Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 books I think broke my book mojo

List by Tosca

"I knew a gentleman who was so good a manager of his time that he would not even lose that small portion of it which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets in those moments."
- Lord Chesterfield

I don't know anybody who reads in the 'necessary-house' as a means of passing the time. I do know, though, that were I to meet such a one I'd be impressed simply because they can and do read and, very probably, enjoy it. In the 'necessary-house' and elsewhere. I haven't had as much luck. For the last 3 months (slightly more?) my book mojo has been seriously broken. Every few months I go through a phase where I get 'book burnout' which is natural enough considering that in an ordinary month I'd read anywhere from 20-30 books. In the past I've found that the cure for that is to take a break for a week. Never before has it been this long. I've only ever worked in libraries because I heart books so much. So what do I do when I less than 'less than three' them? (a phrase I nicked from Wil Wheaton - thanks, Wil!). Once I began to count back I realised that I could actually pinpoint the top 5 books that I think broke my book mojo. And by that I mean that these were the last titles I remember reading where I had either seriously mixed feelings about them or had enjoyed them so much I haven't been able to find anything to match since. Do I hold the authors accountable for any of that? Not at all. These are *my* expectations and, as such, totally my own fault. I've included a short(ish) explanation for each. Eep.

Doctor Who : the encyclopedia : a definitive guide to time and space / Gary Russell
"An alphabetical list of everything in televised Doctor Who between 2005 and now. More than 1,700 entries and over 90,000 words"--Introduction. TV tie-in.
Tosca's note: Kalani (7 year old nephew) and I are big Doctor Who fans and a colleague requested this for me hoping it would be a wonderful surprise. While it was hugely informative with pretty, coloured pictures the font was too small. When it comes to font, size does matter. I'm not letting anybody tell me different. I feel like a failure for not enjoying it as much as I wanted to because I am font-sizeist (is that even a phrase?).

Love in the afternoon / Lisa Kleypas
"As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she has participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted...and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man--just to avoid spinsterhood?..."--p. [4] of cover.

Tosca's note: In the past I have enjoyed the Hathaway series - they make for very quirky reading. In some respects they remind me of my own oddball family. Minus the carriage rides and the d├ęcolletage, obviously. But this particular title left me feeling ambivalent about the Hathaways. I feel traitorous for even thinking that.

Lover mine / JR Ward
John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity. Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.

Tosca's note: Big, buff vampires. What's not to love? The main characters, that's what. I felt no liking for John and Xhex at all. Which is ridiculous of me because, hey, it's *their* story. If anything I found the happy-never-after angle of the gay male triangle romance happening in the background of more interest than the male/female romance of the main characters - and doesn't that just sound convoluted? I'm just waiting to see whether or not Ward has the moxie to write a gay male paranormal romance novel. Obviously, I'm hoping she does. The idea of it was played with in an earlier novel between characters Butch and Vishous but was never delivered. What is wrong with me that I like the secondary characters more? Count me conflicted.

A book of tongues / Gemma Files
"Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs - the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself. Caught between a passle of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself! But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear - the doom written for him, and the entire world, in A Book of Tongues. "--Publisher's description.

Tosca's note: I enjoyed this book. A lot. In fact, it's probably one of the last books I remember enjoying. It's a dark, twisted paranormal, historical, western, fantasy novel. Almost all of the genres I enjoy most tied up in one. And it works. The writing is evocative (I'd even say lush) and the whole time I read it I could see it taking place in my mind (although, you know, that's not saying much because I often ponder the concept of Redshirts vs. Stormtroopers). I'd love to see it as a movie someday. Oh, Gemma Files, I heart your book, but you made it hard for me to settle on anything else afterward.

Changeless / Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate series, book 2)
"Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria. But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband - if she feels like it." -- Publisher description.

Tosca's note: If I had to choose one book for singlehandedly breaking my book mojo, this is it. I loved it...but I hated the cliffhanger ending. It shocked me, I cried (because it was sad!), it had me cursing out loud (ok, so yeah, I do that anyway at any given time but that's not the point), it made me think that most men are stupid, it left me feeling that even though it ended it hadn't actually ended and then exasperated me because I had to wait for the next instalment. Dirty pool, Miss Carriger :) But I forgive you because the follow up book was just as enjoyable.

So, there you go, I broke my book mojo on those books above *points up* Is it back yet? Nope. Not yet. But I live in hope. If you have suggestions for reads that may kickstart my love for books again feel free to leave them as a comment. I will read anything once!

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