slump?

When I first started reading romance I couldn't really afford to buy many but I did borrow from the library. I seem to recall easily reading three books in a week. Now I didn't do that during school because I knew myself enough to know I would pick reading a romance over reading my history text book and I already had enough procrastination issues.

So I remember my summers off from university as very much romance reading packed. I used to get annoyed because I would have to go in to work and all I wanted to do was sit and finish my book. I remember laying on my bed for hours and reading well into the night - Hey! Does that mean I can blame romance books for my nocturnal ways? Nah. That's pushing it. - I didn't know I was a slow reader at the time, I thought every one took a good eight hours to finish a typical book.

The Kinsales that I read back then nearly did me in time wise!

Then I got out of university, and landed my first full-time job which turned out to be a nightmare of epic proportions. During this nightmare I met and fell in love with Bob. Why he fell in love with a weepy mess of a woman I'll never know but I'm grateful! I cried all the way into work and all the way home and reading time? Forget it. I barely had time to eat with Bob before I had to go home and crawl into bed so I could get up at 5:45 in the morning.

Every spare minute of my weekends were spent with Bob. I'm not sure if I told you guys this but my parents refused to meet him the entire first year we dated. Bob was still married although he and Sue had filed for divorce, he was 12 years my senior and my boss (for a time). My mother said it was her Catholic nature that wouldn't allow him to come into her house (I don't know, something about divorce). Amazingly I hadn't seen anything Catholic about her in my 23 years but okay. So basically, I woke up, showered and left the house and didn't come home until I was ready for bed.

Also, not so much time to read when you are being courted ;)

Finally a year and a half after meeting we got married and we started our life together.

Anyone who tells you the first year of marriage is bliss is LYING!!

Having never slept in the same bed as someone else, I was shocked to find this very big heat sink rolling over every ten minutes onto what should have been my side of the bed. I barely slept for the first three months of marriage and no, it wasn't for a good reason! Then there was the worry that I wasn't a good wife. Luckily I outgrew that. Poor Bob.

Anyways, I hadn't read a romance in about 2 years when I finally found time to pick up a book again. I didn't have as much time to read as I did when on summer break but I probably read a book a week in between work and home. I think also, I am more mobile than when I was younger. Bob and I like to get out and go shopping and sometimes we go out for an hour, come home for an hour and then out for another 3 hours and then home.

Then the panic attacks got out of control and I couldn't sit still because I was always thinking that I should be forcing myself out of the house. That was three years of whoop-de-doo and I only read auto buy authors during that time. I had also discovered AAR and if a book got lots of buzz I would pick it up usually to a good result. Still, maybe a book every three weeks.

Then the slump hit and I'm pretty sure I didn't read anything except Anne Stuart and Suzanne Brockmann, oh, LKH and Janet Evanovich for two years. Nobody else. So Stuart and Brockmann maybe have 4 books released in a year, and LKH and Evanovich had one each about? So 6 books in a year. Yikes.

So how is it, 18 years after reading my first romance book I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to call myself an avid reader anymore?

I'm definitely above 6 books a year so it's not like I'm at my worst. (In all honesty, I'm glad that I had someplace like AAR to go to because it was there that I found out there were such things as slumps. I mean, if I hadn't had a word to put to what was happening I'm not sure I would have done well)

I think part of my problem is I go to the 16' romance section and while browsing the books I'm thinking 'have it, read it, read her and ain't going there again, never heard of her, really bad grade at AAR, I know the name but was the book panned or recommended by bloggers?'

I definitely have a 'been there, done that' kind of feeling when I go to the bookstore nowadays. Nothing like when I first started reading and the bookstore had maybe a 4' section of romance books. Every book was shiny and new and a potentially great book. Now I have had my share of 'meh' books and 'crap, I really wish the author hadn't done that' books and then there are the authors who decided to move on.

Maybe I've become jaded. Maybe it's a world of too many options.

