On disappointments

The potential for us bookish types to be disappointed is great. We hand the reins of our spare time to a bunch of authors that owe us, on a personal, individual level, nothing. Sure, at the reading community level, they care that their books are enjoyed, liked, respected, loved etc., but on an individual level, Peter Carey isn’t thinking about my likes and dislikes when he’s bashing out his next work. He doesn’t really care that I have a penchant for multiple narratives and I hate inconclusive endings – his stories are exactly that, his stories.

Knowledge of this indifference to my feelings doesn’t mean I don’t place enormous amounts of pressure on authors to entertain and delight me – quite the opposite in fact. Pretty much every spare second I have is devoted to reading, and if I am not enraptured and enthralled by the words in front of me, well, hell knows no fury like a blogger bored.

I feel like this year has thrown up some pretty big disappointments already, and it’s gotten me worried that by putting so much pressure on books, I’m getting harder to please. Is this my reading future – one disappointment stacking up after another? That’s kinda depressing. Even books I was convinced would ring all of my bells have left me cold (I’m looking at you Neel Mukerhjee and Helen Oyeyemi). I’ve got a Peter Carey book on my shelf just waiting to be devoured, but I’m terrified that if I don’t like it I may have to give up reading altogether.

I jest of course – give up reading? Hell no. But you know what I mean (don’t you)?

Anyway, I was writing all this about a week ago and in the interim I have read Geraldine Brook’s new book The Secret Chord, and thankfully she hasn’t let me down. It’s another wonderfully researched, detailed and beautiful book – so maybe I should despair of Carey just yet.

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