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My Reading Neurosis


In looking over AAR’s Annual Reader poll results, I was struck with the fact that I still have not read Meredith Duran’s Written on Her Skin.   This is remarkable to me because I loved Bound by Her Touch and it is my book of the year 2009.   But there is something so perfect for me about Bound by Her Touch that I am afraid to read anything else by Duran.   I think I’m afraid nothing can live up to Bound.

I fully recognize that this is some kind of crazy.   Even if I did read Written on Her Skin and it didn’t live up to my expectations, it wouldn’t diminish my previous reading experience. I only think it will.   Yet, there is some mental block that I can’t seem to surmount.

I want to read it.   I see it in my ebook reader and just…skip over it.   I’m not always this way.   When I read Michelle Reid’s The Brazilian’s Blackmailed Bride in HP collection, I immediately ran to Fictionwise and bought all her electronic backlist titles.   I’ve gone the extra effort to buy used paper copies of the titles that have not been digitized.   I did the same thing for Susan Napier.   And I’ve read them.   And some of those books by Napier and Reid, I’ve read over and over again.

When I read Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation and found that she had written other books (they were Silhouette Desires), I ran to buy those. I am a confirmed glommer – I buy backlists of authors whose voice I really love.   Yet for some reason, I cannot bring myself to read Written.

I have other reading neurosis.   For example, in non romance series, I start getting very nervous when a couple is in a happy spot.   I’m certain that something bad is going to happen to them and it makes me afraid to read the final book.    Like in Julia Spencer’s Fleming series, Russ and Clare are kind of in a good place in their lives and I’m anxious about the future of their relationship.   I call this the Karin Slaughter Syndrome. (It used to be the Charlaine Harris syndrome, but what Slaughter does in her Grant County series far exceeds what happened in the Roe Teagarden series).

I’m interested in the final book in the Catching Fire trilogy by Suzanne Collins but I’m a Gale/Katniss shipper and if it ends up with Katniss & Peeta, I think I would be disappointed.   I call this the Megan McAfferty syndrome.    I suppose my  illness is the Stephenie Meyer Syndrome which is the name for the feelings you get when you read subsequent books in a series which get progressively worse and make you regret having read the first one.   I’ve read enough reviews of  Written to know that it’s not going to end up in a Twilight induced nightmare with spine shattering pregnancies but knowing is different than  knowing. Or something.

These syndromes are all variations on the same thing.     I’ve committed to the author’s creations and her creative decisions make me regret reading those books.   It’s a trust thing.   I think that is why I enjoy reading romance.   There’s a certain sense of freedom, as a reader, to really lose yourself in the text because you know that the author isn’t totally trying to break you or if she is, you’ll be put back together by the end.

I’ve read about other reading paraylsis.   Some readers have commented when a book gets too much hype, it turns the reader off from the book altogether.      Does anyone else get this way about books? What causes your paralysis?    Or I am just really, really strange?   Because that could be the answer.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kim
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 04:57:23

    My shelves are filled with the backlist of authors I discovered after they had published several books. My goal is to read my very large TBR during our three-year overseas tour (at which time I will be three years behind the current buzz books).

    And yes, too much buzz has turned me off a book. This weekend, I tried to read a historical that almost every reviewer has praised. I found myself spending more time looking for the “buzzworthy” banter rather than reading the book itself.

    I take lists like the AAR Annual Readers’ poll with a grain of salt. I like what I like and I’m OK with that!

  2. kurzon
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 06:34:38

    I don’t think I’ve not read a book because I liked a previous book by that author too much. I’ve definitely stopped reading books by authors because of things that happen in previous books, though.

    I went back and read the post re Karin Slaughter which you linked (which made me very very glad I’d stopped reading that series three or four books in). Slaughter, like Cornwell, is an author who is just too brutal for me. Cornwell, especially, almost reached the point of psychopath porn, and I just won’t read it. Slaughter I stopped reading because I liked Lena, and it was obvious that she was only going to be hit again and again and never be cut a break. [And I’m sorry to see from the comments on the Slaughter thread that a large proportion of readers simply seem to hate her as a result.]

    My introduction to Elizabeth George was “Playing for the Ashes”. I was never so emotionally devastated, or left feeling so bleak as the end of that novel. I avoided other George books for a long time after that, but came to love Havers after picking up the series. In contrast, the death of a major character more recently didn’t make me hate the series, and I enjoyed the next Lynley story.

