Last week petite mentioned Bill Bryson last week as an author who makes his readers happy, and I have to chime in on that. I've been a diehard Bryson groupie since the first time I read A Sunburned Country, and I will buy anything the man cares to publish the minute I see it on the shelves. Doesn't matter what it is; if I saw "Bryson's Weekly Grocery List" I'd grab that, too.
I don't read Bill's books right away, however. Most of the time I put them in clear view of my desk and use them as writing carrots (i.e. when I finish a manuscript, I get to read one of them as a reward.) Others I reserve for reading during long trips away from home, or hold onto until I have a bad case of the blues; the old "save it for a rainy day" approach.
In this era of get-it-with-one-click the practice of deliberately saving books for later reading seems to have dwindled to the point of vanishing altogether. While I appreciate the technology that allows us to get most any book we want the moment we want it, I think it's changing a lot of what used to be gleeful anticipation into surly impatience.
I'm guilty of this myself; for about a year I've been waiting/hoping to read an e-book by a favorite author who went indie; I've been checking Smashwords monthly to see if it's released there in .pdf (which I had planned to print out at home, as has been my habit with every indie author e-book I want to read.) For the last twelve months I've been willing to wait, but since my family stuck me with this e-reader and I don't have to wait for a printer-friendly edition anymore I've noticed I've been getting grumpier -- and more impatient -- by the week. It's out in Kindle format, so why doesn't the author release it for Nook? Why do I still have to wait? Maybe I should complain . . .
Before the era of instant delivery I never minded -- or even noticed -- the time it took to acquire books I wanted to read. When I was younger and much poorer I had to sign up on a waiting list at the library, and when the call came that my book was available I was thrilled. If I couldn't find a novel by someone I loved, I used the time as a chance to discover new authors. I used to spend years hunting through used book stores for OOPs editions while slowly acquiring an author's entire backlist. It was a bit like treasure hunting, and I absolutely loved it, especially whenever I found the very last book I needed to complete a collection. So were my trips to the brick-and-mortars, when browsing for titles was always punctuated by the delights of finding new releases I didn't know were coming out.
Saving books I buy for later reading may be the only way to get back a little of that lovely feeling of anticipation, so I've started a Rainy Day Reads shelf in my book room. Marjorie Liu just published Where the Heart Lives, a short story on Smashwords that I've never read; that along with Bryson's At Home are the first two additions.
What books or authors would you put on your Later Reading shelf? Tell us in comments to this post (or if you can't think of any, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Saturday, September 22, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner a signed manuscript copy of Nightbred, my upcoming December release (bound by me in a ring binder, and whether the winner reads it right away or saves it for a rainy day is his/her choice) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.