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 WeWriteRomance.com 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.