What Is My Problem Lately?

In my last If We Were Having Coffee post I commented on how I’m finding it harder for me to find new FAVORITE books and movies.

The thing is, I’m consuming lots of things that I LIKE and even super LOVE but I’m having a hard time finding those life changing things that just stop you in your tracks and just speak to every cell in your entire body and you don’t know how you possibly lived life without having experienced it before. Those books that I easily declare THIS IS A NEW FAVORITE. I’m reading so many books I’m soooo passionate about and love but somehow, over the years, fewer and fewer are being declared favorites. I’m finding it so hard to be BLOWN AWAY.

I don’t know what the root of it is.

Is it just that I’m not picking those types of book?

It could be as simple as that. I’m just not picking up those books that would be favorites. Maybe I keep bypassing them for other things. My hand choosing the book NEXT to it on the shelf. It could be. I mean, I’m sure those books are THERE but maybe I’m not picking them up.

Am I just harder to impress because I read so much?

I read a lot. I consume a lot of entertainment. Maybe because of that I’m just harder to impress these days? It’s not even like I’m this picky reader…I know what I like and I’m not overly critical. I just feel like I’m like I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK but it didn’t quite take me to the level of THOSE kinds of books. I feel like when I wasn’t reading as much I was more easily impressed because I wasn’t as well-read. Maybe things are just blending altogether and things feel the same because I’m not giving books the space and the time and, even though I read a decent amount of backlist, I’m always reading the new releases and there are clear TRENDS that happen each year. Maybe I’m reading too much that is similar and it’s not impressing me? I DO NOT KNOW. Maybe my standards ARE higher to make me FEEL THAT KIND OF FEELING?

Maybe it’s blogging?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s the fact that I’m constantly ~dissecting~ everything I read. I say dissecting loosely because clearly on this site I’m not into the critical analysis as it is not my gift in life. I just like talking about the books I read and interacting with them (this isn’t to say I’m NOT critical…my aim just isn’t to dissect or write a huge literary analysis of what I’m reading). BUT, even with that, I’m forced to think about the whys and why nots of my feelings on the book and a lot of times I’m doing so WHILE I’m reading. It’s this subconscious thing that I’ve noticed over the past 5 years of blogging but I definitely do it while I’m reading. Already formulating my thoughts for a book talk or thinking about how I’ll blog about it. OR dreading blogging about it. NGL that happens. Maybe I’m not letting myself truly enjoy books because it’s all tied into blogging. I DON’T KNOW.

Is it that I’m just becoming stingy about handing out my 5 stars/my favorites?

What I mean is that maybe I *HAVE* had those experiences but when I look over my reading year I’m not accounting for those because I’m SO stingy about rating giving my highest ratings. I feel like this is kind of a blogging thing too — I think blogging over these past 5 years has made me stingier. I’ve talked before about how sometimes blogging makes me feel self-conscious when it comes to liking too many books or being seen as “too positive”. It’s a thing that I’m constantly reminding myself over the years because I know that my thoughts are genuinely what I think and it really doesn’t matter what other people think. And really…it’s so silly I have to worry about liking too many books.

Maybe it’s just that I’m hyping up too much the idea of FAVORITES or THOSE LIFE CHANGING BOOKS and that is what is ruining it for me?

Maybe I’m just hyping it all up too much. Maybe I’m too focused on finding THE ONE — that perfect life-shattering book. Maybe I’ve been reading them but, because I’ve hyped up the IDEA of what this kind of book looks like, I haven’t recognized it as such.

Or maybe I’m just completing overthinking it all?

Yep. Probably that is it.

I just have had this nagging feeling about the lack of books that have become faves/5 stars/THAT SPECIAL KIND OF BOOK. It’s possible that this is normal. That maybe not that many books ARE supposed to be that type of book….that’s what makes books special or favorites. But I’ve noticed a definite decline in books that are impressing me to to the highest level or that I’m declaring ALL TIME FAVES and I just don’t know why.

WOMP WOMP. This post was more for me than for anybody else. Trying to sort out my brain. It’s not that I’m disappointed with my reading year (I’ve had a GREAT reading year) but I’m CRAVING that kind of read!

 

Has anyone else felt like this? PLEASE RECOMMEND ME YOUR LAST FAVORITE BOOK??