    Probably the first main character death I encountered in a series I loved was in the Sigrid Harald novels by Margaret Maron. I was so sad for Sigrid, and yet, because her lover was a much older man, it did not devastate me totally. I dearly wish she’d go back and let us know if Sigrid ever found anyone else, though since the Dwight/Deborah relationship in her Bootlegger’s Daughter series is one of my favourite romances ever, I guess I can live with more books from that series. :D

  3. ms bookjunkie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 07:11:40

    For my auto-buy authors, I don’t want to know anything about the new book. (Except when it’s released. Duh.) I’ve had bad experiences where I’ve read the excerpt at the end of the previous book and had months before the next book was released to build up the story in my imagination…and then had a huge disappointment as I read the book when it finally came out. It’s not that the book was bad, no, it’s just that it was nothing like what I expected it to be. Nothing like I built up in my mind. Nothing like the story I imagined. I have only been able to really enjoy the book when I reread it weeks or months later.

    I also have a weird dislike for the books in my TBR pile. I mean, these are all books that at one time or another have been reviewed, recommended, mentioned etc. somewhere, and I have reacted in a OMG-must-read or hmm-that-sounds-interesting way and have ended up ordering it. By the time my purchase arrives (at least a week later so the enthusiasm I had for has faded), if I don’t read it immediately (in which case there is no problem), the book gets put in the TBR pile. The longer it sits in the pile, the less I feel like reading it, and the more it seems a chore than a joy. The more the pile grows, the more anxious and paranoid I get. My conscience nags me about the money I’ve spent on books I’m not reading. The more I have to choose from, the harder it is to make a choice. Rereading seems easier than picking a new read…and so the paralysis builds… (Seriously, last Friday I had to resort to picking six books out of the larger pile, opening one of the books randomly to page 225, counting together 2+2+5=9, then counting down the small pile of books to number nine, and just diving into the book. Happily, it worked! (And I zoomed into the next one as soon as I finished the first.) But, but…seriously! Ridiculous, much?) And the internet is no help, sucking up my reading time with all its distractions… How long have I been writing this comment?

  4. Jennie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 07:19:15

    You. are. not. alone.

    Besides also being a compulsive backlist buyer (and a fellow victim of the Stephanie Meyer Syndrome), I also have certain books that I will feel an urge to buy even if I already have a copy. Sometimes I give in to this urge (especially when it comes out with an amazing new cover…). I have odd rituals with my TBR books (for example, I have to make it “fair” for the genres, so I try to shift genres between books).

    I also moved over a thousand books across the Atlantic. Thirty-one boxes, twenty-nine full of books. What? I don’t own that many clothes!

  5. Jorrie Spencer
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 07:34:10

    I love this:
    I think that is why I enjoy reading romance. There's a certain sense of freedom, as a reader, to really lose yourself in the text because you know that the author isn't totally trying to break you or if she is, you'll be put back together by the end.

    I also have Bound By Her Touch at the top of my tbr pile. I loved her previous book, Duke of Shadows, so I don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to get to this one, and in fact, there might be some of the same thing going on.

  6. DS
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 07:34:34

    I have a hard time reading the last book in a series that I have really loved. I bought the last of the Lymond books brand new when it was released and carried it around for at least five years before I read it. It’s not that I am afraid the book won’t live up to expectations, I think it’s just hating to let go the characters I’ve had such a great time with.

    But then I also love reading (and watching) British crime stories where horrible things happen and the lead characters all start out with dreadful personal lives. Somehow US serial killer novels never seem to hit the same spot– except Tammi Hoag on a good day.

  7. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 07:49:15

    You haven’t read WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN? I’m pretty sure DA is one of the reasons I’d ended up picking the book up-that, and I’d met Meredith at Nationals and had a lot of fun talking to her. I loved the book-don’t usually like historicals much, but I loved it.

    I do have some reading neuroses, though-especially if a series is winding down. I’m reluctant to read the final few books because I don’t want it to end. I think that’s my big one.

  8. joanne
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 08:03:10

    I did have a sort of paralysis –or abundance of riches– which made me realize that I had to eliminate the TBR pile from my life. Just the size and scope of it was too daunting and was taking much of the pleasure out of my reading time.

