I logged onto my Goodreads account today after a hiatus of what feels like months. As the page loaded on my laptop, my eyes flew to the part of the right hand bar labelled ‘2015 Reading Challenge’ and with dismay I read in smaller print, ‘14 books behind schedule‘.
How judgmental is that? In fairness, I asked Goodreads to help me with this challenge and the fact is, I am far behind the already amended 50 book goal for this year. I started 2015 with the idea of smashing 75 but then I realised even I, the ultimate homebody, have a life.
I don’t know how I ended up shipwrecked without a book for so long. Well, that’s not strictly accurate, I suppose. I did have a book on the go and it halted me in its tracks. Do you want to know who I’m blaming for my currently reader’s block? Sarah Waters.
I should preface this accusation with the fact she is one of my all time favourite writers. I’d never picked up a book of hers that didn’t tip me straight into whichever world she was illustrating at the time. The Little Stranger is without question one of the scariest, most gripping books I’ve ever held in my hands. In fact, they’ve all been exceptionally good… and then came The Paying Guests.
I just haven’t been able to get into it and I don’t understand. The lead up has been tedious. It’s certainly well written and everyone I know who’s read (and finished) it has told me the same thing: “Hang in there and then you won’t be able to put it down”. But when godammit?
I’ve tried so many times to pick it up, I’ve even tried listening to Juliet Stevenson read it to me on YouTube as I work and still it plods on. When will it get good?
It pains me not to finish a book, even one I’m not into, more so when people are telling me it’s brilliant. What if I miss out? What if it is the best book I’ve ever read after the first 500 (it feels like) pages? Argh.
So then I thought, maybe if I read something trashy it’ll reignite my reading fires, and make me want to reach for something great. So I bought Grey in Sainsbury’s for a few quid and it’s made the whole situation worse.
I’ve read the trilogy. I’ve seen the film. I’m not what you’d call a massive fan of either, though I don’t regret any of the time spent on it. I like to be up to date culturally but honestly, enough has got to be enough already, no? Who cares what Christian Grey thinks? Who cares how he justifies his actions to the reader? I’ll review it properly when I’ve finished but for now it’s just another book I’m not looking forward to reading at night.
I know I’ll come through this. I know the next story I read will change things and then I can get back into reviewing books and loving books that way I always have. And then maybe Goodreads can get the hell off my back for a while.