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m more of a classic lit reader, and sometimes contemporary adult literature, which probably means nothing I will say here will matter all that much or help you BUT I have felt like this before. Multiple times. I think the older I get and the more critical I get about the media I watch and/or read the less I find things that I LOVE. Especially when it comes to books. But what helps me is reading one of the books I absolutely love and reminding myself what that feels like and usually because of how passionate that book makes me I view the next few books through rose tinted glasses. Which helps me love them more. Sometimes I forget how much I love books and I have to remind myself. Everyone feels like this and it’ll pass πŸ™‚

  2. Maybe it’s that you are older, wiser and more experienced that it’s taking some thing extra to blow your mind?

  3. I can relate to this a lot. I come across lots of books that I like, but it’s very rare for me to find something that I’d consider a favorite. As we read more and more, I think it’s normal for our expectations to change. If you think about books that you’ve really enjoyed, books that have inspired you in some way, most of them aren’t absolutely perfect. It’s like putting together a puzzle; each good book has something to offer you, but most don’t have all the pieces that fit together seamlessly. Fiction is a creative process, and creativity is not about finding what’s perfect.

  4. I have felt the same way many times!
    I think it just takes searching to find an author who can relate to you not as a general reader, but to you as an individual. Kind of like they are YOUR author.
    My most recent favorite is Dreaming In French by Megan McAndrew. I would love to heart yours thoughts about how the characters evolve.
    Keep searching for the next life changing book.

  5. I can definitely see it as being a combination of many (if not ALL) of those problems! This summer my life completely changed: at the end of July we bought our first home and then TWO WEEKS LATER we got our pup (a total spur-of-the-moment deal since we had originally planned on waiting until Christmas – whoops!) Because of that blogging and reading took a huge backseat. They practically weren’t even in the same car πŸ˜€

    Flash forward two months and I’ve only blogged a handful of times since then, but I’ve changed the way I read and it’s amazing, Jamie. I’ve seriously cut back on the review books I read. There was a random week where I was completely free to read whatever – I was caught up with reviews and all the rest were still months away from being published – and I made the crazy decision to reread Harry Potter, something I haven’t done in 8 years. I’ve made a mini-series out of it on the blog and I have to tell you, I haven’t been so excited to read in a VERY long time.

    I could have easily got stuck in a rut again with review books, books I sometimes feel forced to read, but instead I decided to read more of MY books or books from the library and I’m having an absolute blast!

    Don’t overthink it: I’ve definitely got into books expecting the world only for them to not live up to hype. I also think reading so much can hurt a bit too – by now you’ve seen all the tropes, experienced all the twists. Someone who only reads 10 books a year might have their world rocked by a book when you’ve already read 20 that follow that same formula. πŸ™‚ Don’t stress! When the least expect it, a new favorite will come your way.

    As for my last favorite, that’s a toughy. I can cheat and say my rereads of HP. I’m a biiig fan of Teddy Roosevelt and recently listened to the audio of Mornings on Horseback. Diane Chamberlain’s latest, Pretending to Dance, had me ugly crying in the middle of the night. A true favorite though..? I guess the most recent was Erik Larson’s Dead Wake which I read back in April or John Vaillant’s The Tiger from January. Favorites don’t come around every week!

  6. My last favaorite book was The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud. It’s the third book in the Lockwood & Co. series, and they are FANtasTIC. The setting is an alternate London where they have The Problem- ghosts coming back. Only kids and teens can see them, so they’re employed to help get rid of them. These books are funny and the world-building is incredible. Can’t recommend them enough!!! =)

  7. I was just thinking the exact same thing about myself the other day. I’ve given out two or three five star reviews recently, but they were all for non-fiction books, which is a bit different for me. I can love a non-fiction book, but it’s not the same way I love a fiction book. I’m in the middle of two books right now, and I’m really enjoying both of them. Yet part of me feels like I should be loving them more than I am.

  8. I’ve actually been on a great book kick lately. WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler is an emotional gut punch of a book that I loved even as it made me sob. REVENGE AND THE WILD by Michelle Modesto is one of the most original stories I’ve read in years. THE SHADOW QUEEN by CJ Redwine is my current read and I am enthralled. If you want something lighter, funner, and snarkier, go with THE LIFEBOAT CLIQUE – that book had me LOLing almost the entire time.

  9. I’ve noticed since I started blogging I’ve become a lot more critical. I think that’s definitely due to this fear that I’m being too nice and so I’m more critical than I usually would be. I’m always conscious on whether or not I’m being too nice or too critical and it’s tough to find the balance.

    Part of my also thinks it’s due to the fact I don’t usually go into a book blind anymore. Before I found that I could pick up a book read the summary and that would be enough to make me buy it. Now though, I tend to check the goodreads rating and a few reviews before making the jump and I feel that it does effect my overall opinion because I’ve already gone into the book knowing what to expect.

    I’ve also taken to reviewing every book I read at the moment and I think maybe I shouldn’t do that. Instead I should give myself time to read a book without having to think of how I’m going to construct this review and such.

  10. I think anyone who’s been reading “critically” (whether in the academic sense or casually) for a while goes through this. Anyone with a hobby that they’re passionate about is going to be susceptible to this problem. Think of the foodie who tries new things all the time and maybe they discover that they like escargot or century eggs or whatever… but even though they think those things are yummy, they can’t compare to mom’s gumbo or a slice from that little pizza shop on the corner, the “real” favorites. And that’s OK!

