My problem is twofold. First, most pressing, and most depressing, I’m going through a book break-up. This break-up’s worse than usual, because it’s a six-book one. Having absolutely inhaled Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series (if you already haven’t heard me rabbiting on about them, click here), I am now staring down the barrel of the book break-up withdrawal, depression, and malaise.
When you go through a break-up for real, you’re convinced that what you had was so deep and so special that you’ll never again find someone who’ll love you and who you’ll love like that again. The world develops a sepia tone and a two-dimensional flatness. Nothing and no one interests you, and anyone you date in the following six (or more) months stands not an iota of a chance. This is not because they’re not lovely or interesting or simply very attractive, but because you’re still so busy looking back at what was you can’t see what’s in front of you.
You feel bad for not really giving them a real go, and on some level you even know that—break-up cliché alert!—if it were a different time or place and you were in a different headspace, you might be able to fall in love with them. But the timing and place and headspace aren’t right, and you shelve those book beaus before they’ve had a chance to get past the first (chapter) date.
The principle’s the same when it comes to finding a replacement book once you’ve finished with a brilliant one (or six ones, in the case of the Vampire Academy series). That means that nothing grips you, and every subsequent book’s just a temporary, you’ll-do rebound as you’re constantly and unfairly comparing them to the one you’ve just finished.
Compound that issue with the fact that I’ve had to travel interstate this week for work. Which means air travel. Which means hours as a captive, claustrophobia- and stir craziness-prone passenger in dire need of a brilliant book to distract her from the fact that she hates, hates, hates flying …
Let’s just say that this week has not been a happy one.
John Birmingham defined airport fiction as those books that improve at altitude. I’d say they don’t improve and that they’re simply being tried and tested. Any book that can help you temporarily forget that you’re being held captive in a small, cramped space, starved of good food and entertainment, and swamped by smelly, etiquette-challenged neighbours, is worthy of an award.
The problem I had this week, though, is that not even airport fiction (the titles traditionally considered trashy and absent of nutritional value by book snobs and that are everyone’s secret, guilty reading pleasure) could tempt me.
I was certain that I would find about 20 books I had to have as soon as I perused the books at the airport. It happens without fail. I’ve been known to abandon (not literally, just metaphorically) books I’m half way through in order to read books that have seduced me with their bright, shiny covers just minutes before boarding the plane. I have also then deeply regretted having to lug around heaps of books I’m not going to read, as well as ones I am.
Finding have-to-have books didn’t happen this time, though. Although my reading appetite is there, my ability to stomach much right now isn’t. I am, quite simply, in desperate need of book recommendations to help me mend my broken reading heart post Vampire Academy, preferably before my flight departs at 7pm tomorrow night. And frankly, the trashier the better.