Monday, June 21, 2010

So Many Books, So Little Time

I've not posted in about two weeks.  Last week I was fighting some virus/cold/nasty thing. Week before that I was in the midst of a mid-life crisis; more on that later.  Maybe.  

I finished the book So Many Books, So Little Time-A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson.  It was a fun read and introduced me to books I would never pick up in the first place.  My reading list grew by about fifteen books.

Here's what she says about not finishing a book.  "So I did something I have only in my maturity learned how to do:  I stopped reading.  Right there, on page 71, right after the hero, a brain-damaged soldier, encounters the little boy who will change his life.  I might pick it up again, I told myself.  And I might.  But I doubt it.  Allowing yourself to stop reading a book-at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end-is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment  at which you look at yourself and announce:  Today I am an adult.  I can make my own decisions."

I remember when I decided not to finish a book; something I had never done before.  I was reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez .  I was on the next to the last page and became so frustrated that I threw the book across the room shouting, "This is stupid!"  I never finished it.  

Thinking back on it, I have a hard time imagining being that frustrated by a book one page away from the ending.  But I was.  Since then I've had no trouble not finishing a book if I'm not really into it by about fifty pages or so.  That's three negatives in one sentence.  Is that allowable?

My new motto is "Life's Too Short to Read a Book That Doesn't Capture My Interest."

Here's something funny she said about trying to get interested in different books and failing.  "I'm like an animal off its feed.  I can't get into a novel to save my life.  Biographies bore me.  I've left so many open books belly down, on the green bedroom rug that the whole place is starting to look like an aerial view of a town full of Swiss chalets."  I think that's hilarious!


Pom Pom said...

Yahoo! It's nice to "see" you, Debbie. I wanna hear about the midlife crisis.
I love having lots of books going at once and sometimes I feel VERY picky when I don't like something that someone else adores. The way we process word craft is all our own, I think. I want to hear from you more, friend.

Jeannette said...

I love that you threw 100 years across the room. I stubbornly finished it, against my better judgement...I kept thinking he had to pull it out of the swamp...but no. On my "writepurpose" blog I posted a review about why I did not like it...and then a second post in response to anon critiques of my review. Writing about it helped me get over the experience of reading it...but I guess not entirely, or I wouldn't have gotten such a kick out the image of you sending the book flying.

Our time is precious...I often appreciate what you post. Thank you.

wayside wanderer said...

It's good to hear from you! I used to think not finishing a book and writing in them were really bad things. Not any more! I love the quotes you shared and I really agree. And it hits close to home. I just finished a book I hated with a passion only because it was my book club pick and I had to lead a discussion on it. I think I might rip the book up and use it for some type of art. It will feel really good doing that! :)

If you decide not to share about your midlilfe crisis I would at least be interested in tips or insight on how to navigate them.

GretchenJoanna said...

It was also a milestone for me when I threw the first bad book in the trash, because I didn't want someone to find it in the used bookstore. And on the downward slope of years, I easily get impatient with a book that isn't up to par--I know there are lots of really good ones I could be reading!

Vintage Reading said...

There is something immensely satisfying about throwing a book across the room. I once did it with a Virginia Woolf novel. Never been fond of Woolf!

Mary said...

okay, another good book!! i will probably have to get two of these, one for a dear friend that loves to read.

there have been a few books I have not finished - just a few!! :)