    I haven’t checked your archives to see if you’ve reviewed these already, but a couple of my recent favs have been A Darker Shade of Magic by Schwab and the Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas.

  11. I think all of your reasons are the reason, Jamie, and also none of these things. I have had every single one of those thoughts…and it was frustrating for awhile, but now I’m kind of okay with it because I’m realizing that not every book can be that kind of book. Usually when that happens, I just go back and reread, which I really, really encourage you to do. You’ll feel better. I did and it’s because my favourite books – the mind-blowing, life-changing ones? They’re still that for me. We do read a ton and I think we’re a lot more discerning than most people, but keep in mind that the life-changing books ARE the one-in-a-million, and we have to read the good, enjoyable ones to get to those special books – which are special not just because of the book itself, but also because of the moment we read them. There’s something about the perfect time, place, and feeling that can also affect how we read.

    Basically, keep slogging through. And re-read your favourites!

  12. I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. As an avid reader–or I’ll take it to the next level and say BINGE reader–I’ll finish reading something and think, “Wow, this was really good”, but very rarely will I say, “THIS IS THE GREATEST THING I’VE EVER READ”. I did recently come across a book that made me feel this way, *The Kite Runner*, and this book left me in absolute tears. It’s been a while since a book has made me feel a particular way and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you consider it.

  13. This has been ABSOLUTELY ME this year. *wails* I have struggled to find 5-stars, and even when I found them, I didn’t feel like they were “life-changing”. Which feels so awful for me, because previous years I’ve just discovered soooo many books that are totally dear to my soul and WHERE ARE THEY ALL NOW?!?! I wonder if ti’s because I read too much. o.O Although I hate to say “read too much” because seriously!??! it shouldn’t be like that!! So either I’m just getting more picky as the years go by and harder to impress, or maybe 2015 wasn’t the Year of Great And Wondrous Books?
    (I did just read Blood Red Road though, which is a little bit older and adjfkalsd I loved it absolutely astronomincally much. :’)

  14. Hear hear!! This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot this year. All the points you’ve mentioned here I’ve considered about myself. After a bit of debating on my own blog, I came to the conclusion that mostly I’m reading a lot more books, but I’m not any better at picking out gems. How do I know if a book is going to be a gem? The only way is to read it! πŸ˜› I don’t think I’m reading /less/ amazing books than before book blogging, but because I’m reading more books in general it seems like less. I’ve also been spending more time rereading old gems because I know I have a hard time finding good new ones. The real question for me is, how do I find more gems without having to read all the way through less shining books first?! Haha, let me know if you have any tips for that… All that being said, I just read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel and loved it; it felt like the creepy middle grade read I’ve been looking for for years to follow-up to Coraline πŸ™‚

  15. I’m having the same problem. Maybe 1 book out of 50 in a year makes my favorites list. I enjoy many of them, lots of 3 and 4 stars. But the last 5 star I read was back in January. I have been reading a lot of YA this year, which is new for me, and they seem to be very similar so maybe that’s my issue.

  16. I just did a discussion post on the fact that I am giving fewer and fewer five star ratings. I really think it’s because I am just reading so much that I can’t help but compare every book I read. The last book I read that got 5 stars and that I LOVED was Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I cried so much at the end of that one.

  17. I felt like this same thing was happening to me for the last couple years, but then two things happened. One: I read I’ll Give You the Sun which I was completely and totally enamored by. And Two: I looked back through my Goodreads at the books I’d read, and I realized that I had found some books that I really loved. I think book lovers are always chasing the high of that perfect read, and it’s so hard to find because so many factors combine. Sometimes when I get in a rut, I’ll read something totally out of my norm: which for me usually means an adult book of some romance or fantasy variety. I still enjoy it because it has similarities but it’s also incredibly different. Good luck on finding a book that clicks!

  18. I have definitely been there. I think it depends on your mood, and how much you have read that are your favorite. I think that once you have books that are fit into your favorite category you start being a little more critical about what makes it a favorite to you. This year I have been having the opposite problem where I am scared I am giving too many happy and positive reviews. I mean, I guess the year started off kinda shaky but I really found my spot and now I only give 4 and 5 stars. I am really scared that it makes me seem less valid when I do talk about these books. I honestly don’t remember my last 2 or 3 star. Good thing? For my own personal entertainment YES. But I am so incredibly scared of how that makes me look. I started some Tamora Pierce books that those have definitely moved onto my favorites list. Really fun fantasy. Hope you figure out what it is and can find more of those favorites!

  19. I do this too. I look back and think maybe I’m being too positive? I would never think that if I weren’t blogging. My goal in consuming entertainment is to enjoy it. So, loving what I’m reading would be a plus. I also have s harder time finding those OMG this is amazing. Maybe it’s time for a genre shift for a little bit? I read mostly fantasy but I’ve actually requested a few contemps. I hope they work out!

