When you're on a one-track mission to finish a book

Friday, July 18, 2014

This week, I've mostly been MIA around here, despite my best intention not to stay away from the blog for too long because then it becomes so unbelievably hard to bounce back. (I can never decide what the perfect post is to return to bloglandia with, after a hiatus.) But I still chose to stay low this week until I finished a book (Stephen Kiernan's The Curiosity). Reading hasn't really stopped me from blogging in the past. If I got so invested in a book for a few days, I end up with a desire to come back here and see what's happening. There's always something happening, there's always some fun posts to read. But when you have a review deadline, that's almost here, and then it's already here, and pretty soon, the deadline is already behind you and you still have half a book to read, you just have to stop puttering around, stay tight in your favorite reading chair, ignore all kinds of house chores, and read the damn book.

Photo credit via Funpicc

That's what happened to me this week. It was my own fault. I knew I would not finish a 430 page book in 4 days. That has never happened before. Well, that has never happened before when the book was not a graphic book or a Harry Potter book or a good young adult dystopian novel. That definitely would never happen to me if we're talking about literary fiction, which is what The Curiosity is. It took me a week to read the book, which isn't too long, you know. Four short reading bursts in the evenings after 10 hours at work, and then a whole weekend thrown in - that's a decent timeframe to finish a literary fiction book. But my review should have gone up this past Monday, so I'm posting it a whole week later instead.

This happens to me all the time when I do a book tour. This is why I don't like doing book tours. I tell myself after each tour that I won't do another one. But then a nice looking book comes along and I have to read that. Why can't I just check the library at the same time and try to get the book from there? Or step away from my desk for 10 minutes, then come back and see if I still wanted to read that book?

I had to post this here so that the next time I think of accepting a book with a deadline, I may feel prompted to come back and read this post. The plus side of being so focused on finishing a book is that when you are finally done, it's like coming up for air. As if the finals just ended. Like seeing "The End" after watching one long mind-boggling movie. There's a big sigh of relief. And then, for the first time, you look around and start seeing things. There's a spring in your walk now, because you're not walking around with a big book anymore. You want to do all sorts of things now, before sinking into the next book - maybe some home decor, or knitting, or house projects, or some blogging, some decluttering. That's sort of what my day so far has been like - cooked something yummy for lunch, baked some snickerdoodles, did some knitting, glanced through Stephen King's On Writing, browsed online, stained our back deck, even posted on the blog. Has it been such a productive day already?



19 comments:

bermudaonion(Kathy) said...

Yeah, that's kind of why I quit doing tours. I feel like pushing myself to finish a book like that affects my enjoyment of it.

bellezza said...

It's true: the obligatory book review becomes an onerous thing! And yet, I wonder if I say no what I'll be missing...wholeheartedly commiserate with you here, friend.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I very, very rarely do tours, for this exact reason. I know myself, and I know I am prone to rebelling any time I set myself any kind of reading rules at all.

Sheila DeChantal said...

Me too. It sounds like a great idea and a great book... and you have WEEKS before it is due. And then you forget.... or procrastinate... and suddenly the date is looming and I am up until 2 am to finish :)

Ti Reed said...

Ugh. I did not like The Curiosity at all. I blew through it just to be done with it.
I have one book that I have to read for a tour an then I may take a break from tours for a little while. I am usually pretty good at choosing which ones I will like or at least appreciate but every now and then the book ends up sucking in some major way.

Vasilly said...

I feel you about book tours. It's very rare for me to sign up for them. You're excited about the book at first, then it wears off, and you're kind of stuck with it. :-(

Sam_TinyLibrary said...

I'm so bad at reading to a deadline, so I'm not participating in book tours any more. Even when it's a really good book, knowing that I HAVE to read it ruins it a bit for me.

Tea Time with Marce said...

Book Tours I decided are not for me but even review books with specific deadlines can become a strain, I get it. Glad you got through it even though its late, and I hope you enjoyed it along with the fact you did finish it. That relief at the end is a great feeling though - more so with books I didn't enjoy for review.

literaryfeline said...

I admit one of the reasons I like book tours is because of the deadline. It's so easy for review books I want/need to read to get pushed to the wayside otherwise. I'm such a mood reader that a deadline helps me stay on task. As long as I'm enjoying the book, it's not a chore. I do try to space tours out though (although September is looking bad right now--not sure how that happened) so that it doesn't interfere too much with my need to read by my mood or current interest.

Nishita said...

Ughh! I hate deadlines on reading. I avoid book tours because of this.

Athira / Aths said...

I keep saying that too, and then I go do another one anyways. Grr! I need to try harder this time not to jump on a tour. I know I cannot keep up.

Athira / Aths said...

That's exactly the problem. I know some books I may never get from the library because I have too many books to read and therefore doing the tour is probably my best option to getting that book read, but then, I don't read it on time either.

Athira / Aths said...

I admit I am the same, but I still don't bother trying to understand myself, so I jump on a tour again, then I curse myself. Then I write a post like this one, then the cycle continues.

Athira / Aths said...

Oh that weeks before it is due is the killer! If that book reached my hands instantly, I bet I would finish it right away.

Athira / Aths said...

Yeah, time changes how much you want to read a book!

Athira / Aths said...

I am hoping that I will be that resolute next time. Let's see. Most likely, I will forget all this by then.

Athira / Aths said...

I feel so thrilled when I finish a review book, most of the time for all the wrong reasons. I shouldn't even read books with deadlines.

Athira / Aths said...

Haha, I start off with a diligent review calendar, keeping only two review books in a month, and somehow a few more books get in there behind my back.

Athira / Aths said...

I usually have a good success with tour books. Because I don't generally like tours much, I only accept the ones I have a strong feeling about. Of course, a few books end up being downers, but overall my stats are good. The only problem is trying to read them a little sooner so that I can have a review on time.