Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reading Mysteries

Just a quick note: Back in the swing of term now, overwhelmed by reading I have to do, I can scarcely believe the phenomenon I experienced again over the holidays. I'm sure some of you must share this, though, the careful hoarding of a book, anticipating it, putting off beginning it. That's what I did with Elizabeth George's Careless in Red.
First, I made sure that there was no "should" reading left before I settled into my big leather armchair with Careless. Instead of starting on Boxing Day when we had some down time, I finished other books and waited 'til we got back to the island on New Year's Eve. Even then, I found myself teasing out the whole time I spent with this book. Especially when I was younger, I remember, I would try to put the brakes on as I came to the end of a book whose characters I loved. Now, with a dense and satisfying mystery such as George's, Ian Rankin's, Reginald Hill's, among others, I do the same thing, but I often do it from the second or third chapter in. As the year ended, and I settled in my chair by the fire, I'd read a few chapters, then get up to make a cup of tea and check my e-mail, then bring the tea back to the chair where I'd read a few more chapters. Then maybe I'd take a break to stoke the fire -- never because I was bored or restless with the story, but because I knew it would be over all too soon.
I did manage to stretch it out for two days, a great way to hunker down against the deep snow and cold outside. And now, sadly, that time is just a pleasant memory, but it does leave me with a question for you: Do you play similar games with your reading time? Or do you prefer to read mysteries in one big gulp? Or do you eschew those faster-paced works altogether and instead choose something that's tougher going, heavier chewing?


  1. Hah! If only I had big chunks of time...I have to be very cautious with new material. It musn't be too fascinating, or I will be a sorry mama and terrible employee after a very late night!

  2. I remember those days . . . and they do, truly, eventually become only a memory, and then there will be reading time again, occasionally even big chunks of it. . .