The Highs And Then The Lows

I’ve often wondered if I’m alone in experiencing the frustrations of extreme reading highs and lows. You may know what I mean but in case I’m making no sense let me explain.

 You start a book and the first 100 or so pages or a blur of reading frenzy. No sooner have you opened the first page when your desperate to reach the last, and yet you never want to put the book down so delectable is it to you. But then somewhere in the middle or towards the end your focus starts to wane, your interest lessens in intensity and no longer are you up into the earlier hours reading but instead you’re struggling to get through more than 10 pages.

It’s a curious and fairly regular recurring state of mind for me to find myself in, in fact it even happens with books I really like. I’ve just finished Annabel by Kathleen Winter, I loved this book as you will soon see from my imminent review, and yet towards the last 100 pages the book became slightly sluggish for me. It wasn’t Annabel that to me was accountable to blame. The book was incredible and in my opinion stayed in most parts superbly written to the end. And yet still I found my attention wandering. I felt impatient, keen to reach the end, my TBR list began to loom at me once more, demanding me to pay attention to a new story.

This feeling seems to be increasing which leads me to think it really isn’t the books at fault but just my own lack of patience and desperation to start something new. And yet there are books that start off fabulously and then quickly ascend into dreary apathy and boredom.

So do you experience reading highs and lows? And if you do is it because you too are keen to reach the end and start something new? Or is it a problem you have experienced with particular books where you find the writer accountable?

I loved for example Before I Go To Sleep from the very first page and was hooked from the word one. However towards the novels end all of the high praise I had been singing for this book began to fade. Had I made a mistake in claiming this to be one of the best books in 2011 I wondered. The ending to me was hasty and rushed giving me a huge feeling of coming down from a big reading high.

So it would seem there are two different types of reading highs and lows. There are the one’s that for all I know, only myself in my impatience experience. And then there are those which we get from books that start with huge potential and then summit into poor writing, bad endings and stylistic flaws. Some writers just don’t seem to be able to maintain the perfection with which they execute the beginning of their stories and then carry it through to the end. Does anyone else find this frustrating?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you have highs and lows? If so which type? Which writers have you found suffer from these writing highs and lows? And which books if any have had this effect of great excitement followed by extreme disappointment for you?

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9 thoughts on “The Highs And Then The Lows

  1. This happens to me too, if I’m taking too long to read a book I often get a bit bored of it by the end, even if it is a good book. I think it’s just that there’s so many books I want to read if I haven’t finished one in a few days my eye starts to wander to all the other pretties on the shelf……

  2. I know exactly what you mean. My last book – The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay – had a different pattern. I was hooked at the start, it drifted in the middle, but by the end I was engaged again and sorry when it finished. Crime novels tend to be the worst offenders for me – too many unsolveable plots with unconvincing explanations – so I generally veer towards the psychological and the character driven where it’s usually less of a problem.

  3. Ah phew, I was starting to worry it was just me! I think it must be a mixture of impatience and sometimes poor writing.

    I sometimes have that up, down, up again sensation Fleur, I think if a book takes too long to read your attention inevitably wanes. I have to say though I find crime fictions alright for sustaining my attention, but then the only one’s I read really are Linwood Barclay and they are quite character driven I think.

  4. I’m getting very impatient with On the Origin of Species [etc] by Charles Darwin but he should probably be excused because it wasn’t really intended as light reading 🙂 I think I’ll probably put it down for a month or so before I continue reading it.

    Sometimes it’s just that I’m not really in the mood for a particular style of writing. If a book feels like a slog I put it down and move on to something else, otherwise you end up hating something you should really enjoy.

    I finally finished one book last week which had been hanging over me for about 4 months! It was actually very funny, when I gave it a proper chance.

    • I can imagine you are, looks like a very taxing book.

      I think that’s a book you can dip in and out of though. With fiction I find you need to focus more as you can easily lose the connection and momento with the book if you dip in and out of it. The whole atmosphere can be lost if you don’t 100% give yourself up to the book. But for me factual/non fiction has more liberty to it. What do you think?

      I agree though you have to be in the mood for a particular book. I’ve picked some books up and tried to read them countless time with no success, then I’ve picked them up for the 10th time when in the right mood and loved them!

      Which book was that? Karl Pilkington?

      • No, the Karl Pilkington book was short – It probably only took a couple of hours, if that. The one that took me 4 months was a fiction I borrowed from work. I thought it would be a quick read but it was actually very intense (and clever) but the type was tiny.

        I think I need a few light reads for October. I’m spoiled for choice.

        I’m looking forward to us choosing the next Book Club book. I have bought When God was a Rabbit – but as it’s October perhaps we should wait one more month and read a gothic novel or a horror for Halloween instead?

  5. Light reading is sometimes needed! What have you got in mind? Fear The Worst made pretty good light reading for me in September.

    I was going to suggest something a bit scary : ) Why don’t we both come up with some idea’s? I think Dave is going to bring a list of classics too but I’m sure there will be come on there. Maybe keep WGWAR till November?

    • Sounds good to me. 🙂 Halloween is my second favourite holiday. (That sounds very American but you know what I mean). Something creepy, spooky or scary would be great for this month. It’ll also be completely different to any of the other book group selections we’ve come up with so far.

      • Ha I know what you mean though, Halloween and Christmas just have so much atmosphere about them. I agree it will be something totally different, think Holly has her heart set on something Christmasy in December. Seasonal bookgroup : )

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