I’m in between books right now and it’s agonizing. I finished the new Thea Harrison novella, Dragos Goes to Washington (sublime), and the next installment of Rose Montague’s Norma Jean's School of Witchery (fun). And then … the purgatory of no books to read. I've written about this malady before once or twice, and it just doesn't get any easier. If fact, if anything, the whole experience gets more frightening and depressing each time. Frightening because I've read that many more books and I’m afraid I'm about to run out, and depressing because if I ever do exhaust the universe of good, fun, compelling paranormal fantasy, what will become of me? I'll be forced to fall back on my previously preferred genres: mysteries; police procedurals; and international intrigue. But because I spent so many years ploughing through those categories, I feel like those wells are dry too. I've got to stop going down this rabbit hole before I become utterly despondent. If you have any suggestions, for God's sake, please pass them along.
There is a faint light at the end of the tunnel, however. In desperation, I revisited a book I'd read, or started to read, in the past. I remember buying and beginning it. I also remember that it just couldn't hold my attention at the time. But I visited the usual suspects in my reliable book-finder sites like Maryse’s Book Blog and I Love Vampire Novels, and didn't come up with much I hadn't read and re-read. But then an author and her series I had explored and rejected before floated to the top of my consciousness. I did my due diligence, reading reviews and summaries. And I decided to give the series a second shot. I'm glad I did. Because what I "discovered" was something I already knew: timing is everything.
The Argeneau Vampire series by Lynsay Sands is on almost all the top ten best vampire series lists. It's always mentioned as being fun and funny, lighthearted and exceptionally entertaining. So I bought the first book in the series, A Quick Bite, and dug in expectantly. Except that at that time, I was disappointed. I remember that I read the same early pages over and over and just couldn't get into it. I tried, I really did. But then I gave up and went on to greener pastures. And now I'm back, getting on the horse that threw me. And, what do you know, there's a reason that's a cliché. It's important to get back in the saddle—lest we miss out on a great experience because of negative, past associations.
Timing is everything. Have you ever had the experience of reading a book that changed your life because you read it at a critical juncture, only to revisit it later and say, "WTF? Was I on something at the time?" (Always a possibility for me during my misspent youth). I felt that way about Atlas Shrugged. I remember going into my Literature Humanities class in college waxing poetic about the brilliance of Ayn Rand and how I had totally drunk the Kool Aid about her philosophy and economic theories. And my professor let me rant a while and then calmly asked, "But why do you think she’s so brilliant?" So I upped the decibel level of my voice and again engaged in rant mode. To which he replied, "Yes, Anne, I understand what you are saying. Saying it louder doesn't make it persuasive." I felt about as high as an ant with dwarfism. But I'll never forget the lesson—and now when I make an argument or posit a theory, I back it up till it won't back up any more. I also learned that 19-year-olds can be very passionate and dramatic for no good reason. When I reread the book many years later, I couldn't understand why it affected me so. Yes, it was good and interesting and raised thought-provoking ideas. But it wasn't nearly as profound as I recalled. Timing.
I read Bright Lights, Big City when it came out in 1984, and wondered how Jay McInerney had crawled into my life and into my head and extracted my thoughts and experiences and put it in a book. "All messed up and no place to go." That was me, all right. I loved it. I read it three times successively. I recommended it to my friends. But when I went back to re-read it many years later, it left me cold. I wasn't in that place any more and I wasn't that person anymore. So the book didn't speak to me in the same way, thankfully.
When my twin boys were born almost 16 years ago, I read to them compulsively. I was determined that they would love books and learning as much as I did. I read to those children every single day for almost 11 years. And now they don't like to read. Almost killed me. But they are amazing kids and I love them within an inch of their lives. Even though we don't share my obsession with books. But I digress. My point (I swear there is one) is that having children means we get to rediscover delightful children’s books and enjoy them from an adult perspective. My burning passion for Dr. Seuss was born from reading him as an adult—to my kids. I’ve pretty much memorized Oh, the Places You’ll Go, and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? is an all-time favorite (and don’t get me started on If I Ran the Circus!). Appreciating these books as a grown-up has opened a new world of thoughts and ideas and a beautiful philosophy of life that I wish to live up to—and that I hope my children will absorb through the osmosis of my reading to them— and which may become manifest when the angst of the teenage years are behind them. I’m still hopeful despite my boys current non-reading ways – maybe their ‘book-loving’ time hasn’t arrived yet?
Timing is everything. With books and with life. As the Tarot teaches us, "As above, so below", I think is also true for the truth and fantasy found in reality and in my beloved fiction: as in books, so in life. I knew this. But I had forgotten. Many thanks, Ms. Sands for the reminder – and the series. So happy to remember that timing is everything.