Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bridge Book

For the first time since December of 2005 (The Human Stain), I think I'm going to have a 'bridge book' -- a book that I start in one year and finish up in the next.

 It's Taylor Caldwell's fault.  My longtime literary crush on her suddenly burst into ardent flame over the holidays.  After polishing off A Prologue to Love, I found another of her books, The Wide House (1945) on my TBR and was compelled to begin it even though I had to go back to work the day after Christmas and The Wide House qualifies as a Chunkster.

Call it the grumblings of a fussy old bookworm, but bridge books annoy me.  I like to have the decks clear and everything counted up tidily for the old year and the new year ahead of me clean and bare, but shining with possibilities.  I have the same feeling when I have an unfinished book at the end of a readathon.

Although bridge books offend my OCD bookworm, the downside of finishing a book in the late hours of the old year is that the finish might come too early.  Back in 2008, I was aiming for my first triple-digit year.  I hit my dinger (Endurance) somewhere around 6 pm on December 30.  Basking in my triumph, I decided not to start another book until January 1.  Although you could count that time in mere hours, it felt interminable.  By 11 pm on the 31st, my fingernails were all bitten down and I was pacing around my apartment carrying Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  As soon as the midnight fireworks were done, I cracked the cover.

Last year, I finished my book (Stuff) mid-afternoon on the 31st.  I flew from the US to Korea the following day, and by the time I settled in my airplane seat for the long flight, I was ravenous for the printed page.  I ran through The Best of Everything like pigs through the corn.

The beauty part of the bridge book seems to be that since a lot of the heavy lifting has been done in the previous year, a reader can hit the ground running and almost immediately begin posting stats for a new book year.  There's also not that aching withdrawal.  Some year though, I'd like to strike that perfect balance and finish a book just before the clock strikes twelve.


Anonymous said...

For a moment, I thought you were going to post about The Bridges of Madison County!

I'm not fond of bridge books myself, even if they are hard to avoid.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

This is so funny. I thought I was the only one who hated not having a clean book slate for the new year. Sometimes that final week in December is torture because I feel like I'm not "allowed" to start any big new books yet. Silly, but I know exactly how you feel.