    Now I have a TBB list and I read them -or attempt to read them– within a week of getting the books. I’ve also learned when buying books that for me there is a huge difference in ‘this sounds interesting’ and ‘this is interesting’.

    I know the storylines that work for me and I now have to make less attempts at a three pointer for the DNFs.

    And OT but on topic (?) Ms Duran has Wicked Becomes You coming in April and the excerpt on her site is delicious!

  9. Kara
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 08:12:31

    I am a serious backlist buyer. When I love an author…then it is on with buying their backlist.

    I get nervous too in a non-romance series…wondering if things are going to end the way I want them too. I stopped reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series when I found out from other bloggers that Anita started sleeping around with everyone…just wasn’t the same Anita as she first portrayed her to be.

    You are right…it is a trust issue with me. I was so emotionally involved in one book…the writing had drawn me in, the characters had me pulling for them…I was totally into the book. Then right in the middle the one main character had an affair…just like that…broke my heart. Now in the end things worked out…but that affair ruined my feelings for that particular character.

    Hype tends to make me wary of reading a book…I’m afraid I might not feel the same way and then think there is something wrong with me…LOL. I try to stay away from the hype but it is hard when every blogger is blogging about the same book!!

    Great post…glad to know I am not the only one out there that gets this paralysis!!!

  10. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 08:32:28

    Yes! I’m way behind on Duran, although I loved her debut. I’ve only read two Sherry Thomas books, the first of which prompted me to write a squeeing fan letter (I never do that). The second in Pamela Clare’s suspense series made my top ten of 2008, but I haven’t picked up others (very excited about Naked Edge though!!).

  11. Polly
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 09:47:30

    I have a slightly different version of the neurosis: I will often choose not to look up an author’s blog etc because if I find that I don’t like the author as presented there, it can color my view of their books, even books I read long ago. This is especially true for authors I loved when I was a teenager–somehow, discovering just how normal and human my favorite authors from ten or fifteen years ago are has been a letdown, even while I know, intellectually, that of course they’re normal people. I idolized and thought about some of those books sooo much, and I relished the little snippets of bio information at the back of the books (I was pretty geeky, and my quota of teenage obsession pretty much went to books rather than movie stars or music). The worst is when I discover now that they’re weird and quirky in ways that I would have loved ten or fifteen years ago, but now push all my pet peeve buttons. The more emotional my involvement with a book is, almost always, the less I want to know about the author outside of the context of that book.

  12. Karenmc
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 10:03:01

    I’ve never not read an author’s next book because I was afraid it would fail to live up to the previous one, but I sometimes put off a book because I want to savor the anticipation. I’ve been in a tiny reading slump the last couple of weeks, so I was glad to have a few excellent options in the TBR pile yesterday.

  13. Elyssa Papa
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 10:32:37

    Jane, you are so speaking my language. I think it’s pretty much a given that Katniss/Gale are ending up together; I’m more afraid that she’s going to have Peeta be a martyr and end up killed. I do not trust Mockingjay to have all the leads survived at the end.

    And, I loved Jo Goodman’s Never Love a Lawman so much that I went out and bought most of her backlist. Have I read them yet? No. I think I have it in my head, like you, that the other books won’t live up to NLAL.

    I totally want to read Julia Spencer-Fleming, partially because they take place in the area I live and because I hear such great things, but the tricky spots for the couple worry me and hold me back.

    So, yeah, I totally get this.

  14. katiebabs
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 10:40:06

    I mainly picked up The Hunger Games book because of the hype and so glad I did because Collins’ writing is superb. I am a total Team Peeta girl all the way and very interested in seeing how things end for Katniss who is one of the best YA heroines I ever read and if she and Bella from Twilight ever met up, Katniss would kick her vampire butt like you wouldn’t believe.

    But then I won’t read JK Rowling of Harris’ Snookie series, mainly because there are way too many books in the series for me to start reading now.

    Written on Your Skin is a beautiful book. Meredith’s words are poetry to me.

  15. Michelle
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 11:11:30

    I completely understand. Megan Whalen Turner’s latest is due out in March-A Conspiracy of Kings. Part of me is anxious because to me King of Attolia was such a perfect book, I just don’t see how she can top it. But I need to have faith and just enjoy it, and not stress about it.

