Here's what I think. I think that some years are good book-reading years and some years are not-so-good book-reading years.
For example. Last year, I had a not-so-good book-reading year. It was frustrating. It caused reader's depression. (I just made that up, but I think some smart psycho-goofball could run with it.) I could not find a book in the first 11 1/2 months of 2008 that made me want to tear through it without stopping. In fact, some of the books I plowed through took me weeks - nay, months!
See, a book impacts more than just, oh, enjoyment or knowledge or even a sense of accomplishment. To me, reading wraps up my day. A good book gets me to bed earlier (which is a good thing), because I just can't wait to crawl back into a story or idea before falling asleep. Or not falling asleep, if the book's really good. It gives me a wonderful sense of satisfaction throughout the day, just knowing that an engaging story is waiting for me when I get home.
And a not-so-good book does the opposite. It makes me kind of fractious knowing that I can take or leave whatever un-good book is waiting for me. More like homework than reward at the end of the day. So I stay up later watching old Law and Orders or CSI: NYs, then grumpily read a few pages of the not-so-good book and huff off to sleep. I don't know. It's sort of stressful not having a great book to read.
OK. So I've established that 2008 was a not-so-good reading-year for me. But 2009 looks promising. I got a little jump on the good reading-year in late December with Pete Hamill's North River and Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. Tore through both of them in less than a week right around Christmas. And thanks to a Barnes and Noble gift card and a book swap at the office, I've amassed a good stack of promising good reading-year books for the coming weeks.
So farewell Year of the Not-So-Good Reading, and welcome Year of Looking-Pretty-Good Reading. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to get back to.