Monday, August 8, 2011

How's Your Appetite?

Post by Jenny

Something happened on my recent vacation that’s never happened to me before. I lost my appetite. I’m sure it was because of the heat, the humidity, and our general state of busy-ness, but I didn’t often get hungry. And when I did, nothing sounded very appetizing. Even the wide variety of theme-park food—from Emeril’s to the Dippin’ Dots cart—had me saying eh. As a result, I came home three pounds lighter. (Of course, now that I’m home, my appetite, and those three pounds, have returned. Them: “We’re back! Did you miss us?” Me: “You're kidding, right?”)

But what’s more distressing this summer is that I’ve also lost some of my appetite for reading. Summer is the time for page-turners by the pool, for late nights with my nose in a book, for sneaking away in those rare empty moments for just one more chapter. But instead of devouring a book from start to finish, I find that I’m…snacking. Grazing. Piecing. Picking. I’ll get part-way into a book and realize that it’s not the book I’m hungry for. So then I nibble away at another for a while before rejecting it, too. Browsing through my to-be-read stack has become the equivalent of staring blankly into my refrigerator.

In considering how I might remedy this, I realized how many of the words we use to describe food can also describe writing. Take, for example, a sweet love story. A spicy romance. A meaty plot. Fresh prose. Crisp dialogue. But even with a long list of culinary adjectives, I still don’t know what I have a hankerin’ for. A piquant mystery featuring a saucy old sleuth? A hard-boiled crime story pitting a salty cop against an oily villain? A stick-to-my-ribs Western? A smorgasbord of short stories with something for every taste, even the "pleasant savory" umami? Perhaps I should re-read an old favorite for some comfort food, or give up all sense of restraint and indulge in the ultimate summer brain junk, the equivalent of a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped Twinkie (as pictured above; yeah, it's a real thing) dipped in chocolate sauce. That kind of book might not make me smarter, but at least it has no calories.

What books are whetting your appetite this summer?

12 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

If you like historical romance, I highly recommend any of Laura Frantz's books. That'll get you out of your reading funk, I'm pretty sure.

I really hope you find an enjoyable book to enjoy from start to finish in one fell swoop.

MegB said...

Thanks Eileen for the author name as I am very much interested in such stuff so surly going to read this.

Laila Knight said...

Quit it, you're making me hungry. I want an eclair right now. FYI....those yummy words can also be applied to..ah...romantic situations.

Marlena Cassidy said...

Wendy S. Marcus' debut novel 'When One Night Isn't Enough' is a fun, quick read if you want to break out of your funk. Most of Barbara Michael's novels are good for that too. I would describe them as chocolate lava cake. You know you shouldn't, but oh, you want to.

Kay Theodoratus said...

I sympathize. My reading time's down to ... even if I'm at the beginning of Game of Thrones. [My kids tell me I have to get through the first 100 pages.]

If you like Irish humor and read fantasy, you might look at Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series. The first one is "Hexed". [He's the only one I know who has integrated salad spinners with Celtic fantasy.]

Kerrie said...

I just finished Jim Davidson's The Ledge and it was awesome. Maybe that will help you regain your reading appetite.

Dean K Miller said...

I'm in the midst of "The Desert Hedge Murders" by NCW's own Pat Stoltey. It's enjoyable and a different flavor than I usually read. I think Kerrie's suggestion sounds interesting as well.

Name: Luana Krause said...

I'm digging into non-fiction now. Reading a couple of books about screenwriting: Save the Cat and Your Screenplay Sucks.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've been having the same problem, Jenny. I read a chapter and just can't get into the book. Not sure what it is. Haven't lost my appetite for food, though.

Thanks for sneaking in that mention of The Desert Hedge Murders, Dean.

P. Carol Jones said...

Every summer I read one book from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Only one because I cannot pull away once I've started. I have read the whole series, so this summer I started over with the first one. I got to fall in love with Jamie all over again.

M Pax said...

Been reading Game of Thrones, which I'm enjoying. It's long, so it's taking me awhile.

Jenny said...

Wow, I haven't kept up with comments at all! Sorry about that. Thanks for your book suggestions, busy readers. Now, has anyone tried one of those twinkies?

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