NTTVBG – Series One, Book Seven (And Your Much Needed Advice)

Now if you aren’t joining in with the NTTVBG, or you are bored of it (we don’t mind either – but shame on you hee, hee) and so you might skip this post then do read down to the bottom because I am, as ever, asking for some of your advice and thoughts as strange times seem to be afoot at Savidge Reads. Before that though back to the NTTVBG…

Today is the penultimate NTTVBG. And so I would love to see you over at Kirsty of Other Stories where we are delightful Glasgow to talk about her second choice, and the latest read, ‘A Short Gentleman’ by Jon Canter which I mentioned the other day had had me in hysterics twice. I won’t say too much more as you will have to pop over there and see I had to make a little admission this morning and felt most vexed with myself in doing so too. This has been a rather different read from everything that we have touched on so far which is always interesting and I will be interesting to see how the discussion develops on this one.

Now back to my need for you advice… Savidge Reads is having issues and needs your help. It isn’t that I have gone into a book slump because I do very much want to read, and lots at the moment. However I seem to be finding everything I have read in the last couple of weeks I am a bit ambivalent about, though it’s not the books, it seems to be me. (I should add I am still finding ‘The Passage’ riveting but its so bloody big that I am finding it really hard to keep reading because I can’t commute to meetings and such like with it in my bag for fear of major back trauma.)

I did wonder if it’s because I had a week not long ago where every book I read was brilliant and I was raving about them all. I wonder if maybe with NTTVBG, Riverside Readers and Persephone Reading Week my whimsical reading has gone out the window as I have had reading commitments and deadlines with the first two and was really keen to join in with the latter and maybe that’s done a disservice to all of them? I am also noticing that because I have some gems in the TBR at the moment (the page will be going up again soon) I am getting impatient to read them all and so when I open a book I instantly want to start the next one instead? I have noticed now that twice I have gone to the TBR got so overwhelmed by the choice that I have then walked off sulkily unable to decide and so then thinking ‘stuff it’? Does anyone else get any of these problems? How do you get past them?

Maybe I should have made this a question for The Prose Practise?

And has anyone noticed it’s all gone a bit quieter in the blogosphere, or is that just me… oh dear! Ha!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Not The TV Book Group

34 responses to “NTTVBG – Series One, Book Seven (And Your Much Needed Advice)

  1. Annabel (gaskella)

    It has been a quiet week in the blogosphere… I’ve just been insanely busy, but the Bank Holiday made it a short week too.

    That feeling when you go to your TBR pile and can’t decide what to read is awful. My solution is normally to go out and buy something and read it straight away, but with your book-buying-ban that’s not possible… why watch a DVD or 2 instead perhaps to give yourself a break. Or you could do the random choice on the TBR pile – eyes shut – no cheating…

    I did find a halfway funny joke on the interweb about writing which may give some cheer …

    A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”
    A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

  2. Yeah, I get a bit like that sometimes. At the moment I have lots of books that I want to read quite badly! Also I don’t think I’m very good at having my reading choices formed by ‘external forces’ so to speak (I’d think of a better way to phrase this if I hadn’t got up at a ridiculously early hour on a Sunday). Part of the fun for me is browsing through my bookshelves for the book that should be next.

    What you call whimsical reading is a pretty big and important part of a book lover’s life! Things like book groups and reading weeks and challenges are all good fun, and can be a great way of opening you up to new kinds of books and reading choices – as can reading stuff like that on other blogs even if you’re not taking part! – or even just prompting you in certain directions you might otherwise have forgotten about… but to my mind, it’s okay once in a while to just give yourself a break and make sure you’re reading something you really want to read. Reading isn’t something that should be tied up with obligation!

    One thing I do to get myself excited about the TBR pile again is picking a couple looking at them and then googling a bit about the book and the author just to remind myself why I thought it was so awesome in the first place. Once you’re really excited and gleeful to be picking something up, there’s no stopping you.

    Incidentally, thanks for blogging about Persephone Reading Week; I’m newish to book blogging and I first found out about Persephones from you. You’re spreading the word 😀 I’ve now gone out and bought myself my first Persephone and plan to have a belated Persephone reading week, y’know, just for me. ‘Cause I’m late.

    • I think that might be part of my problem to be honest Jenny, I have too much that I really want to read and RIGHT NOW which means I get frustrated with the delights on offer whcih I really should not bemoan at all, in fact I now feel quite guilty as that makes me sound quite spoilt, oh dear!

      I had no idea that I introduced you to Persephone, oooh thats made me smile.

  3. At the moment the shelf where I keep all my TRB stuff is doing my head in LOL What I’m doing over the next couple of months is reading all the books on it with 500+ pages. For some reason these books always seem to get left on the shelf which is mad because I dont have deadlines. But anyway I figure if I get all these big books out the way I’ll feel better, plus I’ll have more space to buy more books.

    • You see books that big are just making me think, oh no thank you very muuch because I am already reading The Passage interspersed with other things so those other things have to be short but can see how reading the bigger one makes the most room lol.

