Anticipation is All

Friday, July 30, 2010


Once upon a time, in late 1995, I was in a bookstore.  Probably a Borders.

And I saw a book.  Not just any book, THE book I had heard about, waited for, anticipated. 

I ran over, seized a copy off the shelf, and crushed it to my chest, proceeding to do a rather ridiculous happy dance there in the store.

As it turned out, that book was not worth my eager enthusiasm, as the quality was somewhat mixed, shall we say.  (Shame on you, Weis and Hickman, for toying with my affections!)

But the memory of that feeling remains.  Even today, now that I get my new hardcovers from the library, and only buy books that I've read at least once, the first time I see a book I've been anticipating is a thrill.

Yes, even when I don't read it right away.  I occasionally check in at Barnes and Noble to look longingly at the new editions that I'll read when they appear at the library.

When the book I'm on the lookout for appears on the New Releases shelf, I feel an echo of that early glee.  Like this past week, when I realized I hadn't checked to see if The God of the Hive was available recently, checked the website, and ran down to the local branch to snatch their copy.  And yes, briefly hugged it (discreetly, because it's a library book).

Getting my hands on an anticipated volume is exciting, even when, as is often the case, such a book does not hold up to my expectations.

I don't really blame the various authors, much.  It's hard to write a consistent series, and it's easier to disappoint out-sized hopes than to live up to them.  As a reader, I'm often better off with lower expectations that can be happily exceeded.  In some cases it's just more fun to be surprised by a book (or movie, etc.) that I'm not sure about than to read something that I'm fairly sure I'll love.  The sense of discovery adds an extra thrill.

So I ...wait.  A Mighty Fortress has been out for how many months?  Why didn't I know this?  Does the library have it yet?  Excuse me, I, uh, have some things to do.

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