Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Top Ten Book Problems

So, I just noticed (late, as usual) this Top Ten meme suggested by The Broke and The Bookish.

TOP TEN BOOK PROBLEMS I HAVE

Usually I have trouble getting to ten, but not for this!

1. Too many books. I don’t mean that I’m out of space for physical books . . . space is tight, and in a few years this will be a concern, but just a couple of years ago my Dad built me another bank of shelves. And my Kindle now relieves a lot of the pressure for more physical space. So I’m good for now! No, the problem is, there are JUST SO MANY BOOKS. I know I would love literally thousands of books that I will never get a chance to read. Tens of thousands! Even if I live as long as Jeanne Calment and read 150 books a year for my whole life, I will STILL die without even scratching the surface of books I would have loved. Oh, the frustration!

2. Not knowing what to read next. Related to #1 above. With all those choices, how can I possibly decide what to read? Partly I’m a “mood” reader and I never, or almost never, join “challenges” because I don’t want to be constrained. Right now, it’s true, I’m selecting only new-to-me books from the Hugo possibilities, but not even that narrows the choices down as much as it might, because there are a lot more possibilities than I can read before March 10th.

3. Not nearly enough time to read. I’m not complaining, really. Really really. But I had a lot more time to read other people’s books before I started seriously writing. Now I go for a month, even multiple months at a time, without touching any new-to-me fiction. This is painful. (I do manage a lot of re-reading during those times, plus nonfiction.)

4. Never getting around to watching television shows. There are, I hear, many great TV shows out there. Lots of great movies, too. I’d probably love a lot of them, but I will never know, because when I’m forced to choose, I’d really rather read a book. And I’m always forced to choose, because, as above, lack of time.

5. I can’t eat a bit without a book to read. Holiday dinners are an exception, but basically I must pick up a book at mealtimes.

6. Having a lot of books adds a layer to puppy-proofing the house. Every puppy needs to learn not to touch electrical cords or books, even when both are easily accessible.

7. Having to break up a series into different formats. Sometimes I can’t wait for a paperback and so I get a new book as an ebook or a hardcover, even when I started the series in paperback. I really dislike having half of a series in one format and the other half in a different format, but sometimes it happens because I hate waiting for sequels even more.

8. Waiting for sequels. My God, people, can’t you write faster? What is wrong with you all? There should be a law.

9. Being unable to make people I know drop everything and read the books I want them to read. Doesn’t that just drive you crazy? I’m always like STOP WITH YOUR FAVORITE SERIES AND READ THIS BOOK INSTEAD. And do people listen?* Not nearly often enough. It’s terrible.

10. Being disappointed when people I know read books I love and . . . don’t love them. Isn’t that just the WORST? I’m all like, YOU MUST READ THIS, and then a friend is kind of like, Um, why did you like this exactly? How is that even possible? It’s as though people have varying taste or something.

*On the other hand, when I know I have turned a reader onto a favorite author of mine, that’s pretty snazzy.

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10 Comments Top Ten Book Problems

  1. Mary+Beth

    Hah, I loved this!

    I share many of your problems, particularly the not-enough-time and the I-am-in-the-mood-for-a-book-I-don’t-have. And the pet-proofing! I am now the owner of a very slightly chewed Laura Florand book that I had to buy from the library because my pet rabbit got to it in one moment of inattention. (He also jumped up onto the second shelf of my bookcase to eat Kate Elliott’s TRAITOR’S GATE. I cannot remove all books from the bedroom, it would be like removing my bed from the bedroom, but I’m resigned to only using the top shelf of my three-shelf bookcase.)

    Actually I need a new bookcase. The 6-foot one in the dining room is stacked two-deep on every shelf…

  2. Craig

    5. I can’t eat a bit without a book to read. Holiday dinners are an exception, but basically I must pick up a book at mealtimes.

    This is a problem?

  3. Rachel

    Well, I admit, as problems go . . . no, (5) isn’t actually a *problem.* Just a thing.

    Wow, Mary Beth, I’m glad my puppies accommodate my strange objection to their using books as chew toys! A rabbit is probably harder to persuade.

  4. Mary+Beth

    I’ve come around to thinking of the rabbit as a very small land-shark. He interacts with his environment by chewing on things. (Paper, cloth, wood, plastic–he’s even tried metal and the backs of my ankles.) He’s not quite bright enough to train, alas, but he’s still pretty cute. (I will still probably get a cat next.)

  5. Rachel

    I will definitely warn people who tell me they’re getting a bunny, that bunnies are really fluffy little land-sharks. : )

  6. Hanneke

    I can concur with most of your points, except for the ones that are inapplicable to my life (3&6: I don’t write, and I don’t have a book-chewing pet: my cat just head-buts a corner when I’m reading, sometimes, and doesn’t mind me reading while eating (5)). I even stopped my cable subscription to get more reading time (4).
    Since I’ve been following several writers’ blogs I’ve grown more patient about giving them the time they need to do a good job on writing a sequel (8) – but the book needs to end in a relatively calm ‘resting place’, with a satisfactory temporary endig. If they end a book on a cliffhanger I can’t stand the waiting, and if I know that I won’t read it ’till I’ve got the next one ready to follow immediately after.

    Referring to 9 and 10, here’s something you might be happy about: I’d got Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge after you recommended it; when you recently mentioned it again (in the romance in SF post) I moved it to the top of the TBR pile. I just finished it, and liked it enough that I immediately went and bought the other 8 novels and 3 short stories in the series, and another standalone contemporary, and put the rest of her books on my wish-list/preview-queue. So that’s another reader hooked on that author!

  7. Hanneke

    Also, Laura Florand! I started reading her because of your recommendation, loved The Chocolate Rose, and promptly bought and read all her other books. I just finished Once Upon A Rose, and I think it’s my favorite contemporary romance now. It is just so sweet, as you say; I love the way they choose to work through their anger instead of dumping it on the other, or expressing their disappointment in a way that gives the other room to reassess their words and actions and make amends. The way they work things out feels exactly right for her character, and very much the way I feel a nice grown-up who’s sensitive to how others feel, and has the insight and courage to acknowledge her own feelings, would react (as I’d hope all well-balanced grown-ups would be able to!).
    Ms Florand doesn’t throw artificial spanners in the works by not letting the protagonists communicate in a reasonable way, not making them too damaged to behave reasonably and kindly, and that makes this book so much better for me!

    And another good thing about it: though I teared up at a few points, it doesn’t get too deeply sad for long; which it makes it possible to for me to reread this one in public, as really crying over a book in public is not acceptable, though laughing is.

  8. Rachel

    Thanks, Hanneke, for letting me know you found Lindsay Buroker and Laura Florand through me. I personally discovered Florand’s books through Chachic , and Buroker’s through Sherwood Smith at Book View Cafe. Word of mouth: sometimes you can watch it happening.

  9. Kim Aippersbach

    7 — yes, this is a terrible problem. Sometimes I solve it by buying the book in several formats. This is not good for the budget.

    5 isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity. It only becomes a problem when I keep eating in order to keep reading.

    Speaking of 8, are you by any chance writing a sequel to Black Dog? No pressure or anything!

  10. Rachel

    Kim, I strongly resist buying multiple editions of a book, but I admit that it could happen. I want a paper copy of The Goblin Emperor so I can more easily flip back and forth from the story to the glossary, for one thing.

    And as for sequels to Black Dog, yes, absolutely. Keep an eye out, because I’m going to release an e-only set of related short stories very soon, and then the actual sequel in paper and ebook form a month after that. I am also just starting to work on a third book in the series, so hopefully that will be ready to go in the spring of 2016.

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