Picture it: a normal end of a normal day. You’ve wrangled work and/or school and/or domestic obligations, settled all sentient beings, and there’s only one thing on your mind: that book you’ve been wanting to get to, all day. Day is done, it’s you and the book, and all that’s standing between you and dreamland is one chapter. Only one. At least that’s the plan, but then you look up, possibly because the book is now over, and there’s that big orange thing in the sky. How did that happen?
The easy answer is: you red all night. Again. This is an occupational hazard, and, for some of us, we really should know better. It’s kind of like potato chips, or maybe jelly beans, but with fewer calories and much more brain activity. Also, especially when reading romance, all the feels. Often, there are no regrets, because dang, that was a good story, and, if we’re really efficient, we are scouring the author’s website to find out what other books are in the series, how they did their research, what’s their backlist, what’s next, and possibly looking for books that they have recommended, because if the person that wrote that book liked it, you’re probably going to like it, too, and who needs sleep?
That’s a good question. Not readers, a lot of the time. Okay, everybody needs sleep, but there are some times when the book has to take precedence. Because I am writing this post at ten thirty at night, with Real Life Romance Hero’s electronic device playing something about the space shuttle from the next room (I love him, but this is not helping me concentrate on romance novel stuff) and the foremost thought in my mind, right now, is: what am I reading tonight?
Because it is late, and I am tired, you get Storytime. The story is this: last night, late, I finished reading the current book in a series a friend had lent me. I did not notice this book was the last book from the latest bunch she sent, and I am primed for one turbo=charged reading session. I have been looking forward to this reading session all day, and now it’s time to pick another book, and A) I don’t wanna, B) I have to, C) I am having a lot of feelings, okay? The books my friend lent me are not technically in the romance genre (but they are totally overflowing with romance, and lots of angst on the ways to happily ever afters) and remind me of exactly what it is I love about a great historical romance, even though these are set in recent-day Japan, and some people occasionally turn into animals. (Fruits Basket, for those who are interested) There are still about three books left in the series, and those will be on their way to me shortly, but, in the meantime, my mind and my body (with special guest star, insomnia) are primed for a lightning speed tear through four hundred pages at a clip, and it’s kind of like the reading version of Speed. At least I think it is. I haven’t seen that movie, but a good reading tear does build a certain amount of momentum.
Which is what drives the next chapter of our story, which is the part where the reader, carried along by her own momentum, scours her e-reader’s library, as well as the actual library, and possibly Amazon, for books that have the same feel as what she’s craving, but with the gauranteed HEA waiting at the end. This kind of thing could take a whole night on its own, picking through all of the options for exactly the right book. Do I want a paranormal that uses the turning into animals thing as a metaphor for deeply buried emotional issues? Complicated family dynamics? The universal need to love and be loved? Do I want to delve into an immersive world that takes me to another time and place? Is there a certain character type that caught my fancy? A compelling author voice that sweeps me along like the current on a river, wending me where it will? All of the above? Who can tell?
Actually, I can. Right now, I have a few likely suspects queued on my Kindle, an audio version of a book I read and loved, years ago, waiting for the narrator to lull me to sleep as they tell me a story, and a list of books to check for at the library, It is entirely possible for me to settle into bed, tell myself I’m going to pick out one book and start reading, and then, before I know it, there’s that big orange thing in the sky, but, hey, it’s the weekend, so I’m going to call that good enough.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. What’s the last book that had you up all night, and why? Have you ever intended to take just a peek, and then gobble the whole thing? Ever spent an entire night browsing for books and not get started actually reading? Pull up a chair in the comments section and tell us all about it. There’s rom for everybody at this table.