    I think sometimes all the hype can hurt a book. After being built up there can be a let down.

    Also I sometimes hate to see a series end. I devoured Patricia Wrede’s Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (fantastic book- imagine a regency romance with magic). I have had the 3rd book unread on my shelf for the past couple of years-just can’t bring myself to start it.

    Another thing I have been doing on the fantasy scene is holding off on starting a series until it is complete. Haven’t started A Game of Thrones yet despite all the great reviews.

    I regret following certain author’s blogs. I can’t enjoy Naomi Novik as well after reading some of her postings.

  16. Kim
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 11:33:55

    For Jennie and her 29 boxes of books – what a great tribute that you enjoy books so much that you are willing to take overseas, knowing you will have less space in a European house than an American house. That being said, have you discovered Polish Pottery yet? Beautiful; durable; fun to collect; and fun to shop in Poland. But is heavy and you’ll have to decide what is more important as you try to make weight for your return move back to CONUS – books or pottery?!?! It’s a hard decision.

    I put my keepers (and husband’s military history books) in storage to save space and avoid temptation of re-reading favorites when I have such a large TBR pile.

    Email me if you want to talk Europe; I’ve lived in Germany and Netherlands, both times working for NATO: [email protected].

  17. Naomi
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 11:35:40

    My neurosis is a bit different– I won’t reread certain books because they were so wonderful, so amazing, I’d hate it if they didn’t stand up after time. I read Mark Halprin’s ‘Winter’s Tale when it first came out, reread it at least 4 times, thrust it upon all my friends, and then put it on my keeper shelf. And left it there, for 15 years or so now.

  18. willaful
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 12:08:10

    I have the same problem. Took me forever to start Fragile Eternity and I suspect it will take me forever to get through it. Not because I fear it’ll be bad, but because I know terrible things will happen. And I’m afraid it will spoil Wicked Lovely for me. I don’t think this happens with books that are entertaining in a light way; you don’t have to worry about how strongly they’ll affect you.

  19. Missy Ann
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 13:01:21

    Nice to know I’m not the only *crazy* one. My crazy is a little bit different than yours.

    I’ve had Echo In The Bone sitting on the shelf for months. I can’t bring myself to start it. Why? Because once I start it, it will end. I did the same thing with the last two books of Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series. There I knew it was the end of the series, and I didn’t want it to end! (I bought the last books the week they released, and Echo was a gift to me 2 weeks after it released.)

    I know Echo isn’t the last book, but I love that series so much I can’t bring myself to even start Echo because I know it’ll be what two years before I get the next?!

    Crazy, that’s me.

  20. Janine
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 13:02:03

    It’s happened to me too, not with romances, but with the author of my favorite literary novel, A.S. Byatt. I adored Possession and read it umpteen times, and then I tried the first novella, “Morpho Eugenia” in her following book, Angels and Insects, and it was soooo disappointing, that I have been of hesitant to read one of her novels again. I have tried a couple of her short stories, though (they didn’t change my mind).

    With romance, there have been some I’ve been afraid to reread for fear that I won’t love those books the way I did the first time.

  21. Janine
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 13:04:57

    @Naomi: Winter’s Tale! That was a great book and I haven’t seen it mentioned in ages. I too used to reread it a lot and stopped, but in my case, it was more because I don’t make nearly as much time for rereading as I used to than out of superstition.

    ETA: I did, however,have a superstition about trying Helprin again after being unable to get into A Soldier of the Great War.

  22. EmmyT
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 14:09:55

    I don’t have anything new to add to the neurosis, because all the ones I’ve experienced are covered, but I’m so glad that I’m not alone in this. My husband has stopped looking at me like I’m crazy, but I love that I’m not the only one.

  23. Ivy
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 14:23:01

    I can’t read books that get a lot of hype. I never read The DaVinci Code & The Twilight Series. 2 of my boys have read the latter & 1 the first. I still have Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell staring @ me…
    When I worked in a used bookstore I met all kinds of quirks. It’s really interesting some of the ones I’ve run across & never would/will I laugh…I don’t know how much quirkier I’ll get…

  24. MaryK
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 14:29:59

    I think I'm afraid nothing can live up to … .

