There’s certainly no way to avoid having a TBR if you’re a voracious reader. And honestly, even if you’re not a voracious reader, I still think everyone has a TBR, even if they don’t call it that (I’ve mentioned the fact that my mother never reads books on this blog before…yet even she has a list of a few that she always says she’s going to get around to).
One problem that I’ve encountered with having a TBR, however, is that I tend to get really excited about what I’m going to read next, even when I’m still finishing another book. And while that in and of itself isn’t a problem, it’s the fact that I start imagining what that next book is going to be like before I even get to it. I’ll read the general plot summary on Goodreads or the back of the book, and then I start thinking about what the main character must be like or what kinds of adventures he/she will end up on. It’s like I start telling myself the story before I’ve even gotten to it.
I’ve been having this problem lately with the book Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. I added it to my TBR about a month ago after a guy from one of my classes recommended it to me, and I plan on reading it this summer, because the synopsis sounds really interesting. And while it’s probably still going to be a few weeks before I have a chance to get around to it, I think about the plot sometimes and what I’m expecting of it. It’s set in the 60’s in LA, and is supposed to have a noir-esque feel to it, so I’ve been imagining all sorts of plots and characterization for different characters in the novel based on what I know about the 60’s in LA and the type of mood that noir films had. And while all this thought is making me more excited to read the book, I can’t help but feel like I’m going to be disappointed when I finally sit down to read it, because there’s a good chance that the book is nothing like my imagination has made it out to be.
I don’t know if any of this has to do with the fact that I’m a writer, so when I hear a general description of a story, I start to piece a plot together in my mind, but this could also be a universal problem that other people have. I’m just one person, so I wouldn’t know. I don’t quite know how to stop doing it either, although I’m not sure if I’d want to, even if I knew how. Like I’ve said, imagining what a book is going to be like before I read it hypes me up even more to read it and it’s fun to think about. It’s the disappointment that comes when I actually read the book that drives me crazy.
Anyway, that’s all that’s really been on my mind today. Has anyone else ever experienced this, and how to you deal with the disappointment when a book you’ve had on your TBR forever doesn’t live up to the story or the characters you’ve built up in your head?