By JT Ellison
Thanks, Carly, for that little trip down memory lane. I never know which I think about first, Carly Simon or ketchup, but by God, I remember the words of the song, and the feelings it evokes. Very nice job of branding, that.
So. Anticipation. Great word, huh? Nothing quite like it really. It’s one of those terms that means the same thing to every person who read it. And I love the anticipation of reading a book from my favorite authors. In my mind, having something to look forward to is one of the best parts of reading.
But when it’s one of my literary gods, I’ve got strange habits.
Child, Sandford, Connolly, Slaughter, Gerritsen, Eisler — when one of those authors has a book coming out, you better well believe I’m marking the calendar, counting down to the on-sale date. And in the interest of helping the numbers, I don’t pre-order the books. I want to know that perhaps, in some small, infinitesimal way, my buying the book during the actual release week may be the sale that puts them on the bestseller list.
With the title bought and taken home to be revered for a few hours, I find myself stalling. I want to read the book. I NEED to read the book. I open the pages and gaze, unseeing, at the print. But something in me just doesn’t want to. Not yet. I put the book on the bookshelf by my chair where I can see it. I tease myself, sometimes for weeks. Knowing that I have this treasure so close builds the anticipation to a fever pitch.
I avoid any and all reviews of my gods’ books, too. I can’t be bothered with what other people think, I need to make up my own mind. Does it stand up to the series? Did the character do what I expected? Is the writing to par? Am I still going to love them as much as I have in the past???
I sit, and I watch the book. I admire the cover. I wonder about what’s inside. And finally, with great reluctance, I clear my schedule, get the book off the shelf, and start. I’ve yet to be disappointed.
But a new horror entered my exquisite self-torture this week. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows has been one of the most anticipated books for me this year, as well as millions upon millions of others. For the week before the release, I left the Internet behind, ignored the news, sang loudly at the top of my lungs any time the subject came up. I refused to have this book ruined for me.
I was successful, if you can believe it. Despite ridicule at my extreme measures, friends who dangled tidbits, waiting to see if I’d take the bait, the book arrived Saturday, pristine and, thankfully, with the story unspoiled. I opened the box, gazed longingly at the book, and . . . set it aside. Somehow, it sat for a full thirty-six hours before I felt sufficiently prepared to experience the final episode in this amazing series. I took Monday off — didn’t answer the phone, left my email alone, and read. I wasn’t disappointed.
I’d like to salute J.K. Rowling. "Bah!" to the naysayers. This woman has single-handedly changed the lives of millions of children, giving them the most wondrous gift of all — a love of reading. And for the adults she’s affected so spectacularly, like me, if I ever have a child of my own, I will be honored to share and experience Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Dumbledore, Sirius, et. al. anew.
So tell me. Who do you anticipate the most???
Wine of the Week: 2004 Sutcliffe Ddraig Goch — A Colorado red named for a Welsh dragon.
P.S. I will be off for the next two weeks getting my stupid wrist fixed up. Our intrepid guest blogger, Toni McGee Causey, will be subbing for me while I’m away. Treat her well!
J.T.,I know just what you mean about anticipation and the sensual dance we do once we have them — the waiting, the admiring, the lusting until we finally consummate the relationship and read.
I’m looking forward to the last Harry Potter, though it wasn’t one that had me on pins and needles. I’ve enjoyed the series but haven’t been consumed with it . . . (Ouch! Did someone just throw a kettle at me?)
I’m looking forward to the next Jasper Fforde book, the next Terry Pratchett Discworld one. Can’t wait to see the Simpsons movie (yeah, I know, low-class tastes).
BTW: I hope that wrist heals in record time. We’ll miss you.
Oh, don’t you love that pre-reading foreplay?
I admire the cover and the heft of the book. I read the ISBN and the words “First Edition.” I gaze at the selected typeface and read the acknowldegments. Then, oh yes, then … I savor the first line.
And those books I anticipate the most breathlessly? Ken Bruen’s. James Lee Burke’s. Laura Lippman’s.
JT, I do the same with books I’ve waited for. I often look forward to Diana Gabaldon’s next title in her Outlander series, which is always so satisfying b/c her books are so huge and hunky. It’s a pleasure that will last awhile!
We were looking forward to the last Harry Potter too.
This year I got new books from a number of favorite writers: Charles Frazier, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, Janet Fitch… and Haven Kimmel has a new one out in the fall so I’m waiting for that.
All good wishes and healing thoughts for your wrist – take arnica before and after the surgery!! It makes a huge difference in recovery time.
Oh Billie, I LOVE the Outlander series,. I was telling my husband last night, there are two series that I can always pick up, re-read and get completely sucked into every time — Outlander, and Harry Potter. Thanks for the arnica tip!!!
L & P — You know what’s cool? Every few months I realize I’ve discovered a new author that I love, someone that I’ll look for so I can have that intimate moment of anticipation. My list of literary god grows and grows. At some point, I’ll just be surrounded by a mass of unread novels ; )
Yikes! Carpal tunnel? We need you all healed up and mobile for your lauch.
Billie & JT — Hooray! I’m shocked when people haven’t heard of Gabaldon. LOVE her books, as well as Rowlings.
JT — I joined the ranks of those who pretty much put their life on hold to devour Deathly Hallows. And, I too, avoided the pre-reading spoilers.
All — It has been a LONG time since I found a series that hooked me like these did. Any suggestions?