Last week I had this odd thing happen, which has happened before but I had not noticed it. I finished reading a book and right after I picked up another book, which was not of the same sub-genre – and it just did not appeal to me at all. I had just finished reading Battle Magic and I wanted to read one or two short stories from one of the collections I got sitting around before picking up the next novel. Apparently that was a horrible idea. I started reading four different short stories, none of them spoke to me. That doesn’t seem all that likely that that would randomly happen. I think what happened is that I enjoyed Battle Magic and what I really wanted to read just after that was more character focused second world fantasy, not experimenting science fiction. Realising this after beginning the fourth story. I put the short story collection down and went to listen to a podcast instead – much better.
So today when I finished reading The Last Unicorn, I very deliberately did not pick up my short stories or another book right away. I went to listen to podcast and play a bit of Civilization 5 instead, even though I did feel much more like reading, but I did not want to spoil another poor short story for my self by not letting the book simmer a bit first. I am sure that tomorrow I can start a new book or read short stories without them being tainted with my need to read more of the same.
I think this phenomenon is part of the reason we like to read long series. Once finishing one book, you just pick up the next one and it is great because it is more of the same awesome stuff you just finished. Your head does not have to reconfigure itself to a new genre, mood, author or writing style. When I fall into reading a lot of the same kind of stuff it is also in those periods where i read one thing after another with no breaks in between. If works are similar enough it is not a problem – they work like books in a series, even when they are not.
So from now on I will try to give a book a least a few hours before I lay the next one on top of it, so I don’t ruin either by blending the flavors together.