I decided earlier this year that I really, truly need to finish the stacks of Unread Books teetering in my living area before I bring any new ones into the house. So on Sunday evening I sat down and started sorting, shuffling out "donate" from "give to a specific other" from "keep" from "not yet read". By the time I finished, the Not Yet Read pile reached almost to my hip. Which is pretty much what I expected.
But before I could start tackling those, I reasoned that I ought to finish the series I was currently rereading (Outlander). With that in mind, I went upstairs to draw a bath, and grabbed the e-reader on which I was reading The Fiery Cross. On a whim, I checked the contents to see how much further I had to go.
Six hundred pages. Six. Hundred. Pages. As in, the length of a lengthy book's worth left of pages in a book that had lately come to feel more and more like a Dreaded Assigned Reading on which I'd already been laboring on for two months.
"Nope," I said aloud, and put it back on my nightstand. "Fuck that. Fuck it. I don't care. I don't. I will just go online and read the synopses of the remaining books before I read the new one. Or maybe I won't even read the new one! Maybe I'll just read the synopsis on that one, too!"
That liberating decision made, I went downstairs and pulled a young adult novel called Troy of the top of the pile, then came back upstairs and settled into my bath. I got approximately fifteen pages in before I realized I wasn't going to like it, but in an attempt to get to the full "fair page allotment" (100 minus your current age, which means I theoretically give a book 67 pages to hook me) I kept reading. Approximately 34 pages in I confirmed that yes, the writing was continuing to be that painful, and I just Noped that paperback right across the bathroom. Once I was all dried off I placed it at the top of the "donate" stack and happily reconsidered the (one book shorter now!) Not Yet Read pile.
My mom tends to send me books when she's done with them (a contributing factor to the teetering pile- and don't take that as a complaint, because it's not!), and when I'd organized the pile I'd noticed that one of the books she sent in her most recent package was by the same author (Kristin Hannah) as a book she sent me last year. "Hmmm," I said to myself. "Two books by the same woman- that seems promising."
So thinking, I grabbed Firefly Lane, and took it up to bed with me.
Over one hundred pages later (and feeling good about the fact that I hadn't actually forgotten how to read for pleasure), I forced myself to put the book down so I could go to sleep.
I finished it the next day, and started The Winter Garden, which I finished on Tuesday. I'm glad I read Firefly Lane first, because TWG definitely starts out slower, but I already trusted the author, so I tore through it just as quickly.
The best way I can think to describe Firefly Lane is a book about believable female relationships and finding your own feminism. I found it to be very, very good, and a very satisfying read, although it does have a bit of a fairy-tale-esque ending, which I honestly didn't mind. (Some people would probably argue withe me about that last point- most people, in fact. But I have my reasons for feeling the way I do, and if you've read the book we can Discuss.)
The Winter Garden was, as I mentioned, a slower start, but once it got going- ye gods. It was... something of a devastating book, but also hopeful. It probably hit me harder than it might another reader, because it involves historical events that I was not aware of until I read the book, which means I was in no way braced for What Was Coming. I did literally cry while reading this book. Good times!
Those two books left me refreshed and with a renewed interest in reading for pleasure (I'm also currently slogging my way through a Search and Rescue textbook, and a book on Rock Climbing Anchors), so I dove back into the pile and came up with To Ride Pegasus, by Anne McCaffrey. I've read quite a bit of McCaffrey, but for some reason hadn't gotten around to this one, so I did.
It was a fun little romp back into a Very Specific Style of sci-fi (a style which I happen to enjoy very much, being reared on Heinlein and Asimov as I was) and an enjoyable exploration of People With Psychic Powers. Mostly I kept thinking about how I would adapt it for screen or comic page...
So that's another three books for the year, bringing the 2015 Book Count up to 9. And now? Back to the pile!