  4. I’ve never quite felt blah about reading, I always enjoy but your right I often have times when I seem to look forward too much to other books rather enjoying what I’m already reading. Happened to me not long ago, I currently have a interesting mixture of books on my TBR shelf but just couldn’t decided what mood I was in. I even picked things up read a few pages and decided to pick something else up, I do hate being indecisive. I don’t have deadlines like you do which can be a blessing and a curse because I’m actually quite good with structure. I generally get over reading slumps by setting myself deadlines, as in I first think what books aren’t mine and need to be returned to library/friends/family. Once I have this smaller amount of books to choose from I find it a lot easier. And once I’m back in the flow my whimsical reading will return.

    • Its less a ‘blah’ in the sense of ‘oh do I have to read’ more a ‘blah’ as in ‘no book is quite working for me at the moment. Its very annoying when you have an eclectic mix in front of you and still nothing quite tickles your taste busds, thats most vexing. I seem to be getting back in the swing though – touch wood!

  5. Beate

    So good to see that I’m around the same sort of nutters 😉 Thought it was only crazy me who can’t decide what to read next in front of a WALL of TBR books and going out to buy something new.
    Do I need councelling ???
    ” Hi. My name is Beate and I am a book addinct.” No, seriously. Things could be far worse I guess. I just love all the recommendations and tipps from all around the world we can access so easily these days. I’ll be fifty this November can very well remember the days without internet , amazon and the likes. I had to travel to the next city to get my hands on good English books !
    Wow, those were the days !
    So, don’t you worry, Simon! Let’s just enjoy the richness of our choices. What a wonderful life we all have – replete with hundreds of books and “friends” to share our thoughts with !
    It’s you and some other bloggers who make my life brighter. Thank you for that.

    • Hahahaha we are all nutters though aren’t we?
      We may all very well need counselling too hee hee!

      And thank you for those lovely words Beate thats really kind of you indeed.

  6. It’s not just, you Simon; in fact, we had a discussion about this feeling last night after you left. I’m in such a stressed-out, vexed reading slump like you wouldn’t believe; I think I really need some Terry Pratchett or Harry Potter.

    So, I’m going to prescribe (hee, do you see what I did there?!) something I think will cure you: Nancy Mitford. I think she is your perfect comfort read, either her or Agatha Christie, and comfort reads are always my resort for the book-ambivalence ailment.

    • P.S. It has been eerily quiet… I’m actually quite relieved by that as I’ve been flat-out with Persephone Reading Week but it has been most definitely quiet elsewhere and I haven’t been commenting on anything that isn’t Persephone-related.

      • Oh dear Claire, has the mood passed, I am hoping so, I think its the weather – honestly! Theres a pressure in the air thta I think effects everyone, it needs a good old rain storm or three and we will all feel much brighter.

        I didn’t go for a Mitford or a Christie but something thats an old favourite… more on that soon.

        It has been quiet though i have just learnt that wordpress stats are up s**t creak too!

  7. As Shakespeare put it “If all the year were playing holidays / To sport would be as tedious as to work” (Henry IV Part 1). It sounds to me as though being committed to read so many books for particular groups or challenges is making reading fell less like a pleasure for you and more like a chore.

    Maybe you should put your notepad aside, stop thinking about how you might review a book, and just read for the sheer pleasure of it? Instead of writing full reviews you could simply choose to answer a few questions in a few words, such as:

    Did I enjoy this book? Yes/No/Somewhere in the middle.
    Did I admire the writing styple? Yes/No/Somewhere in the middle.
    I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed X, Y or Z.
    If I had to sum up this book in under twenty words I would say …

    As an example of the latter, I’ve finally finished ‘Wolf Hall’. It took me three weeks. If I had to sum up my feelings about it in 20 words or less, I would say:
    A fascinating exploration of how to thrive in a period of change. Brilliant dialogue. Showing the horrors of both sides.
    Actually, that’s quite neat. I think I’ll go and tweet that.

    Good luck surmounting your reading dilemma.

    • Oddly its not the reviewing thats a probem David, I don’t tend to get writers block and in fact its not readers block its just my mood, nothing is quite working for me. I think my reviewing is all good ta muchly hee hee.

      Loved Wolf Hall thats a brill book, but at the moment even that would possibly get a mediocre response. Actually i am getting a little better.

  8. I also think that things have gone a bit quiet in the blogosphere but I remember the same from this time last year. The weather is beautiful, many milestone type events this time of year, etc. Life off-line consumes us and that of course is a very good thing. But I also agree with you about too many bookish commitments. We all start the new year so gung-ho for the challenges, the book groups and all and then by spring, we feel a little fried. Back to whimsy, my friend, back to whimsy. Happy reading!

    • The weather might well be beautiful where you are Frances… its a bit interchangeable here but never quite nice lol.

      I did start the New Year rather gung ho and raring togo and am having a second quarter fizzling out.

  9. It’s not just you, I’ve noticed the quiet. Like Frances said, it must be because it is spring, and personally I’ve been insanely busy because school is about to wrap-up. I know I’m not alone in feeling all that stress. I go into reading funks when I am distracted by real-life issues. Nothing pleases me when I get like this. What would I recommend? Read Let the Great World Spin. It about blew my head off.

