One of the conversations Diane and I engaged in via the comments following Tuesday’s post was the manner in which we each read…and especially the way in which we read the backlists of newly discovered favorite authors. Diane tends to go back and devour the backlist of a newly discovered favorite author. She coined the term “book gorging” for her approach. I am more a “book hoarder” when it comes to books by my favorite authors…either those newly discovered or those I’ve just discovered.
For me books come in a couple flavors. There are the vast majority of books which fall into the “it was enjoyable” category. It was a good book. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. But if you ask me about it next month I won’t remember the characters, the plot, the author’s name. I won’t be able to tell you what I liked about it or what I didn’t like. It was an average read. Enjoyable but not particularly memorable. These books for me would probably get 3 stars on a 5 star scale. They’re good books. They are enjoyable. But they are not particularly different…or at least not different enough to be particularly memorable.
Then there are those books which are better than that (or at least more suited to my taste). They are more memorable. They are good enough that I take notice. They make me really feel what the characters feel. They make me see the story from both the hero and heroine’s side. I may at points want to shake one or both of the characters as I watch them make mistakes that take them further from the happy ever after I want them to have. I am vested in these books. My level of enjoyment is deeper than with the 3 star “it was enjoyable” books. However, usually there is some small thing that keeps these books from being over the top. It may be a plot hole…it may be that I didn’t fully identify with the character’s motivations…or I didn’t completely forgive the character for something done early in the story…or maybe I didn’t completely feel satisfied by the ending. There was some small thing that kept the book from being one which I closed with a feeling of complete satisfaction. I typically remember these books longer than I remember the 3 star books. But often what I remember isn’t all the things that I liked but instead the one or two things I didn’t like. These books would get 4 out of 5 stars on my scale.
Then there are those very few books…by a very limited number of authors which just resonate with me on a deeper level. Oddly these books are not always perfect. There are times when I think the hero too controlling…when I disagree with his actions…or when I don’t think the ending fully resolved all of the conflicts. But always with these books there is something that overpowers all the negative things I might have noticed about the book. There is something stronger…something more memorable than the things I didn’t like… Most of the time it is the depth to which I believe in the characters. Occasionally it is the way in which the story is told…it is the way in which the heroine overcomes her trust issues…or it is the way the hero comes to understand (deeply) why she doesn’t trust…which puts a different spin on it. These authors resonate with me more because they don’t just tell a great story…they tell a deeper story…they strip away the levels of their characters so that (like them or hate them) I see them deeply. I understand how and why they tick as they do. These stories are memorable. I can tell you years later what I like about these books and these authors.
Authors who get into 5 star territory for me deliver something difficult to describe…difficult to quantify…and it isn’t usually the same thing for every author. For this reason reading a Sarah McCarty book isn’t the same as reading a Maya Banks book or a Christine Anderson. These authors are all on my top favorite list…but for different reasons. Each of these authors delivers something different…and when I read them I am looking for that one special thing that sets them apart from other authors…even those who write in similar genre. For that reason I tend to horde my favorite 5 star authors…perhaps because their books aren’t interchangeable with another author’s books no matter how much I might like that other author.
I do sometimes gorge on books reading them one right after the other but I don’t gorge on my top favorite authors. I BUY the whole backlist…I have it ready and waiting on my Kindle, or in my audio library or on my paperback shelves. But by and large I dole those books out slowly…savoring them like a fine delicacy…a treat.
What about you…do you gorge on books? Which ones? Why do you think you gorge on books – or don’t?
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