    Yeah, I know what you mean. Except mine is author specific but not book specific. I’ve stopped reading, but still buy, several favorite authors because I’m afraid I won’t like the newer books. Even though I’ve read and liked to varying degrees ALL of their backlists. Definitely some kind of -osis.

    I'm interested in the final book in the Catching Fire trilogy by Suzanne Collins but I'm a Gale/Katniss shipper and if it ends up with Katniss & Peeta, I think I would be disappointed.

    Yep. My solution is to not read the series at all until it’s finished and I know the resolution. Hello, Collins, Moning, and Gleason.

    These kinds of hang-ups are why I almost exclusively read Romance. I’ve just recently started tentatively feeling my way into other genres, after reading reviews by reviewers who read Romance.

  25. MaryK
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 14:35:39

    @ms bookjunkie: LOL!
    My TBR pile has some really good books in it, but . . . they’re old! I want the latest shiny and new!

    I’ll have to try your method.

  26. Melissa Blue
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 15:35:45

    My neurosis comes when there is a series or a trilogy. I always hate the last book. Always. Goodness knows I’ve been through a lot of Nora’s novels and every single “last” book I’ve hated with a passion. I know it has nothing to do with the content. The world is going to end and I’m going to have to say goodbye. What really makes me crazy is that I have to know how it all ends.

    So I do my best to avoid series or trilogies… *Karen Marie Moning has announced the release date of the last book in the Fever Series. The dread has begun.*

  27. Elizabeth
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 16:32:00

    You are in such good company!

    While I didn’t get stuck this way with Druan, I have with others. My TBR pile is huge, and I know why: I blame it all on ebooks, especially fictionwise. It is so easy to buy an author’s back list!

    I also wonder at myself when I realize that I have multiple books in a series to read, but put off reading even the next one. What am I afraid of?

    I think some of it is that I want to delay gratification: like hoarding a piece of chocolate (which I can’t manage) against a time when there is nothing sweet in the house to eat, I want to be sure I have saved some good books.

    Just how big is my TBR pile? I keep lists of the books as i buy them, and it’s well over 500, maybe close to 1000. Scary . . .

  28. Jane
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 17:37:07

    I am glad to know that I am not the only one with reading neuroses. You are all as screwed up as me. *insert evil laugh*

  29. Kaetrin
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 17:41:13

    I’m with msbookjunkie. My TBR is so daunting. When I buy these books I’m obviously wanting to read them but then, I don’t! I must have nearly 100 books in my TBR pile (both paper and electronic) and what did I do? I downloaded another 6 yesterday!!

    When I finish a book I get so stressed out about what book I’m going to read next and my TBR pile is so huge that the choice is ridiculously wide.

    I’ve tried to make myself not buy new books until I’ve whittled away my TBR pile, but then books like Jill Shalvis’ Slow Heat or Victoria Dahl’s Lead Me On are released and my good intentions are blown out of the water…

    @ Jane. I haven’t read either Bound by your Touch or Written on your Skin yet even though I have them both – I think it’s partly that I’m a bit scared that I won’t like them as much as everyone else and also that I’m waiting to be in a really “historical” mood so that I can give it my best shot.

    I think we’re all neurotic one way or another – at least we’re in good company!!!

  30. Shanna
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 17:59:12

    @Missy Ann – In addition to having to wait years between books, I was terrified to read An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon because I knew at some point she would do something terrible to her characters (she always does but tends to make up for it).

    I’ve been hit by the Stephanie Meyer syndrome as well but I keep torturing myself by reading on in a series hoping it will go back to being good. This is the exact reason why I’m still reading LKH’s Anita Blake books but at least I don’t pay good money for them. Thank God for review copies.

  31. Sherry Thomas
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 18:56:17

    But how can you know it won’t live up to Bound by Your Touch unless you’ve tried it? Meredith is not a one book wonder. :-)

    I say damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

    I don’t finish the majority of Laura Kinsale books I take on, but that doesn’t stop me from reading every one of them in the hope of finding another one that will leave a kiss mark on my soul.

  32. JessW
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 20:00:15

    Like some of the other commenters, I usually hold back reading a book by a favorite author, not from possible disappointment, but so I can savor the experience — “saving the best for last” kind of thinking — especially if there is no next book out yet.
    Funny, I have Written on your Skin waiting in my TBR pile since I loved Bound by Your Touch. Glad to know I can read it soon since Duran has a new one coming out in April.
    For Elyssa Pappa, you can’t go wrong with any of Goodman’s recent historicals, back through the Compass club series. I know I can expect a meaty read, with emotion and development of the relationship of the featured couple. still trying to work my way through the Dennehy sisters series.

