Bouncing back from a bad book

Alexander DeinekaWhen I tell people that I’ve just finished a book I didn’t really like, I get a strange reaction nearly every time. People apologize. Then I have to tell them there’s no reason to apologize and it all gets rather awkward.

In truth, I’ve gotten rather philosophical about books I didn’t like. If a book is good enough to keep me reading, but not appealing or interesting or well written enough for me to really like it, it’s no one’s fault. The book just wasn’t right for me. That said, however, reading a couple of not-great books really takes the wind out of my sails and I need to do something to get the boat moving again.

Here are some things that help me bounce back, in no particular order:

  1. Figure out why the book didn’t work. Knowing exactly why a book didn’t grab me helps me pin down where my dissatisfaction comes from, so that I know what kind of book I need to cure it.
  2. Read an old favorite. Obvious, of course, but old favorites are a great way to get cleanse the palate. If I know why a book didn’t work, I can find an old favorite that works as an antidote. Usually, I want something funny and in another genre.
  3. Accept that not every book can be a winner and resolve to be hopeful about the next books on the TBR pile.
  4. Switch genres entirely to clear the palate. It’s the “And now for something completely different” approach.
  5. Write an absolutely blistering review describing why the book failed—but don’t publish it because of #3.
  6. Binge watch something for a few days before going back to reading.
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2 thoughts on “Bouncing back from a bad book

  1. I totally agree, although I have been known to hit “publish” on number 5. My own number 5 is to write a post, wait one day before editing and publishing. Normally, the next day the post comes out less scathing.

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