How can I walk into a bookstore with the biggest selection of romances available and find nothing new that peaks my interest? Why am I not making the time to sit and read instead of plunking myself in front of the TV to watch the latest and greatest? Course, I'm having a hard time sitting still for any length of time lately so half hour shows on the DVR keep me amused for a length of time before I have to pop up and do something my brain won't stop going on about.

On that note, I have been renting movies and then not watching them which is not like me either.


I don't know. I thought maybe my readership card needed to be revoked but maybe something else is going on. Let's hope I figure this out so I can sit and read like the book lover I truly believe I am! I mean, if I'm not a romance reader, then what the hell am I?


nath said...

hey Cindy :D

I'd say your still a reader for sure, or at least, you have a reader's soul :D and I kind of know what you're going through... i think it's just a phase and that some day, hopefully soon, you'll just start again.

Bookwormom said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I haven't finished a romance in ages. My romance TBR is huge, but I look at all of them & think, "UCK. Not interested." Wander the romance shelves in the bookstore & nothing appeals.

So what've I done instead? Rushed off to the library & borrowed lots of SFF or YA. I'm reading those, but the romances are temporarily abandoned. Maybe.

Rosie said...

You know I think our perspectives get a bit warped when we read several books in a week (no matter what the genre). When we return to a normal reading cycle we have a tendency to think something is wrong.

I think the breaks are good. It gives us a fresh perspective when we get back to a book.

So, yeah, you are still a reader. Or is it, once a reader, always a reader? :)

CindyS said...

Phew! Thanks guys - I was thinking I was going to be asked to leave Bloggerdom ;) It's just been a real weird few weeks for sure! (and before that, months) Right now, I have on book I want to buy until May which makes me think I'm crazy again ;)

Nath - a reader's soul - thank you! That makes so much more sense - you can't lose it once you've found it. Phew!

Bookwormom - LOL I have been coming to your blog and thinking 'wow, we read like polar opposites!'. I'm sorry you're feeling the same way but I'm also grateful to know I'm not out here on the fringe of romance reading on my own ;) I'm looking at my TBR pile and thinking - okay the print is way too small so I really don't have time for that, why did I even buy this?, and then I get overwhelmed. Bob thinks it's weird that I haven't been spending time in my nicely built book room - I told him I could see being in there in the spring when I can open the window *fingers crossed*

Rosie - I'll take it! I think I have to come to grips with the fact that as a young adult I didn't have a car so I didn't really go anywhere unless I was heading to school so I had lots of time to sit and read. Nowadays I have groceries, birthday gifts, every day stuff that takes me out of the house every day. I have to adjust my brain to realizing that it is completely normal and that if I had had kids, I probably wouldn't even know what a book looked like!


jmc said...

I don't think your reader carder should be revoked! I think we all go through slumps and phases, and sooner or later (I hope not too much later!), maybe you'll pick up a romance novel that sucks you in again. Or a mystery or fantasy or some other genre.

ReneeW said...

No way are we letting you out of bloggerdom. I love your blog too much. I go through slumps and just wait till I'm bored then go browsing through my stacks of books, reading the blurbs till something strikes my fancy. I sure that book room will call to you when the weather gets better (sun always cheers me up and makes me want to read). Give it time... your reader's soul is just napping.

CindyS said...

JMC - I may have found my way out ;) I picked up the latest Singh and I'm about to be sucked it - if only it wasn't Bobby week (yes, Bob and I are children who don't have birthdays, we have birthday weeks - means my life is about to get hectic!)

Renee - you are too good to me! Hopefully the funk will lift - I think the room I spend the most time in is slowly killing me with it's ugliness - Bob has promised it's the first on the list to get redone once he's done renovating at the other house. Stupid other house ;)


ag said...

hey Cindy,

I'm with Rosie. Once a reader, always a reader. Speaking of phases, I just went through phase last week when I couldn't wait to finish at work so I could read. And I've been staying up late almost every night for the last 10 days just to finish up the books.

I'm giving myself a break tonight because I think I'm going to burn out and decline into a slump. It does happen, and I think you'll snap out of it once something comes along to pull you out of it.

Oh, and I've got Singh as well :))