This year is not starting out well - at least not for my library.
I set a goal to read 50 books this year and have completed 13 of that number. With the exception of Stephanie Meyer's The Host, I have read nothing that is above average. Reading The Host was actually my second time through the book. I was pleasantly surprised that I still liked it as well as I had the first time. (I reread it in anticipation of the movie, another disappointing adaptation and a totally different blog post.) My disappointment with my selections in 2013 is discouraging. I can't figure out what has happened. Have I become a book snob? Are my expectations too high?
I read Marie Lu's Prodigy when it came out--a book I was anticipating because I LOVED the first installment. It turned out to be ho-hum. I read Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Princess, again a book I was anticipating because I had enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy. Again, I was disappointed. Had it not been for the epilogue in the book, I would have been down right angry at the end.
I read the book jackets. I often read the first paragraph or two before I purchase a book. Sometimes I will even check out reviews on Goodreads. Although I am cautious about that because I understand that what one person loves or hates is not necessarily an indication of what I will think. I had that experience last year when I read Life of Pi. (Just for the record, it wasn't my cup of tea.)
I have found myself craving a really good book, one that has a great plot, interesting characters who I can care about, decent writing, and generally one I would want to share with everyone I know. I want a book that will make me feel something, hopefully lots of things. I want to get angry (and not because the writing is bad or the plot predictable). I want to anticipate what will happen next. I want to be romanced. I want to laugh. I want to cry. Okay...maybe I am expecting too much from one novel. I'll take a couple of those emotions and be happy.
So, is it just me? Have I become insatiable? Have I been spoiled by lucky selections in the past? There must be a key to finding great books. Books that won't offend my sensibilities or kill brain cells. I almost wish there was a rating system hanging from the walls of Barnes and Noble. "This book is rated fair" and then there could be a list of reasons. 1. little to no character development. 2. takes 250 pages to get to the point of the plot. 3.will insult your intelligence with cheezy dialogue, offensive language (my mother always told me it didn't take any intelligence to come up with a four letter word), or contrived plot lines. 4. lots of smut. Ect. Ect.
Perhaps what I need to do is go back to my bookshelf and reread some of the books that I thought were terrific. And I think I know which book I would start with - Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell - not a page turner, but an interesting study in human nature and poor choices. Yes, poor choices - like my book selections so far this year.