A review of an actual book

I’m a hundred percent certain I’ve talked about this before: my wife and I both love to read. I read a lot faster than she does, but we have fairly similar tastes in reading material for the most part, so she only very rarely actually buys books. Generally once she finishes something she’ll ask me what I’ve read recently that she’ll want to read, or just go looking through the bookshelves that are slowly taking over our entire house until something strikes her fancy, and then she’ll read that.

There is a critical difference between the two of us here, because while we are both readers, I am also a book collector and my wife very much is not. She has very gently suggested to me a couple of times that we might possibly have too many books. I do not recognize that as a legitimate state of existence. “Too many books” is, for me, quite simply not a thing.

Which brings me to a little dilemma I’m having with James Islington’s The Shadow of What Was Lost.

I don’t like the story. I am not enjoying reading this book. The reasons aren’t especially interesting and fall into my Don’t Shit on Books Unnecessarily policy; I’m just not enjoying it very much, 200 or so pages into its 700 or so page length, with two more volumes already concluding the trilogy that are available but I haven’t bought.

The problem is the actual book— not the story, not the part you’re supposed to, like, look at, but the actual physical object itself that you hold in your hands– is amazing, at least in the paperback edition. The pages and especially the cover just feel great, and the book is exactly the right size, and it even smells good, and I know from seeing them in bookstores that the entire trilogy looks great on a shelf. So much so, as a matter of fact, that I’m considering going ahead and ordering the rest of the series just so that I can touch them and so that they can be on my bookshelves together, effectively as art pieces and not as things that convey a story. I mean, would I ever read them? Will I even finish this one, or will I DNF it and move on to something I’ll enjoy reading more? Or will I just keep reading it so I can hold it for longer, because it’s so pleasant to have in the hand?

This is … not a thing my wife understands. As marital incompatibilities go, I’ll take it, believe me, but if I end up ordering the next couple of books I might have to find a way to put them somewhere she won’t find them. Not quite sure how that’s gonna work, but we’ll see what I can come up with.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

2 thoughts on “A review of an actual book

  1. We are both readers, enjoying the same genre of books, and had amassed a huge number of books, hard back and paper back, in our home. We were content with that, until we had to move. Faced with the prospect of moving all these books that we had each read once and were unlikely to read again, we had to reevaluate. Now, after we both read a book or series, the trashnothing group or the library are very happy to take them off our hands. We still have a couple of bookcases full of books that we re-read from time to time (cough I’m looking at you Lord of the Rings cough), but we no longer hang onto every last book we read. And now that we are looking to retire overseas, we’re going to have to reduce again. Hope it’s easier this time.

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  2. Had the same (not visceral cos I read it on my ereader) reaction to this book. It got quite a bit better later in the book and not so great in the 3rd book. Like it lost its way.

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