  33. hapalochlaena
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 20:13:07

    I’m a compulsive backlist buyer. If a book by an unknown author is recommended enough I’ll give it a try. (A free book or a healthy rebate may influence my decision, but it never escapes me that committing to reading it involves making a substantial investment timewise.) If I like the book enough I’ll buy the entire backlist in one fell swoop. Within the past year: Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews, JD Robb, Nalini Singh, Jennifer Rardin.

    I’m also a book hoarder. It’s almost impossible to get a book out of my greedy clutches, even if I haven’t read it for over a decade. That’s why I don’t lend books, and that’s why it really hurts to have to dispose of anything from my library in advance of a big move.

    (Insert obligatory “and that’s why ebooks are best!” comment here)

    I’m lucky enough to have avoided the Stephenie Meyer syndrome — there is always a point at which I *will* stop reading an author whose work I’ve come to hate. LKH fell by the wayside at book 8, and Cornwell at the first Scarpetta third-person novel.

  34. EC Sheedy
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 00:50:48

    @ms bookjunkie:

    I thought I was the only weird person who bought books and then–for whatever reason–had no desire to read them a week or two later. What really hurts is when I do a purge of my bookshelves and give them–new!–to my local thrift store. Talk about guilt!

  35. DeeCee
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 01:24:34

    It takes me forever to get into a new book if I’ve just devoured a series. I read the Moning’s Highlander and Fever series’ back to back last year, and after I was done it took me almost 2 months to pick up a new book simply because I was afraid to be disappointed.

    And as sad as it is to admit (I felt so betrayed by the Slaughter debacle) but I went out and bought Undone hoping that it had been a bad dream (which was cleared up as soon as Sara says she’s slept with someone else…)I slammed the book shut and filed it away but can’t bring myself to get rid of it because I loved Sara and Jeffrey so much.

    But I think my biggest problem is that I won’t start a series (if I can help it) if it has an extensive backlist until I’ve bought every one of them. I rushed out to buy Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series after loving Good Omens (with Gaiman), but here I am 2 years later with 20+ books on my TBR that I haven’t touched.

    @ Polly
    I’ve been ruined on several of my previously loved authors specifically because of their actions on their blogs or message boards. And I find that the more fangirls are on said boards and blogs, the less I buy the author’s books.

    @ Willaful
    I discovered Marr after Ink Exchange, and devoured IE and WL back to back in 2 days. Then I pre-ordered FE and haven’t touched it. Knowing that series is going to have 6 books with major cliffhangers has put that series on hold for me too.

    @ ms bookjunkie

    “I also have a weird dislike for the books in my TBR pile. By the time my purchase arrives (at least a week later so the enthusiasm I had for has faded), if I don't read it immediately (in which case there is no problem), the book gets put in the TBR pile. The longer it sits in the pile, the less I feel like reading it, and the more it seems a chore than a joy. The more the pile grows, the more anxious and paranoid I get. My conscience nags me about the money I've spent on books I'm not reading. The more I have to choose from, the harder it is to make a choice. Rereading seems easier than picking a new read…and so the paralysis builds…”

    Exactly. I’ve spent years accumulating books for my TBR…books that were recommended to me, books that got reviews or had a story I was interested in, and books I felt I should read. And it’s just overwhelming.

    I finally cracked 3 weeks ago when I had a panic attack when I tried to decide what to read next. I couldn’t handle it so I whittled down my TBR from 4,000+ books to just under 1,000.

    And I discovered through trial and error that book journaling helps me to acknowledge my book/reading habits (I have a lot of quirks, but you couldn’t tell could you?). It’s a way for me to let go of a book that I may rate a C and not feel guilty for keeping it.

  36. willaful
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 11:38:56

    I also get very paralyzed by a too big TBR, and am very familiar with that loss of interest. I think every time I mentally say “no, not now” to a book, it gets a patina of rejection, that just builds up and up. Unfortunately, I also have a Great Depression attitude that causes me to hoard books, but have been fighting it — skimming, tossing, allowing myself not to finish bad books — and I think things have improved. I’m feeling able to choose what I feel like reading more freely again.

