The Society of S, Susan Hubbard

One time a few years ago, I had strep throat, and my parents were out of town so instead of going to the real doctor, I went to the Student Health Center on my campus.  They didn’t want to see me, but when they said they couldn’t see me because I wasn’t enrolled for the next semester (I was going to England), I started to cry, and I cried and I cried and I cried and they agreed to see me after all.  And – perhaps in revenge – they gave me an antibiotic that gave me shocking mood swings.  I cried every time somebody said “no” or “not”.  It was weird.  Like “Don’t worry about it” would make me sob helplessly.  And then eventually I went to the real doctor, and they gave me a new antibiotic, and this one made food taste bad.  No matter what I ate, it was nasty.  Except edamame, which isn’t very nourishing if that’s all you’re eating; and I lost like fifteen pounds in a week.

I only bring this up because I haven’t liked any of the new books I’ve read lately.  And I’m beginning to wonder whether I have some kind of sickness of the brain that makes it impossible for me to enjoy books.  I haven’t yet found the book equivalent of edamame.  I don’t know what to do.

The Society of S is all about a thirteen-year-old called Ariella who lives alone with her father, and she gradually discovers that she’s a vampire.   Her friend dies, and she figures out what she is, and she goes to find her mother, and then her mother and father meet up again, and they talk about feelings.

The blah parade continues.  The book was a quick read, but even so the action dragged.  Everything interesting seemed to happen offscreen, and the writing was so, so, so self-conscious, always making excuses for itself.  The characters weren’t fully fleshed out, so they weren’t interesting and their relationships weren’t and nothing was.  Even when things that had been mysterious (sort of) got revealed, they were boring.

Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  None of my books are any fun anymore.  Maybe I will never read a good book again.  Maybe books are mad at me!  Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Doctor Who so much lately, and I’ve made books angry by raving on and on about Doctor Who to everyone!  And books got jealous!  And now books are having their revenge!  What if Martin Millar releases his sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl soon, and, and, and I’ve become such a soulless TV-watching slug that I won’t be able to enjoy it?  What if Eloise Jarvis McGraw wrote a book that was much like Greensleeves only better, and it’s in a set of papers that are meant to be released in a few years, and when that happens, I DO NOT EVEN CARE?

…I’m typing this while watching the first Doctor Who episode ever to contain Cybermen.  I wonder if that makes this complaint less than sincere?

  • Mumsy

    This has happened to me, not once but many times. But the last time – oh, joy! – I was redeemed by The Time Traveler’s Wife, which was so good that I can’t even remember the title without being transported to a marvelous Christmas morning that contained beloved family members, bacon and eggs and coffee cake, a huge stack of books, and a deliciously comfortable chair…and that nearly perfect book.

    *sighs*

  • jennysbooks

    Wait, really? This has never, ever happened to me before. This often happens?

  • Ah! I love edamame. But my comfort food when sick is home-cooked tapioca pudding. I think because my dad used to make it for me when I was getting over the flu. I’ve never had an experience like those side effects with antibiotics. They both sound miserable!

    Well, as for the book slump, do you ever re-read favorites? maybe going back and reading a book you really, really love will refresh you and give you an idea of something else to start on. Old friends between pages can be very comforting.

  • This has happened to me. Though not right now as I am reading 3 teriffic books at once. Anyhow, as Jeane says, what about reading something you know you love? Or an author that you usually love. You’ll snap out of it, don’t worry.

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