Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor
In March of last year, I read a book that captured my attention and my imagination. Mind Games, by debut author Carolyn Crane, resonated for me. Justine Jones was kind of an everygirl heroine: neurotic and messed up, but someone who ultimately overcomes her fears to do the right thing. She was someone I could relate to, odd and quirky and endearing. And then, that September, I read its sequel, Double Cross. Without spoiling anything, the ending of that book was a doozy, a “Luke, I am your father”-esque cliffhanger/game changer.
Head Rush, the final book in the trilogy, comes out December 6. And I have been so good! I haven’t been harassing Carolyn Crane on Twitter or Facebook for spoilers. I haven’t hired super-secret ninjas to break into her house and steal the manuscript. (How exactly would one hire super-secret ninjas, anyway? Are they listed in the yellow pages? That kind of negates the “super-secret” thing, doesn’t it?) I haven’t even staged a hunger strike demanding the book’s release. (Which is a shame, too, because I do really well with protest music.) And now we’ve reached the final countdown: Head Rush will be released in e-book form from Samhain Press (coincidentally, one of my favorite publishers long before Crane announced the final book would be published by them) on December 6, approximately a month and a half from now.
So why do the next six weeks seem so long?
The audio book, however, is being released by Audible.com on October 25. That’s so close! I can totally make it until October 25. Not to mention I saw an advertisement just last night for a free audio book download when you sign up for a 30-day trial of Audible.com. Excellent! I can have my cake and eat it, too: download Head Rush as my freebie, then cancel my subscription at the end of the trial. Then, on December 6, I can download the e-book from Samhain so I can have that, too.
Except…I’m not much of an audio book person. I can read much faster than I can listen, and I just don’t have the time to listen to an entire audio book. I don’t even have a car where I can enjoy it on long trips. Plus, for me, I think a book loses something when you don’t read it yourself. There’s nothing like the experience of reading, of letting a book overcome you and take over your entire imagination. Reading is a more active medium. You have to imagine these characters, their appearances, and their world, and all you have to go on is your own imagination. (Maybe a decent book cover if you’re lucky, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen protagonists inaccurately represented on covers.) A good book involves you in the act of creation. I learned, back in my Interpersonal Communication class in college, that 90% of human communication is nonverbal: body language, facial expression, tone, etc. When you read a book, you have to fill all of this in yourself. You lose some of that when you listen to a book, rather than read it.
But, if I stick to my print-centric guns, it means that other people will know what happened to Justine, Packard, Otto, and the Disilluionists SIX WHOLE WEEKS before I do. All will be revealed…to them, while I’ll still be in the dark until December. I can’t decide whether my attitude is, as my father used to say, cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I think it might be.
There’s one thing I want to make clear here: the fact that I am here, whining and moaning about my impatience…is actually a really good thing. I read a lot of books. Earlier this year, I was averaging about 30 books a month. Work commitments and other things have reduced my volume significantly, but I still read in quantities that would put most people to shame.
I also forget probably 95% of the books I read. If you were to ask me about a random book I read a year ago, or even six months ago, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you much about it. In about half those cases, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you anything at all. I look at my list of books I’ve read in 2011 and think, “Did I actually read that one?” I have no objection to cotton candy fiction, and I read quite a bit of it: fiction that has little substance, and passes through me quickly without leaving a lasting impression. I enjoy it well enough at the time, but there’s nothing to it. And even for the books that aren’t cotton candy fiction, few of them really stick long term. There have been several instances where I’ve started reading a book series, then stopped…not because I grew tired of it or because I stopped enjoying the books, but because I had simply forgotten about it by the time the next book came out. Seeing the release might serve as a reminder of the previous books, but more often than not it’s more like, “What were those about again?”
But over a year after the release of Double Cross, I’m still fully invested in the outcome of this series. I can’t wait to find out how everything turns out…and hence, my problem. I am not a patient person. I don’t want to wait.
But wait I shall, counting down the minutes until December 6.