Aspens at Grand Mesa, Colorado, Sept. 2014
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, right?
But for this avid reader and intrepid book reviewer, the “stepping away for a little while” got a bit lengthier than planned.
A combination of factors is usually the culprit – simple burnout, outside distractions, and so forth.
But this time around, it’s been harder than normal to get back in the book recommending groove despite my best intentions.
Y’all know that I try hard to choose books outside the big bestsellers and copycat stuff for BooksYALove. But sometimes, things just don’t go the way I expect.
Like when… a book gets noticed by the big wide world before I can craft just the right no-spoilers booktalk to post = Revolution by Deborah Wiles, a compelling novel about young people in Jim Crow days during the summer of Voting Rights activists coming to Mississippi.
Darned if those National Book Award folks wouldn’t wait till I’d finished writing my recommendation before they announced it as a 2014 finalist! So I won’t write here about Revolution, but will urge you to read it along with Deborah’s post on NerdyBookClub talking about how some vital things have hardly changed in Greenwood since that pivotal summer of 1964. (Luckily, I already raved here about John Corey Whaley’s Noggin which is also a finalist)
Like when… books that sounded so good, so interesting, and so worth reading turn out to be flops. I have very wide-ranging reading tastes and am very selective about requesting review copies, so I can almost always think of someone I know who would love such-and-such book (not every book is for every reader, of course).
But a few titles in a row lately have just been flat-out duds, due to writing that needed stronger editing (no, that girl isn’t poignantly introspective; she’s a whiner) or pop references which are already dated. If I knew who’d written the jacket-flap copy on some others, I’d give them a piece of my mind as the book in my hands bore no resemblance to their description of plot, motivation, etc. Yep, I finally have some DidNotFinish titles, despite my best efforts to choose ones worth our time to read.
Like when… I just can’t turn the page because I know that a character I’ve become emotionally invested in is about to do something incredibly stupid – it’s like watching a train wreck about to happen. A couple of books are waiting on me to be ready for the inevitable outcome – great books, but I’m not yet ready to uncover my eyes and let those characters go and live with their bad decisions. I will, and y’all will get the recommendations of these books, but not right this minute.
Like when… I couldn’t get to KidLitCon blogger conference this year, so I missed my current and new Kidlitosphere friends, all the great discussions about Diversity in YAlit and Kidlit, and the refreshed attitude toward blogging that this gathering always gives me.
Like when… we really are on vacation – watching the aspens turn golden or discovering an orchard stand with heirloom apple varieties is more important than jumping into someone’s fictional world.
So… a little breather, some homemade apple pie, some visits with family and I’ll be back. My To-Be-Reviewed pile has some dandy books which will be published in winter and spring, and you won’t want to miss them!