  20. My last favorite book was Traveler of the Century. It stayed with me for a long time!

  21. I tooootally agree. I feel like I know those five star books when they hit me but I feel like I’ve been reading a lot more three and four star books lately BUT I think (for me at least) I know why!
    1. My rating system has changed — I used to rate everything four stars unless I love it. Three stars was like, I really didn’t like it haha. Now I’m being much more careful about how I rate things! But that’s also because…
    2. I AM reading so many more books. I know what else is out there and how I much I appreciate those 5 star books. Which leads me to…
    3. Blogging — Admittedly I am picking up more books that I might not have if not for blogging/reviewing. In some ways that’s a good thing– I find even MORE amazing books that I might not have known about. In other ways, it’s not (trying to fit into something that really wasn’t for me but I promised to review it).
    For me it’s a mix of many things! I really do think reading so many books and which books I’m picking has affected how I rate and react to books too!

  22. Totally know where you’re coming from! I think it’s a mixture of (1) already read a lot, (2) blogging, and (3) overthinking it. Here’s why…

    (1) When you’re exposed to more and more books and stories and storytelling methods, you start to know what works and doesn’t work for you as an interested reader. And when something clicks, NOTHING ELSE compares. So when someone asks you to rate a book, you’ll become a bit more stingy with those 5 stars. Not that 3 and 4 stars are bad, but those 5-ers are Special Unicorns.

    (2) Blogging is a fun way to think critically about a book. Like you said, it’s not like you’re analyzing it and taking it apart, but you ARE thinking about why you liked it, what you enjoyed, what you think could’ve been a bit better, what you wished was there, etc. And soon, writing reviews becomes habitual and sometimes the blogging aspect can feel like a burden. Just read the damn book I’m recommending, DO I REALLY NEED TO SAY WHY, GOSH. πŸ˜‰

    (3) Only because I think many of us have been in a reading lull lately, and it’s starting to weigh on you. You’ll find the right book soon! Something will sweep you off your feet. Have you read Juliet Marillier’s DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST? Lindsey, Hannah, Alexa, and I looooooove that book. I read that back in February and still think about it!

  23. I think this way, too. After reading A Discovery of Witches in 2011/2, it became one of my favorite books. (Like, the book to which all others were compared.) But I thought that nothing else would affect be that much until I read Station Eleven this summer… and then I started to fangirl about it, and I haven’t stopped.

  24. I think I said something about this in your Coffee Date post, but I cannot remember what it was! But I do know I’ve had this problem lately myself. I definitely know that BLOGGING is a huge reason. Before blogging, I didn’t really think about the books I was reading. I would read it, go back to the library, pick up another. And blogging is great in the sense that it’s finally made me stop and THINK about what I’ve read and then the FEELS hit big-time. But blogging has also made me more critical. I examine books and take them apart and critique them to the point that I don’t even know WHY I’m doing it. So sometimes I just like to take a step back, read whatever the hell I want, and not review them afterward. Because why do I have to review EVERY book I read? That’s certainly not a rule, and I don’t know why I made it one initially.

    And I totally got off track. Anyway! Blogging is a huge reason, and I think the fact that it’s harder to impress me and I’m really stingy with my 5 stars as well that are working against me. Honestly not thinking the whole stinginess is that bad. I really want to give those 5 stars to the books that TRULY deserve it and the ones that go above and beyond anything I could have imagined. But with the amount of entertainment and TV shows and books I’ve consumed, I think it’s become harder to impress me. If I read a whole bunch of books in the same genre, I need an immediate switch because they’ll all start to blur together after awhile. And of course, hype is a big one too. Sometimes I build up books too much and I’m just like STOP don’t ruin it before you read it! Hype has certainly wrecked whatever I thought of a book before, because it didn’t reach those high expectations. Such disappointments.

    Recently I’ve read books I LOVED but that didn’t quite hit that OMG THE FEELS THE SHIP THE EVERYTHING moment. But you know? When that moment happens, it’s so worth the amount of books I go through that don’t really make an impact on me. I think I’m beginning to feel okay about the fact that most books AREN’T hitting that for me. Because when they do, they’re sometimes life-changing, mostly incredible, and always impressive and amazing. And that makes them all the more special for me. I do also think that because I’ve been reading more slowly, and taking my time with books, it makes a huge difference. I used to devour them so quickly, especially when I still cared about ARCs and shit. But then I started reading less this year, but the books I’ve read have (mostly) all been really good, enjoyable, likable. And the ones that became that NEXT NEW FAVORITE thing for me were few and far between, but they linger way more often than they did before.

    Great post, Jamie! I hope you find that new favorite soon. πŸ™‚

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