Thursday, September 20, 2012

Later Reading

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.


  1. Anne V.12:26 AM

    I put Brent Weeks' books on my shelf. I love his worldbuilding and unique systems, but I have to wait until I can settle in an read them for long chunks of time. I can also wait up to a week for authors like Rob Thurman.

    I do have to go back to my reading area or shelf and lovingly fondle the spine or gaze wistfully at the cover art during that time.

  2. I'm a bit obsessive, so I have a calendar list of release dates; it's always fun to find a suprise release though.

    I call it my Wait Until the Anticipation is Killing Me shelf, but it could also be called the Wait Until the Perfect Mood Strikes shelf. Every book I put there is something I'm going to love, but if I wait until that perfect moment, I know it's going to be even better. I just finished Lee Child's 'The Affair', which was on the shelf for almost a year. It was amazing, even more so because I was in the mood for exactly that kind of story, and it has led straight into 'The Wanted Man', which has been out for about a week.

    The most recent additions to my shelf are Jennifer Crusie's 'Crazy for You Short Stories', and Meljean Brook's 'Riveted'.

  3. Shiloh Walker7:38 AM

    I kept Endurance tucked away for almost a year because I was afraid of what you were going to do to Joey. I didn't trust you so much then. :-)

  4. Ok, I admit, I'm hopeless. I devour my reading material as soon as I can; no discipline at all.

    Thank you.

  5. I'd like to reread Asimov's Foundation series and his Robots series (Caves of Steel, etc).

  6. I love instant gratification too much. I'm afraid I don't have a "to be read later" shelf. Anything that gets read later is either waiting for me to be right mood or find the time. So I am just throwing my name in the hat. Thanks!


  7. have encountered the joys of KDP. The truth is unless you ask the author, the book you are waiting for may NEVER appear for the Nook or ANY other device. For some reason there are many indie authors who use ONLY Amazon to sell their books. It has something to do with there rankings on Amazon or something like that. I use goodreads to rate and review all the books I read as a sort of organizer for myself. You can also select books to add to your to be read pile. I have been "reviewing" (without using stars, just the text portion to ask why it is not available where I can buy it!) every book that I have wanted to read that came out only via KDP and without fail most of the authors end up writing me back indicating they had not even thought of putting it on other devices and that they will put it up when their KDP select contract ends ( the KDP exclusive contract lasts 90 days and is renewable). They usually do so when they realize people actually USE readers besides kindles to read with!

    Can you tell there are a lot of books I want to read but can't because of KDP select????Grrrr.

  8. Shelley10:23 AM

    I had to laugh about the ebook impatience - when I first got the Kindle I was like that a little bit but I now have a to be read catagory where I squirrel away books I am saving for when I need a lift or a reward. Currently I have Tanya Huff's Wild Ways, Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn, Anne Bishop's Bridge of Dreams and Lee and Miller's Dragon Ship - will need to pull one up tonight, I think.

  9. clairecherven10:53 AM

    When Borders when out of business (boo-hoo), I bougth as many of Marjorie Liu, Gena Showalter, Christina Dodd and Kresley Cole books as I could find (on reduced price), found a garage sale book case and have them on view in my sun porch. I have a good selection for those rainy days or snowy weekends, when I can't get out to my local bookstore or library.

  10. I've had Gail Carriger's Timeless waiting on my ereader for weeks. It's the last book in the series and I'm just not ready for it to end.

  11. I anticipate and save books. I love doing that since it is savored and enjoyed even more. Any novel by Mary Doria Russell and Jennifer Donnelly is kept forever.

  12. I have Riveted by Meljean Brook set aside for a day when I can sit down and read it in one sitting. I love the characters and worldbuilding in that series, and I know Once I pick it up I won't be able to put it down.

  13. My husband and I picked up the audio book of In a Sunburned Country to listen to while driving from Michigan to Kentucky. When we got to the part where 'blue sparks shot out of his ass' We had to pull over on the freeway until the laughter calmed enough that we could breathe again.
    Great stuff, Maynard!
    On another note, my box of ribbons arrived yesterday, now all I need is the shipment of danglies and I am in bookmark mode!

  14. Whoops! Forgot to write about my book carrots!
    I write reviews for Fresh Fiction (I know, I love my job! It pays in books!) but that means I feel I need to read the review books first and foremost, and only read from my personal pile when I have finished a goodly amount of the work reading. I just downloaded the omnibus of Lilith Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series to read in bits, between review submissions.
    I will be breaking out into fiction writing this fall. I think I need to think of a different type of carrot for that, perhaps time spent on spinning. (I have a new electric spinner headed my way in a few weeks. Lots to learn!)

  15. I try to save Marjorie Liu's books to enjoy like a bar of deep, dark chocolate. Sometimes I'm as successful with the books as I am with the chocolate.

  16. Anonymous2:25 PM

    I dragged out reading ERB's martian series for 14 years and read the last one on my 21st birthday. I also held off reading Terry Pratchett for a long time, because I knew I would devour them all once I started. Right now I'm down to an occasional book--the newish Stephen King Dark Towers book is one that I'm saving for that day I get a root canal. --liv

  17. I really need to start doing that, put some aside as a carrot for later. So many authors I enjoy get gobbled up the minute I get my hands on them.
    Fortunately there is a book on my desk that can be the first carrot. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

    As much as I want to dive into that book later today, I'll make myself wait, and accomplish some items on my to do list first (and it's a long list.)

  18. Harry Potter got me through my dissertation (#4 of the HP series, anyway, since the other three had yet to be published).

    Right now I'm staring at Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Darkness, both by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. They are both library books, though, so I can't sit on them too long, but I have an editing project to finish first... paying jobs come first, after all...

    I find books to be highly motivating. I can see from this post I am not alone...

  19. I "save reads" all the time, even with my Kindle. At least with my Kindle the books are not cluttering up the house. Right now I am saving the newest (until the 25th) Lorraine Heath, and a few of the Jill Shalvis "Lucky Harbor" books - they are so good I thought I'd keep them for a rainy day. And I've bought but am still saving your book "Save The Night".

  20. I'm thinking of Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness; I've been eyeing it, trying to decide if I want to read it or maybe just listen to the audiobook of it. Just not sure at this time but it's calling me...I may have to give in soon!

  21. Shizuka10:31 PM

    I'm too much of a greedy guts to wait on purpose.
    Sometimes I don't get to a new read for a while due to work and other interruptions.
    But I'm very impatient. I'll check before the release date of a book just in case it came out early.
    Case in point -- Harlan Coven's SECONDS AWAY. I kept checking and of course it didn't release early (books almost never do).
    I downloaded the audio book 6AM on the launch date.

  22. I tend to get and then put on the shelf for a while Christopher Moore and Gregory MacGuire. Then I read them and am like why did I wait. I also put up the nOra Roberts rereleases as they come out. I have a lot of hers to catch up on too, but those tend to wait a bit too unlike her new releases.

  23. I catch up on David Weber's Honor Harrington series during vacation.

  24. I currently have Lisa Kleypas' Dream Lake on my to-be-read list. I use books I really want to read as incentive to do chores I've been putting off, like vacuuming or laundry.

  25. Briana N.6:21 PM

    The book I am waiting to read right now is The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove.