January 24, 2012 by The Editor
Back in December I wrote, lamented really, about the fact that I had Reader’s Block, an affliction that kept me from getting into, finishing, focusing on just about anything I picked up to read. The book I mentioned then was a work of philosophy that had been putting me to sleep. My remedy was to switch over to piles of unread magazines and try to get through some of those. I breezed through several issues of Country Life and Decanter, through Cucina Italiana and Monocle and felt pretty good – it seemed to be getting me into the flow of reading again!
Another book I was reading in early December was Snow by Orhan Pamuk, a book I mentioned in a post on my other blog way back in October. I bought Snow in 2008 when Alex and I were living in Paris. I started reading it then but, distracted, I put it back on the shelf. When I picked it up last Fall, I really did intend to finish it. Come December, I vowed it would be finished before our trip to Chicago for Christmas. Last week, a mere few chapters further toward the center of the book, I decided again to put it back on the shelf, unfinished.
This isn’t about Orhan Pamuk (I think…) I read his novel My Name is Red and can’t recommend it highly enough. But sometimes If a book is weighing you down, I’ve come to the conclusion it isn’t worth the heartache. Just put it away. Maybe you’ll come back to it another time. Maybe it’s just not your thing. But why waste precious reading time on something that isn’t really doing anything for you? What’s the purpose in forcing yourself to finish a book that isn’t giving you any pleasure?
So last week I decided to implement a plan to (attempt to) read the many books I’ve bought over the past few years that I’ve not gotten around to reading. It may be a case of breezing through one or two that don’t draw me in, but the point is to not get bogged down in bits that I don’t understand or don’t speak to me. Remembering my success in getting through the piles of magazines in December, I collected a couple dozen books from around our flat and put them in a pile on the floor at the end of the couch.
While the pile isn’t really ‘in the way’ the books aren’t out of sight either. My tower of books measures about 2 feet, but it’s already getting smaller! My plan is working… My first read was a tiny little book I’ve had for years, On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. A quick, witty, engaging read, I just never got around to it until last week. Funny thing is, it’s only about 65 very small pages. It took me less than 2 hours to finish! Now I’m on Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. There is religion and poetry, philosophy and fiction. And at the bottom of the pile, holding them all up is Snow. Only fair, don’t you think?
Stay tuned for more entries of What’s My Story! In the meantime, What’s Your Story?