"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Feeling Guilty

This is a book blog and this entry is about books, although not a review or meme. It's about books we don't read and feel guilty about not reading them. I suppose I could make that a question for a future Booked by 3, but it's in my head now, so here it is, something to ponder.

I got this stuck in my mind because I've come to know (in that familiar yet not quite knowing way of the internet) many pro writers from writers message boards, mostly on AOL, but a few other places, too. For many, I'm reading their blogs. Some have been published for years, while others are newly published. And to confuse the issue, there are people I know from my fan fic days, who also wrote fan fic, who are now pro writers.

See, I get a thrill when I see books from one of these folks in a bookstore. I get the "gee, I've conversed with So-and-So online and here's their book. Wow" feeling. And in a display of support, I chose to read some of their books. I tried a couple of mystery writers from AOL's boards. Mostly, I enjoyed the books. Not among my favs, but solid writing and decent mysteries. I read the SF written by a former fan fic writer. She won an award for her first book, and while I liked it, I felt it was overwritten. When I saw her at a fan con a couple of years later, all I said was "Good book." And no, I'm not naming names here. :)

Then, more recently, I read a SF, a first published book by someone I know from message boards. It wasn't for me and I ended up skimming it just to see how it ended. This book got wonderful reviews. I haven't posted comments about the book on the message board because I can't say anything glowing about it. And while I've reviewed it here (now, everyone will scurry off to search the blog), I can't bring myself to tell him, sorry, but I thought it was dull and uninvolving. Plus, I couldn't follow the science, which I suppose, isn't his concern. Plenty of people more savvy than I am loved it.

So today, I saw the pb of a SF book, a reprint, I believe, of a hardcover that, you guessed it, was very well received and had wonderful reviews. I read this woman's blog. I think the book was the first, or maybe second of hers, to get published. I wanted to read it. I read the blurb. Okay, nothing that jumped out and grabbed me by saying You must read me! but nothing I would hate on sight. So I skimmed a bit inside, as I tend to do with new authors, to see if the writing style appealed to me (this is a good test, but not infallable; I got faked out with this for the book mentioned in the previous paragraph), and discovered that it didn't jump out at me, either. Nothing horrible about it, but it just didn't involve me. So I let it go, thinking I could change my mind (the cover is very nice), but I doubt I'll go back for it. And now I'm feeling guilty about it.

But then, I think of the 2 or 3 other books here by people I've "met" online and figure, I'm paying my dues. I try to read as many first novels and books by authors I "know." I just have to hope if I ever get published, someone will give my book a chance. Or, if not, that they don't feel guilty about it. That sucks.

So, do you have any books you feel guilty for not buying/reading?