flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
There are three reasons this is a dumb question. Well, okay, set of questions, since it’s almost invariably the irritating double-whammy of “Whatcha reading? What’s it about?”
1. Almost no book I own can be easily summed up in a few words. Go ahead, try it, I’ll wait.
Maybe I’m just picky, but I think describing most of my books — particularly since I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy — in a few words either makes them sound terrible, or doesn’t properly explain the book. I feel like you want the answer to be, “Ponies!” or “The Franco-Prussian War!” Actually, I may just make that second one my stock answer.
2. Many, many of my favourite books have terrible cover art — not specifically terribly drawn, but full of bosomy ladies doing things dramatically, even if the lady in the book a. has no bosoms to speak of, b. dresses as a boy most of the time, and c. is more straightforward than smoldery. Therefore, the simple expedient of holding the cover out silently doesn’t go so well, since it’s invariably followed by either, “Oh. Romance,” or “Ohh! Didn’t you love 50 Shades of Grey?”
No it is not and no I did not. Which isn’t to say that I don’t occasionally read a romance novel (ideally a Regency, even more ideally with a breeches role. You find me a Georgette Heyer with a girl pretending to be a boy and hilarious consequences and I am a happy camper.), but I get tired of every book I read being assumed to be a romance. This happened most recently with Robert Heinlein’s Friday, and I didn’t have the energy to explain that it’s about a bioengineered super spy finding her identity in the world, so I settled for a withering look.
“Consider yourself withered.” – Lord Charlington of Libraricus
3. I’M READING! Interrupting me while reading, much like interrupting me while watching a new episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (back when that was a thing) may cause me to get stabby. (My brother knows this well, as when Buffy first started airing, that hour of TV time was sacrosanct and any interruption would be met with, “No talk. Buffy.” A repetition would probably have led to flung items, but my family never risked it.) Why does everyone assume I’m just dying to put down my book and tell them why it’s great? Why don’t we understand that yanking me out of the story suddenly results in squishy whiplashed brain, making it even more impossible for me to give you a decent answer?
Get your own book! If you must know more about mine, stop playing Candy Crush for two seconds and look up the title. Read a synopsis by someone who WASN’T blindsided by having to edit a 200 page book down to on sentence instantly.
Damn kids on my lawn.