While waiting for edits from my most excellent agent, I've been ordered to read, look at art, go to mass, whatever it takes to refill my wells of creativity. So, I've been listening to oratorios, hanging out at the art museum, wandering the botanical gardens, right?

No. Mostly, I've been shampooing carpets, cleaning out cabinets and, in general, doing domestic stuff that's been on hold for the last year or so that I've been working toward the point when somebody would order me to go read, look at art, go to mass and do whatever it takes to refill my wells of creativity.

However, I am managing some reading. Most of what I've been doing is picking stuff up, reading 50 pages and tossing it aside.

How come?

Nothing happens. A lot of it is really well written. Gorgeous prose. The kind of thing I aspire to. But nothing happens. I keep turning the page expecting, hoping, begging the universe that the next sentence will be one or all of the following:

And then the building exploded.
And then a guy in a red coat took over the world.
And then this big landslide took out the last warehouse holding food.
And then all the corn in the land was afflicted by a deadly blight.
And then the dog died.
Her cake fell.
She ran out of shampoo.

Anything. I don't care. Just to have SOMETHING happen. The thing that I know from which point the story will turn, the protag will learn something, the world will be ripe for alien invasion.

Call me old-fashioned. Or maybe just old. Used to be, I loved reading introspective things that went on and on while the protag slowly came to realize some fuzzy ideal. I admit it. I've grown shallow, embarrassingly so.

Now bring on the murder, mayhem, bank robberies, train wrecks and nuclear holocausts, or even a really good kitchen disaster. I'm easy. Write what you want, just make sure something happens.

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I agree, Mindy.

Have you tried James Lee Burke? Beautiful prose, interesting themes, and something always happening. He's the best crime fiction writer out there, IMO.
Oh, I doubt you've grown shallow. Or, I hope you haven't grown shallow because it would mean I have, too. My problem with the deep introspection and the fuzzy realization is that the older I get the fewer of them seem new or fresh to me.
Thanks for the rec, Jude. I"ll check him out. Have had friends tossing me recs for ages. Got the books piling on the TBR table. I'm going to start plowing through them.

John - I kinda hate to admit that I'm old enough to just not care all that much about actualizing myself. My needs are simple. Two inches off my hips would sustain me for months. A coordinating outfit devoid of coffee spills, popsicle stains, or the remains of my kids' science projects is enough to make me giddy. Forget introspection, give me an adventurer in Borneo, stuck in a tree with his last poison dart. And if all he ends up doing is having wanton sex with the female enemy agent who rescues him...who am I to quibble?
I’d read that :-)

Introspection has its place, but sometimes I want to read something fun (and I don’t necessarily mean humorous). It’s like watching junk TV. I don’t do it for the informational value. I do it to give my brain sixty minutes off (after I forced my children to bed).
I'm reading Burke's JOLIE BLON'S BOUNCE right now. Every time I read one of his book, I wonder why I leave him alone for such long stretches sometimes. A wonderful writer.
Umm, James Lee Burke can get irritating sometimes. Yes, he has some wonderful descriptions but they are popped in there in little chunks -- as if he had thought: "Hmm, time for some beautiful language again!" And the stories and characters are rather repetitive.

Not sure what books were so boring. I toss a lot of them also, sometimes for that reason, sometimes for other reasons. I have no time to waste.

A book need not begin with an earth-shaking event. It need not even begin with a murder if it's a mystery. But it should be immediately interesting and if it's genre, it should shortly become a page turner. Literary fiction can move along on the sheer pleasure of good prose.
Mindy Tarquini, International Woman of Action.

I'm with you all the way. And that doesn't mean it has to be non-stop action, but there does need to be a catalyst for a story - which also does not mean that the murder has to happen at the beginning, but there does need to be a point.
Mindy Tarquini, International Woman of Action.

If I looked good in thigh high leather stiletto-heeled boots, I'd totally adopt this moniker.
My recommendation for the reading doldrums is always Christopher Brookmyre. Be My Enemy (with the subtitle F*ck this for a Game of Soldiers) might do the trick. Action a plenty and sick puppy laugh-out-loud funny.
Thanks for the rec, Sunnie. I'm always into funny. Considering my real life, that's probably a good thing.
Try any book by Robert Crais. Things not only keep happening, they keep getting worse. Delightful Elvis Cole P.I. Series, plus real thriller stand alones like HOSTAGE, recently a movie with Bruce Willis.
Thanks, Jack, I will. I watched The Hunt for Red October on AMC yesterday and was reminded how much better the 'and things keep getting worse' aspect makes a story.


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