If You Like….

Okay, this is less an “if you like”, and more of a “books that fit together under a category that only makes sense in my head”: books I tried to read at the wrong time and then rediscovered later.

Don’t you love the way books sometimes reappear at just the right time? I’ve had two of them already this month:

— Jennifer Crusie’s Wild Ride, which my little sister gave me three or so years ago, and which has been sitting– getting dusty– in the Jennifer Crusie stack by my bookshelf. I’d read all the others around it– Fast Women, The Cinderella Deal, Maybe This Time, and so on– but every time I’d pick up Wild Ride, I’d get a few pages in and then put it down again, not quite sure what to make of it. Until this weekend, when I rediscovered it and read it straight through, chortling and reading lines aloud. I think part of it is that it’s hard to define. It’s a little bit romance; a little bit action novel; a little bit paranormal; a little bit women’s fiction. Which didn’t work for me three years ago, but worked for me perfectly right now.

— C.S. Harris’s What Angels Fear, which I already posted about last week, so I’ll keep it brief– but the short version is that I started it back in 2006 or so, put it down again, and just rediscovered it and loved it. My guess is that it was too close to what I was working on back in 2006 for me to really enjoy it, but, this time, having just finished a Victorian-set stand alone, it felt like fun again.

Other books with which this has occurred include Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown, now an old favorite, and Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches, which I started at the wrong time and had to set aside for a year. Whenever this happens, it’s a reminder to me that much of the experience of a book is what we, as readers, bring to it; it’s that indefinable, subjective aspect to reading that has so much to do with mood and circumstance.

Often, when this happens to me, it will be with a much-hyped book, where going in with high expectations makes me more cranky and critical. By the time rediscovery happens, those expectations will have reversed themselves and I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Other times, it’s simply that the book wasn’t quite what I wanted at that moment. It always feels like an unexpected gift when a book that I couldn’t get through pops up at just the right moment years later.

Which books have you set aside and then rediscovered?


  1. Nancy Kvorka on June 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Hi, this is off topic a bit, but I have a suggestion for a future if you like…when Americans go to England and marry and vice versa. I love the stories of American heiresses going to England and marrying peers.

  2. Jessica C on June 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I have this problem mainly in summer. I always seem to decide that the leisure time that comes over summer (particularly when I was studying at university) was perfect to tackle long, complex reads. One was War and Peace, which I never quite finished – I finally got sick of it and skipped 100 pages to get to the last 50. Middlemarch is another example – after spending a few 40 C days slogging through it and finally finishing it, I decided that I didn’t like George Eliot much. A few months later I read Adam Bede and realised that I was wrong.

    This past summer (I live in the southern hemisphere, so summer is long gone) I tackled Les Miserables. My Dad died suddenly before Christmas (too young, only in his early 60’s) and in the awful time between Christmas and New Years, organising the funeral, I decided for some inexplicable reason that it was the perfect book to distract me. It took me 3 months, with many side-excursions into other books (mainly Victoria Holt) to finish it. Hopefully I will be wiser next summer, and stick to fun frothy romances and exciting fantasy stories.

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