Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Putting Books Up On A Paddlestool

I know what you guys are thinking. I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Saturday and you want to read my thoughts and reactions to it. And I will write my reactions to it once I have digested it... and figured out how not to go on spoiler on you (yes, I know I did with the script but the play is different).

But instead, I wanted to write this instead. And before you think this is a review, this isn't. Hell, I am not sure that, in my current state, I can review this book.

Ok, question: have you guys ever read a book that you are so very excited for, only to start reading it and it doesn't live up to your expectations?

Now, no lying. Am sure we all have. I know I have. And recently, I had this with Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott.

Ok, here is the thing. I LOVE Zoe Marriott - well, the books I have read by her - and with this book, it ticked every box. A fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a mystical Japan? Where do I sign up?! I was so excited to read it!

So when I did, I struggled. I know I have been going through a bit of a possible "I might be falling into a reading slump and I won't let that happen as too busy to be in book slump" phase, and I know I jumped about reading short, fast eNovellas and audiobooks so I never settled on Barefoot on the Wind, but it didn't hit the mark with me.

But why? I have been excited about this book since I first heard of it and yet, reading it, I felt off balance with my opinion over it (hence why I am not reviewing this now. I want to reread Barefoot of the Wind before I make up my mind fully). Is it because the story isn;t that good or, is it more likely that I put so much pressure for this book to be perfect that it was doomed to failure before I had read the first page?

This is something I have been wondering from when I was about halfway through the book and, the more I thought about it, the more I went "Did I do this? Have I put a too much pressure on a book to be perfect that the story was never going to be? Am I the problem here?". And it made me think.

There have been books in my reading past that I have read that I have been very excited for and it never quite hit the level I expected it to be. I can listen tons of books that were not quite perfect, and yet, when I have reread the story a few days/weeks/months/years later, I have fallen madly in love with it or something finally clicked in my brain.

For example, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. When I first read it, I enjoyed it - it's Harry Potter, people! - but I remember not enjoying it compared to the others. But, a few years back, I reread Order and went "OH! OHOHOH! This is great! Why did I dislike this book so much?!".

But, I sense, this could work the other way round. Read a book and love it, only to reread it later in your life and go "What on earth was I thinking?!" *eyes several books I read a few years back that I know that, if I reread, I would be horrified*

So, what can we do to lessen this "Put This Book On A Paddlestool"? Something we all do?

Not much, sadly. It's in our nature, as awful as it sounds. But what we could do is be open to the idea that the ebook might not be perfect. That this book might not be as wonderful as we hope and we have to accept that it could be our expectations are too high.

Or maybe, if we read a book that we had high hopes for (and it misses the mark), maybe we should reread it a little while later...

What do you guys think? Have you have read a book you've bene hugely excited for and it didn't tick all the boxes? Have you reread it months later to find you enjoyed it hugely?

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