{Let’s Talk About Books} Is it you? Is it me? Is it the timing?

I don’t do a lot of bookish discussions on the blog these days, so when I felt completely inspired to write a short discussion after visiting Trish’s blog, I decided to jump at it.

Really, it’s not much of a “discussion” post, but more of some bookish thoughts …

So, Trish had a blog post about books she’d like to revisit. One of them was The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I see this book on so many lists recommending good books. I mean, it’s got to be good, right? I’ve read it, but I have no idea since I’m a forgetful person and can never remember much of a book I read last month, let alone years ago.

But is it really my memory? Did I really love the book? Did I hate it?

I’m wondering if this is one of those books that I would read today and completely fall in love with and never forget. You know those books. They tear at your heart strings and the instant you finish the last page, you want to go right back to the beginning and experience all the feelings over again. I have so many of those books in my life now and if you asked me about them, I could tell you all about them.

So what if it wasn’t just a case of me forgetting about the book, but me just not reading it at the right time?

what makes a book good

Years ago, I had high aspirations to read perfect books. I would read these books that everyone loved and I wouldn’t get them, or I’d think they were just okay, or maybe I would hate them. But part of me now thinks that it was a timing thing. Like maybe I wasn’t supposed to read that book at that time because I wouldn’t appreciate it, because I wouldn’t love it.

Can we time our reading of books? Can we go back and read a book all over again and feel the feelings we were supposed to have in the first place without an overwhelming feeling of deja vu? Could there be a reason behind why I start a book constantly and always put it down, eventually putting it back on the shelf partially read … maybe it’s my subconscious telling me that no, now is not the right time to read this book.

You’re not ready.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a little voice in your head that warned you of certain books, those books that your subconscious knows you’ll love 5 years down the road, so back away now and just leave it on the shelf before you ruin what should be an epic moment later in life?

I know I write reviews and thoughts on the blog, but part of me wishes that I’ve been documenting what I’ve been reading for the past 10 years, with a brief note next to the title saying loved it or it was okay or I didn’t get it. Then, a few years down the road, I could’ve gone back to that list with a new understanding and tried again and maybe I would’ve found that next amazing read.

Is it too late to start?

What are your thoughts on the timing of books? Do you think that there are certain books that you’ve read in the past that might have been better read later in life? Do you think you can go back to that book and have the feelings you should have had?

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17 thoughts on “{Let’s Talk About Books} Is it you? Is it me? Is it the timing?

  1. OMG THIS!

    Seriously, I tell people ALL THE TIME that sometimes the only difference between a DNF and 5 for me is timing. Also I can remember something more fondly than how I felt reading it. Vice Versa too!

    I am horrible at writing my reviews when I first finish a book. I look back sometimes and was like : WAIT, I thought I liked (or not liked) it more than that (the initial rating I gave it). Reading is far to personal and mood driven for me not to come with a walking warning label LOL

    • Ha ha … I know exactly what you mean! It’s amazing, too, how the books that hit you personally are the ones you can remember every detail for. There are books that we love, but still can’t recall sometimes, since it just didn’t resonate with something in our own life.

  2. Timing really can be everything sometimes. The best example for me would be the Harry Potter series, which I picked up in the 6th grade but couldn’t get past the first couple pages because it seemed soooo boring. Of course, once I moved out of elementary school and into middle school, for 7th grade, I happened to pick it up again and that time fell in love with the series.

    I think a lot of it may have been because I was going through a transitional time, and my friends from elementary school and I were starting to drift apart. I really didn’t have anywhere to go during lunch but the library, so re-discovering the HP series, for me, was one of the greatest comforts, and I felt that I could relate a lot to Harry.

    I still find it hard to believe I almost didn’t read that series – how could I ever have thought it boring?! But to this day, it will always remain my biggest comfort.

    • I remember a fried of mine in university was all over this series and I just never understood why. I mean, it was a kids book! But then I started reading them and totally fell in love. I remember reading the last book the instant I got it and walking around the house with it, just in case I had time to read. Microwaving something for 30 seconds? Reading time. I’m slowly revisiting that series and it’s just as awesome as it was the first time I read it. And, like you, I can’t believe I scoffed at it at first — I doubt I’d be the reader I am today if I hadn’t picked it up!

  3. I don’t pay attention to the timing of books but some do strike a cord because of what you’re going through. If I read Wide Sargasso Sea now I’d hate it, but I read it at a time of serious strife and it helped me through it.

    • So true. We had a family member in the hospital and I remember reading The Old Man and the Sea while in the waiting room … I completely hated the book, but it’s just one of those books that I’ll always remember where I was when reading. The same thing goes for music. Listening to Hole’s first album, Live Through This, brings back memories of Nova Scotia when I was 15! It’s amazing how our minds work like that …

  4. Completely agree, timing is crucial. And also that I have forgotten almost everything that I read pre-blog, which is one of the reasons I blog. I am amazed when my other half starts talking about a book he read 10 years ago with more details than I can remember from something I read last year. Clearly blogs are for people with poor memories! Another thing I wish I did more and yet keep not doing: making notes in books as I read them. I’m really not precious about my books and love the idea of finding my old notes when I re-read, but somehow I never do it. Maybe I never have clever enough thoughts!

    • I am so NOT one of those people who can recall books in great detail — even with blogging. Though, you’re right. I know that I’ve read certain books before blogging, but I have NO idea what they were about. I remember I loved certain books, but still … not a clue. I have a reading journal I hope to use next year. I don’t like writing in my books, but I’d love to really remember how I felt about a book as I was reading it. That and I think it would help me gather my thoughts more when writing reviews.

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  6. This is SOO True! I read I feel like reading a specific type of book and sometimes that can be hard when I don’t know what I want to read! Plus, if I have a lot going on in my life it’s hard for my to focus on reading. Great post! You’ve made some valid points about reading and if it’s the right time for that book.

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  9. Timing is EVERYTHING. Or lack of time, in my case, haha! But seriously, sometimes I’m in the wrong mood to read a book, or sometimes I’m too young, too old, can’t relate (yet), etc. I believe all these factors effect how I feel about a book. But lack of time also effects the experience of a book – if I’m constantly interrupted (or falling asleep!) while reading a book so that I’m only reading a page or two at a time, it really disrupts the mood of the book (for me anyway). I will purposely not read a certain book if I know I don’t have the undivided attention to give it. This is why I love flying! (Well, pre-baby that is!) I would take good care to pick books that I thought I would want to be able to read giant chunks of in one sitting on the plane.

    • I think that’s why I’m torn between wanting to read the next Outlander book and reading something else … I feel like I’d only be reading 5 pages at a time, so I’d never get anywhere! I loved reading on airplanes, too. πŸ™‚

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