Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Be careful what you wish Cathy Ace

Reading: "Do you finish every book you start? Why (not)? And how do you decide when to give up?"

I’ll be honest and just say this up front: I often don’t read for months at a time. I know, I’m a writer I SHOULD read more, but I just can’t do it when I'm writing, or even editing. Not because I'm afraid I’ll “lose my voice” and start to adopt another author’s style, it’s just that I can’t seem to cope with more than one fictional reality in my head at a time. So, there are long periods when all I read is whatever it is I need to by way of research for my own work. Judge me as you will. Personally, I miss reading, but I have tried to do it as a break from my writing and I don’t enjoy it. At all. 

That said, when I do read, I read voraciously, and there will never be enough time for me to read every book I want to. I am laughably (tragically?) behind when it comes to my To Be Read pile (mountains!) and when it comes to the books I’ve got lined up on my Kindle? Don’t get me started!

My much-loved, and somewhat overworked Kindle

However, I am thoughtful about the books I buy – you can only spend money once, apparently, so I choose to spend it wisely. I usually go to amazon and “Look Inside” the work of any new-to-me author I’m thinking of trying, and there’s enough there to let me know if the book/s are likely to be “my cup of tea”. However I might, thereafter, choose to purchase the book in question, that process helps me avoid spending money on books that are likely to disappoint. Which means there are very few books I buy that I don’t finish. Which is good, because life’s too short to spend time wading through a book I’m not enjoying…and there’s that thing about only being able to spend money once. 

One caveat is this: I know myself well enough to be aware that different types of books appeal to me at different times, due to my mood or general headspace…so there are books I just don’t feel in the mood for at any given time, whereas they might appeal on another day. So if I’ve poo-pooed the idea of an author’s work at one point, I might still go back to the “Look Inside” to give it a go again. And, to be fair, there are some authors whose work appeals to me at all times, because I enjoy their “voice” whatever mood I’m in. There are too many of them to list here, and just because I enjoy them doesn’t mean you would, so I won’t list them right now.

All in all, I try to avoid spending my pennies on books that won’t engage me when I give them the chance…but when I am engaged, I’m likely to buy an entire backlist just so I can start at the beginning and work my way through. When I can. And this summer? I have a wonderful library to chomp my way through, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

In case my voice generally appeals to you, maybe you’d like to think about pre-ordering my 9th Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE CRYSTAL SKULL, which will be launched on 29th June? Here’s a link to a spot where you can find out about all my books: CLICK HERE


Paul D. Marks said...

You make a lot of good points, Cathy. And it's interesting to see how everyone has their own method of choosing books or deciding to finish them or not. Or, as you say, a book can not appeal to you today but tomorrow it might. I've even gone back to books I didn't think I liked but something drew me back to them so I'd start reading them again and then get into them and find myself liking them. I guess the idea is to always keep an open mind.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Too true Cathy. There will never be enough time to read every book on my list either.

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Paul - yes, everyone has their own way of doing it, and good for you for going back to books that didn't initially appeal. Happy reading! Cathy

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Dietrich - if only, eh!?

Susan C Shea said...

Agree, Cathy, that different books resonate at different times. It's good to give them a second chance at capturing your interest. You're highly disciplined in your writing mode. Lately, I find I drift too much.

Cathy Ace said...

Ah, drifting...yes, Susan. Nope, can't do that in this final run-up to what is bound to be an "unusual" launch...LOL!