My long holiday vacation is nearly over, and while we missed all the snow that was dumped elsewhere, the cold air has settled in for awhile. Once I got over the flurry of house cleaning early in the week, I made a trip to the library. After not reading much of anything for a couple of months, I read two novels quickly back-to-back: first, Rebecca Stott's literary mystery, Ghostwalk, and then Per Petterson's To Siberia. I really loved his previous novel, Out Stealing Horses. They were both good without being great, but it was a good way to kick-start my reading life in the New Year.
Now, I would have thought that I would read even more as I got older, but compared to the voraciousness of my younger self, the number of books has steadily dropped off, year-to-year. Of course, I no longer work in a bookstore, and I'm also much more restless and unfocused, as if I were aging backwards (though not physically, unfortunately). So this is what it's like to be an adolescent!
The other thing I've come to realize -- and reading these two perfectly satisfactory novels emphasized it -- is that I no longer take much pleasure in reading merely satisfactory books. At first it was just that I couldn't and wouldn't read bad writing or sloppy writing (which automatically disqualifies most, not all, popular fiction), and now my persnicketiness has ratcheted up to the point that I don't even want to read merely "pretty good" books. This sounds ridiculously snobby, but I prefer crankily discriminating. So, rather than bounce around from one thing to another that I don't really care about, I'm going to be very picky this year. Along with the ever-present five or ten pounds one is always trying to lose, I guess that's my resolution.