Last week, when I posted about my reading strategy, to reach my reading goal for the year, I left one important trick out…
Show of hands, how many of us have a partially read romance or ten haunting our physical or virtual shelves? Yeah. I thought so. Only when I was recording my latest read on my reading challenge, did I notice the books that had been chilling in my currently reading shelf. That doesn’t even address the books that got moved to a “books for later” shelf, or the ones physically set aside. If we’re going to be inclusive here, I can even count the book that fell behind my nightstand in the old apartment, and thus caused an accidental lull in my reading of same.
For me, the average point where I will take a break from a book, either knowingly, or wandering off by inches, is about fifty-two percent. Nice plateau there, that fifty-two, and sometimes it can stay there quite a while. For some books, yes, that is all she wrote (pun intended) because it took me that long to figure out that I’m just not into that particular book at that particular time, there was some sort of dealbreaker, or I am flat out too tired, due to entirely real life circumstances, nothing to do with the book at all.
Not every book does get a second chance, but for those that do, that’s more than one half of the book already read. If the book is four hundred pages, let’s say, and I’m at fifty-two percent, that’s under two hundred pages, easy peasy. It’s not always easy, though, as sometimes the time away makes itself known, and it takes me a while to figure out who’s who and what’s where, and urk, I thought that was her brother, but it’s the hero (or the other way round) Recalibrating. If it’s that far gone, I need to go back to the beginning and start over. Not a bad thing, but if I’m trying to pad out my numbers, that does feel like going backward.
Sometimes, I don’t get too far before I remember the reason I did take a break from that particular author or story. Usually, I can get past it. Some books get a second wind, and maybe even work better for the time away. Maybe what I needed was a palate cleanse. I remember, back in the day, reading three historical romances in a row that had heroes named Alexander Cameron, followed by a historical where the hero was named Alexander, and the heroine was named Cameron. That, by the way, went on to be one of my all-time favorite historicals, but how’s that for the luck of the draw? I have definitely put a book down because I could not take one more Nick or Kate or fill in your choice of very popular name here in such a short span of time, and usually the same time period. Time for a book nap, and I’ll be back after a few Leifs and Freyas and a few of their friends. Maybe a Ross and/or Rachel, who can say?
There are books I’ve taken a break from and come back to, when love rally was lovelier the second time around. Maybe it was the author’s voice that was unfamiliar to me, but I’d tried another of their books, and wanted to give my first encounter another try. When I was a younger reader, not familiar with some historical periods, getting into a new to me setting did require some effort, which makes total sense. The same with the rules of a new paranormal universe, new group of characters, new subgenre, etc.
Sometimes, the first time I read a particular book isn’t the right time. No shame in that, and no shame if I don’t come back. Could be the book hit on something that was too close to home or too soon after a real life event, or I wasn’t t a place in my life when I could connect with the characters’ issues, but when the time is right? That book I’d been away from for months or even years might be zoomed through in less than a single day. Why? Because the time was finally right. It’s that easy.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Have you ever taken a break from a book and come back to it? Why did you hit pause, and then play again? Pull up a seat in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.