    You made me laugh with your comment about The Passage being so bloody big. I am going to listen to this one on audio. I find it much easier to get through the biggies when I’m listening.

  10. I’m bad at letting myself get in a rut. I’ll feel the way you’ve described and buy a new book to combat it because in buying a new book I’ve a book I haven’t been able to ponder over reading. But if still finishing a previous book that new one gets added to the TBR pile and becomes just like them. So then I feel I should buy another book…

    So now I just pick one of that many I want to read as much as others and tell myself I can only read those others if I read this one. I think my enthusiasm suffers but the only other way around it is to put all reading aside, and then I’d get nowhere.

    In regards to book bloggers, I’ve noticed quite a few in my reader who I haven’t seen a post from in a while. I’m thinking summer and days to be spent outside.

    • Hahaha you arent the first person to say that the best way to combat this is by buying a new book but some of us have banned themselves from buying new books and so must now suffer the consequences, or simply go to the library lol!

      Summer and outside just could be the issue, well in some parts of the world, not here in London.

  11. Things quiet down when summer rolls around. I think a large number of people blog at work, which is school for a high percentage of book bloggers. I confess, this is true for me. So the book blogs quiet down a bit over the summer and during the winter holidays.

    Book blahs are also a common thing. Happens to me regularly. They’re like a cold; there is no cure. You just have to take it easy until it goes a way. And it will go away.

    I say, put all the blah books aside a pick up the one on your TBR shelf you most want to read.

    • I had never thought of when people blog before, which is really rather naive of me isn’t it? Though I admit I do mine when I should be working on the odd occasion. tee hee!

      Yes I think I might have had book flu of some kind.

  12. Darla LaRoche

    When I get in a book slump, I find that essays and short stories “get me going” again. I am most in a book slump when I am feeling introspective or on the cusp of a change. I can’t remove myself from the book I am reading and find that I’m still on the same page but have been wandering in my own thoughts. Essays and short stories are perfect for my short attention span of the moment and when I’ve figured out my personal “stuff”, I am ready for immersing myself into other worlds.

    • I picked up a picture book which I have mentioned on the blog since. After that i have thrown myself into a few more parts of The Passage but as I can’t take it anywhere for fear my arms may fall off its those inbetween part reads which arent working which is probably the addictiveness of The Passage’s fault!

  13. I think the commitment to having to read for book groups etc can be a real killer Simon and I’d exhort on the side of chucking it to one side if it’s not your thing, it’s soul-destroying to read to order when you hate the book unless of course it’s paid reviewing:-)
    I also think it can be a terrible price to pay if you feel you are reading to keep a hungry book blog sated which I’ve always been really strict with myself about, especially recently, and refused to do.It always has to be what I want to read and when I want to read it, and I may not always want to write and share my thoughts about a book either. That’s fine too, it’s a very different way of reading when it really is purely for yourself and no one else , no pencil, no notes.. and that magic is far, far too precious to lose. If I ever feel that dwindling even a fraction I know it’s time to take stock and scale back a bit and recharge those reading batteries.

    • You know me though Lynne and my stick in the mud ‘must read every page of a book group book’ rule that I have lumbered myself with hahaha. I have since taken your advice though it has to be said. I will go back to A Short Gentleman though and this wasn’t a slur on it or the NTTVBG just a little bit of being stuck mentally and mediocrely in my own head.

      I think some of the books for my real job have been duds and thats just been a pain but one I have to press on with.

  14. I really wanted to read A Short Gentleman but it’s not out in the US yet and I just didn’t have a chance to purchase an overseas copy! I will still go over and read everyone’s thoughts though.

    So, I totally hit the same wall recently where I wasn’t excited to pick up the books I had lined up. The easiest way to get out of it? Set those books down and pick up something you’re dying to read. I felt a bit guilty because of obligations and all but primarily my reading is for ME and if an obligation gets pushed out for two or three days, so be it. After all, I’m not getting paid or anything! I don’t know if any of your dull reads have been for your REAL job but if they’re not, set them down. You might not come back to them but that’s okay. I give you permission to enjoy your reading. 🙂

    • I think its a great book Kristen it simply wasn’t the book for my mood, which is odd because it was laugh out loud funny but the reader in me appears to have decided to be contrary for a little while.

      Some of the dullards have been for work which is the main problem, I think that I might be over the worst though!

  15. novelinsights

    Have a cup of tea, put the telly on and give yourself a couple of book-free days! Then just read what takes your fancy 🙂

    • Godo idea Pol, issue with that is bar Glee (which was stunning this week as we both saw) I don’t really watch the telly. I could watch the fish instead… maybe… maybe not!

  16. Bet

    I go through this vague feeling of book disatisfaction occasionally, and I rarely have to read books on assignment. For me, the cure is to read something that requires a lot of concentration: a Shakespeare play, an ancient classic, or something very philosophical. After reading something like that I feel mentally “cleansed” and can go back to my usual habits.

    • Ooooh blimey, I go for something comfortable on the whole when I am having this phase. Do you not find it harder to struggle on with the ones that need all the concentration? That would be my fear, I need a book thta holds my hand and panders to me a bit in these trying times.

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