So for the past few Sundays I’ve been reviewing some of the new books I read this year in my futile first attempt at 15,000 pages. That got me thinking: what really went wrong with the project? What I realized was I abandoned quite a few books this year.
I’m not someone who shies away from abandoning books. I don’t necessarily like to, but if I’m not connecting with a book and it’s really a struggle, I don’t mind putting it down and just saying ‘forget it’ (albeit usually with stronger language).
Some of the books I abandoned this year I still plan to read, even. I just… didn’t this year. Sometimes there was a reason, sometimes there wasn’t. I’ve talked about the kicks and hangovers I got into this year, and obviously those played a part. But there were other books that I just didn’t want to read, or decided I just couldn’t handle. Books that I’m slowly but painfully reading and am only halfway through, I don’t count that as abandoning… yet.
So what types of books did I abandon this year? All different kinds. Here’s a couple:
Under the Dome, Stephen King
The only Stephen King book I’ve ever read is 11/22/63, and I LOVED it. I’m not a horror fan, so things like The Shining and It are out. I’ve unfortunately seen the movie It, and holy moly I regret it to this day. Obviously, Stephen King is the master of horror but he’s also the master of the supernatural, in my opinion. The Green Mile and The Stand are great examples of that. I wouldn’t classify either as horror, but they’re both very supernatural. So when I first heard about Under the Dome, I thought “Oh that’s cool.” And then I heard CBS was making a TV show of it, and I thought “That’s probably going to be awesome, but I want to read the book first.” Well, the show premiered and I still hadn’t read the book, but then my coworker brought it in and I thought it was fate. So I borrowed it…and it’s sat almost untouched on my desk for at least eight months. Whoops! I tried reading it, I really did. I started and restarted. I got probably 75 pages in. But I just can’t do it. No spoilers, as usual, but I just did not expect it to be so violent. I’m not a gore person either, and the amount of dying and blood at the beginning was just too much for me to handle. Looking back I should have expected some of it though, seeing as the story is about a weird invisible dome-like barrier that envelopes a small Maine town. It’s unlikely nothing bloody would happen there. Again: whoops.
Islands in the Stream, Ernest Hemingway
Another embarrassing fact for the English major: I’ve never read a Hemingway novel. I’ve read some short stories, but never a full novel. (Is this a good time for another whoops?) I’m not against Hemingway, I’ve just never really been drawn to him. I started reading this book because it happens to be one of my other half’s favorites. So I agreed to read it. Here’s where I went wrong: I decided it would be a good office-down-time book to read. Reading in my office during slow days/months is accepted since, especially for me, it can only enhance my understanding of the myriad uses of our language. What I didn’t realize was how slow Hemingway could be. It was a bad combination. I couldn’t focus on the book. If I’m being honest, I only got through maybe 20 pages before I looked up and though “I cannot do this here.” And so it has sat on my desk, as many other books have, for months and months. I’m determined to read it during the project next year; I want to prove to myself I can, just as I want to show my other half that yes, I do care about his favorites, and I actually did think the book would interest me. It’s about getting into a rhythm. If I can’t establish a rhythm when reading, I will lose my interest and move on to something new. Luckily, there’s another chance to pick it back up again.
So those are two of my many abandoned books this year, for two very different reasons. Now, lovely readers, are you guys book abandoners? Or are you that impressive kind of person who sticks with a book until it’s finished, despite everything?