Angry Beard Power, or Why I Need Book Recommendations

George RR Martin at the Comicon

Behold the Beard of Power. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve hit a slump.

Not with writing; that continues at the usual pace.* But I haven’t found a good book in what seems like ages.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve found lots of okay books. Some of them I’ve even gotten halfway the way through before losing patience and interest. Others meet the fate described here. And a few I finish, but they leave me unsatisfied. It feels like eating a low-fat, low-calorie, no-sugar ‘dessert’ when what you really want, down in the depths of your grubby little soul, is cheesecake. Yeah, it’s sweet(ish) but it doesn’t satisfy the craving.

I’m not sure what’s going on, but I can pinpoint when it started. I began reading The Song of Ice and Fire series about eight months ago. Got all the way through A Game of Thrones and halfway through A Clash of Kings before the ennui set in. Not that they’re bad books; I can definitely see why so many people enjoy them so much. But I wasn’t feeling it.

And that’s when it started. I don’t know if George R. R. Martin is using his fearsome Beard of Power to reach out through the  internet and punish me for not finishing his epic series**, but I’ve hit the worst reading slump ever since putting that book down. It seems like I lose interest in every novel halfway through. Short story collections, too. Non-fiction still seems to be going well, but I need some fiction in my diet, man. I feel bereft without it.

So I’ve been hitting the bookstores, virtual and physical, looking for something. I’ve tried different genres: epic fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, mystery, science fiction, dystopian, literary. I even had a go at reading some sample chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey before bursting into uncontrollable laughter. I’ll admit to being a little stumped as to what to do next.

But I do know exactly what I need: I need a good book. A new one. Going back to an old favourite, no matter how much I love it, isn’t going to fix this. I need something new, something fresh, something I’ve never read before that hits me between the eyes like a squirrel on PCP that has learned to fly.

Tall order, maybe. But it’s been done before. Last time I hit a slump like this, Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind pulled me out. And somewhere out there is a book waiting for me to read it. I just have to find it.

So: what are you reading?

*Varying between rocket ship and sea ooze, with nothing in between.
**Of course, he hasn’t finished it, either. So there.