21.8.14

A growing problem

I'd like to think it's because of the way I was taught to eat food - if it's on your plate, you finish it. And that somehow this extended in my mind on how to read books - if you started it, finish it.  Or maybe I just watched too much Mastermind.

It used to be a point of pride.  No matter how plodding the book, how utterly bad the writing, how boring the plot, if I'd got past the first dozen pages, I was going to finish it. If only so I could utterly shred it apart once I was done.  That was the rule.

Somewhere down the line, though, that changed.  I think the first book I consciously put aside was American Psycho*, which was just too .... 

Then came the ill-fated re-re-attempt to read Ulysses. Which, by the way, I blame for the stoppage of my blogging back then. 

And since then, it's become increasingly frequent.  I get halfway through a book, and if I can't take it any more, I discard it.  Just like that.  And not just with books that are bad.  I've even got to the point where I'm comfortable with leaving a book just because I don't like it.  No more 'oh I should read it to expand my horizons', or 'I should be open to all forms of writing', no more 'oh but novels are meant to be deep and full of pathos and misery'.  Screw that.

No regrets, no feeling of ashamed guilt, no itch of incompleteness.  Just, away, and onwards.

Maybe it's the increased awareness that there are so many better books that I could better be spending my diminshing time on.  Maybe it's the acceptance that I simply don't like some genres and styles of writing, and more importantly, that I don't have to.  Maybe it's just the fear of disappointment, and being content with the books that I know appeal to me**.  Maybe I'm losing that sense of urgency and drive to go read the works of all the amazing authors I have only heard of thus far.  Maybe it's that I know the world is shite, and I just can't deal with more tragedy and pain and angst in the fiction I read for pleasure, however well-written they may be.

Maybe it's just a phase.




* I was certain I'd posted about this before, but can't seem to find any mention on the blog.  I might have deleted the post.  I do that quite often.
** I find myself re-reading a lot.

4 comments:

The Bride said...

Just wrote a post about it-ish. Same pinch.

I think it's part of growing up. The learning to walk away.

I plodded through Ulysses because it was something I wanted to do. And I did enjoy parts of it. But I choose which is going to be 'that' book for the year or two.

Generally though, not so much. I'm now going to embark on The Name of the Rose. Hope it goes well.

km said...

I'm mostly afraid of disappointing Proust when I meet him in the next life.

??! said...

The Bride:
What you said.

Incidentally, I'm reading The Island of The Day Before right now. Same pinch same pinch.

km:
Just give him a cookie ;)

Tabula Rasa said...

tl;dr