>> Sunday, July 27, 2008
Sometimes the books section of my Sunday is just downright enjoyable. Such was the case today. I found a review of Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry which has me considering adding it to my TBR list.
Next I found a gem of an opinion piece by Brian Doyle entitled “The freedom of not reading a book to its mind-numbing finish.” As someone who has struggled to learn to let go of a book I wasn’t enjoying, this really caught my attention. A few quotes that really caught my eye (the full article is at the link).
Something we don't talk about much when it comes to books and reading is how almost all readers finally arrive at one crucial and telling moment, one that changes your reading style forever -- that instant when you realize you aren't going to finish the book you are diligently plowing through, and you don't have to finish it, and you can fling it off the porch with a sigh of relief, and that such flingitude does not mean you are an ignoramus.
Almost every reader achieves this moment of maturity -- and it is a remarkably freeing line to step over.
Of course, in many books slogging pays off wonderfully
I know only two people who still obsessively finish every book they begin, and in both cases I suspect they are the sort of people who organize the socks and underwear in their drawers by color and manufacturer and country of origin.
But after 10 pages I slowed, and 30 was work and by page 50 I found myself thinking I really should finish this . . . The word should, as you know, is a death rattle, for we never do what we should do, which is the secret to a great deal of human joy and pain.Ah that “I really should finish this” feeling. I admit to giving in to it and I also admit to having the courage to say ‘yes, I should but I don’t want to.’ I’m getting better at reminding myself that I cannot possibly read all the books out there that I might want to read someday, so what I really should do is put aside the ones I’m not enjoying and read as many as possible of the books I really do enjoy.
Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author most recently of "Thirsty for the Joy: Australian & American Voices" (One Day Hill, Australia).