Over the years, the amount I’ve read has ebbed and flowed – I don’t think I finished one book between like 1992-1998 when my older kids were small – but it’s always something I’ve come back to. By the time I had my fourth child in 2002, I spent late nights nursing him while reading Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours. Cheery.
And while I cut my teeth on Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele and The Thornbirds (oh, Father Ralph), I have gotten a little choosier as I’ve aged about what I spend my time reading.
Not that I’m all Don DeLillo and Proust now, but I recently tried to get into the new Dan Brown and found myself annoyed that the hero, Robert Langdon, was immediately – and obviously – paired with some gorgeous, yet brilliant, young doctor. Haven’t we already gone down that road? It just seemed formulaic.
Any time you open a book, you’re gambling with your time. Even though Entertainment Weekly, Oprah or someone in your book club raved about it, you might have thought Possession was unbearable. I know I did, and I’d like those hours I spent trying to slog through all those poems back.
I choose a lot of what I read based on reviews in maybe People or The New York Times. I see four stars and think, “That’s for me.” That’s how I found The Lovely Bones and Gone Girl and more recently, The Good House (my mom had sent me an article about the author and I felt an affinity for the picture of her lying on her bed with her laptop).
So imagine my disappointment when I realized the current book I’m reading, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, which garnered a wonderful review in the Times by Michiko Kakutani, is cleverly cloaked soft porn involving teenagers. Like, keep your hands to yourself, kids.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m all about porn — and frisky teenagers, for that matter. I devoured the Twilight series and Fifty Shades of Gray in days. Those trilogies were the equivalent of, say, plowing through a fresh box of Cheez-Its and quickly finding yourself scraping the salty bits off the bottom of the bag. Delicious.
Call me a prude, but there is way too much back arching, throbbing and moaning between teenagers than I could handle. And, really, if I want to read something about first love, I’d prefer to snuggle up with The Fault in Our Stars or Eleanor & Park. Even Judy Blume’s Forever, from what I recall, seemed more tame (but how many times did I reference page 86 back-in-the-day?)
So, I’m on the hunt for better. I want to find my next Gone Girl or This Is How You Lose Her to kick off beach season.
So tell me, what are you reading this summer? My Kindle is charged and ready for downloading.