  37. Julie M
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 12:48:12

    Like many of you I’m ridiculous about my 500+ tbr list. There are books I really wanted to read but haven’t. I have all the same neurosis many of you describe.

    Right now I am forcing myself to read a Madeline Hunter book from 2000. It languished on my tbr pile for a long time mostly because it’s a medieval. Guess What? It’s just as good as any of her more recent books. What was I waiting for? I too have Meredith Duran’s “Written On Your Skin” near the top of the tbr. I play a game with myself where I’m starting to delay buying a new book by an author until I catch up (at least a little) with any backlist I have by that author. This should encourage me to read “Written On Your Skin” before the next Duran book comes out – maybe.

    Thanks for sharing and making me feel better about my book insanity!

  38. Kalen Hughes
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 13:36:01

    I also have a weird dislike for the books in my TBR pile . . . if I don't read it immediately (in which case there is no problem), the book gets put in the TBR pile. The longer it sits in the pile, the less I feel like reading it, and the more it seems a chore than a joy.

    OMG, I thought this was just something I did! It’s got the point where I simply don’t buy books I can’t crack open immediately, cause I don’t want them to “spoil” in my TBR pile. Which is very annoying when I'm under deadline, don't have time to read anything, and there a load so books coming out that I want!

    I've promised myself I'll make it all up at the Literacy signing in Nashville . . .

  39. cecilia grant
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 15:07:50

    Read it, Jane. Read it, read it, read it.

    To be honest, I didn’t like it quite as much as Bound by Your Touch, but that’s mostly because James and Lydia resonated a bit more with my own particular quirks than Phin and Mina did. Could be the opposite for you, and either way, the writing is gorgeous.

    Oh, and the love scenes are thermonuclear-ly hot, in my opinion.

  40. Lyn
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 15:34:47

    Whew! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a huge TBR pile and an odd aversion to them. Shelves and boxes. Some have been given to me, but the majority I have purchased.

    I have this thing. I read a new author, like them, then I decide need every single book of the series, or their back list. Then 3 or 4 books into my new discovery, blam, cookie cutters, so I leave the rest. I’m sure I’ve got a lot of winners in there, but I just can’t bring myself to weed them out. Lots of new authors for me to TRY…if I’d just do it.

    I’d estimate I have at least 400 plus books. And now that I have an ereader, that list is growing as well. Reading romance blogs only adds to my TBR list/pile when new authors pop up, or someone recs a book, and the good old hype books.

    There’s a few remedies to this. (A) Enlarge the library, (B) Lend them out and not ask for them back….ever. (C) Get professional help. Surely there’s a 12 Step Romance Reading TBR support group out there somewhere. If not, there will be one in a few hours after this post. (D) Sell them. (E) Leave them alone, maybe read a few, and keep adding to it. Hey, it’s dynamic.

    I’ll keep doing (E) for now. And maybe I’ll get around to those Duran books one of these days…

  41. Kat
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 17:05:29

    I have 3 main neurosis. The 40+ books in my TBR are a constant source of stress. I can’t even imagine a bookshelf filled with unread books! I also get very nervous when I hear a series has been extended or has become “open-ended”. That has never, ever boded well for me. And finally, I’m very, very picky about erotic romance for a whole lot of reasons. So I read all the dirty bits first, then I read the story if nothing squicks me out or makes me laugh.

  42. Kaetrin
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 17:33:59

    Actually, while I think I woefully underestimated about my TBR pile, I’m feeling quite good about it at the moment – from some of the examples above, mine is quite small!!! thanks ladies!!

  43. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Today’s forecast is for sunshine and linkity
    Feb 18, 2010 @ 07:09:47

    […] are your reading neuroses? A major one of mine is getting extremely anxious about what’s going to happen to characters […]

  44. goshawdy
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 10:39:16

    I don’t get the big deal about shipping myself. I just like to read the book.

  45. =Tamar Lindsay
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 12:30:55

    DeeCee at #35: What? You haven’t read those 20 books by Terry Pratchett? Please note that they are not a series, they are books in the same universe that sometimes have some of the same characters. Each book is a standalone! They cover several genres, too. Just start anywhere, but if you want to start with a romance, try Wyrd Sisters or Guards!Guards!

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