I'm in a cranky mood, and I'm reading one of a variety of books suitable for just such an occasion. I happen to be reading a #3, but as you'll see, I had a lot of choices.
- The comfort read. You know what I mean -- the book you love so much it can't help but cheer you up. Advantages: It's familiar and soothing. Disadvantages: Your cranky mood could ruin even the sunniest comfort read or, worse, the book could actually cheer you up. (Some cranky moods really deserve respect.) Likely caption: "Ahhh."
- The completely new-to-you genre. More of a distraction, like when you utter nonsense to a tantrum-y toddler and he has to stop screaming to assimilate this new datum. Advantages: Who cares if you hate it? You can always blame your reaction on your cranky mood. Disadvantages: It could make the cranky mood worse: where before you had independent reasons for being cranky, now you have new, genre-specific reasons for über-crankiness. Likely caption: "People actually like this crap?"
- The high-concept book that everyone is (or was, if it's been in your TBR for a while) raving about. It's quirky and different, with world-building and odd dialogue and complicated backstories for all the characters. You can hate it with impunity, thus cementing your status as the naysayer, the cranky reader who, like Mikey, hates everything. Advantages: You didn't really want to like it. Disadvantages: You'll alienate all the die-hard fans who swooned over the dreamy other-worldly hero. Likely caption: "I really have to stop buying books just because everyone else loved them."
- That book you started months (years?) ago and couldn't bring yourself to finish but didn't hate enough to declare it a DNF. Advantages: Either you finish it ("yay") or you officially slap the DNF sticker on it ("double yay"). Win-win! Disadvantages: You read six more pages and toss the book to the side in disgust because its banality is no match for your cranky mood. It's not a bad book, just too wimpy for this situation. Likely caption: "Can I be bothered to skim the bits I've already read but forgotten?"
- An anthology. Multiple authors means more targets for the arrows in your cranky quiver! Advantages: There's probably a short story in there you like and one you hate and a third somewhere in-between. That means if you want to feed the crankiness, there's fodder in there, but if you find you're ready to cheer up, there may be a gem among the stories. Disadvantages: More pages means more time wasted finding whichever story best fits your mood. Likely caption: "You ever notice how there's one famous author, one author who sounds familiar, and a complete nobody?"
- A book by a "frenemy," i.e., an author you know in person or online whom you don't particularly like but don't dare say anything bad about. Even if her writing is sheer bliss, you'll be able to fold your feelings for her into your preexisting crankiness. Advantages: Next time you see her (on Twitter or in real life), you'll be able to say truthfully that you read her book and it perfectly matched your mood. Disadvantages: You still won't be able to sell the book to a used book store or on Amazon given that it's signed by the author. Likely caption: "See? I just knew her work wasn't as good as everyone says."
- A book beloved by your best friend. You know you're going to hate it, you've insisted to her that you're going to hate it, but she so loves this book ("the vampires wear kilts!") she won't take no for an answer. Advantages: You'll hate it, but you'll have an excuse: "Sweetie, I tried. I must have been in a bad mood." Disadvantages: She makes you give it another chance, insisting that it's actually better upon re-reading. Likely caption: "What the hell was she smoking when she fell in love with this dreck? `Cause whatever it was, I want some."
- The best selling author's latest effort. You knew it was going to be wildly sub-par for this particular author but out of loyalty you just felt you had to buy it. Advantages: With any luck, you won't ever need to buy another of her books -- or at least not in hardcover (or digital but with the elevated agency price tag). Disadvantages: It could actually make your cranky mood much worse. Likely caption: "She used to be so good!"