A Bookish Dissatisfaction

There needs to be a word, probably some sort of German compound phrase, for the feeling a person has when they are reading a book that on any other day would be a good book, but on that particular day, it is just not happening. The characters fail to grab one’s attention. The plot seems wholly inspired. The dialogue sticks in the throat. If only, they lament, they had not read that really good book right before it, the one that kept them up all night and into the morning, flipping pages with impossible speed.

This is happening to me right now. What is the word for it? Other than a deep sinking feeling of disappointment that is frankly self-inflicted. I flew too high and now I plummet, on the wings of a book that deserved better.

Ironically, this is after the dark spell I had last week reading-wise, in which I kept dropping books due to lack of interest or finishing books and liking them with deep reservations*. I wanted to love more books than I did, but I couldn’t. I wanted to get into more books than I did, but life is too short to waste on a dull book, so I left them alone less than fifty pages in. My reading history looked more like a neat shelf of spines than a massacre of pages, books thrown willy-nilly as I searched for something better.

That something better, FYI, was Noah Hawley’s Before The Fall, which I’ve already expounded upon quite a bit at my Goodreads page. But it was the first book in a while to break through the gloom of books that never did quite reach the level of what I wanted. It was gripping, thrilling, exciting, well-written, and did not disappoint me at the close.

And then I moved onward to Christopher Buckley’s The Relic Master, and I have no idea what happened, because so far it has failed to grip me like Hawley’s book did. And there is honestly nothing wrong with Buckley’s book, or his writing; I always enjoy his books! Maybe it’s the fact that, unlike literally all of his other fiction works, this one is not set in modern America but in ancient England, the age of Chaucer and Gower and so forth, and is not about political satire but the business of holy relics. Maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t a terrible amount of action in it, especially compared to Fall.

Either way, there’s that feeling again with no name. I intend to finish the book, but that feeling might linger within me for a while, even onto whatever book I read next. Poor Dismas the relic master. He has an interesting story. It’s a shame Scott the unlucky painter got his story in first.

(PS: Yes, I suppose anyone could use this as an opportunity to recommend me books to read, but be mindful of what is already on my Goodreads account – especially the ones on the ‘abandoned’ shelf!)

*Or, in the case of one non-fiction book which shall not be named here, had a really interesting premise and involved a media subculture I am particularly passionate about, and dulled it to death with tedious introductions and academic jargon that made it inaccessible and unreadable. It’s almost like they only wanted scholars with doctorates in theory to be able to read it, not the people actually being talked about. Thanks, ivory tower gatekeepers of knowledge! Also: please look up the definition of ‘canonical’ because you are using it quite incorrectly.


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