It pains me to admit that I quit reading a book recently without finishing it. Even worse, someone I know (and who is reading this) gave it to me and I feel so badly for not liking it and not being able to finish it. It’s rare that I don’t finish a book. I can only think of one other time that I can clearly recall, but I have a feeling there were one or two other times; I’ve just blocked them out.
I don’t know why it bothers me so much to not finish a book. It’s like I feel a responsibility to myself? to the author? to the person who recommended the book? to the book itself? to finish the story. I think in many cases I feel like I’ve made an investment by starting and I become somewhat attached to the characters, even if I’m not all that caught up in their story, or am put off by the writing style, or for whatever other reason I’m not connecting with the story as a whole. In these instances I push on, I might start scanning the story rather than reading deeply (another thing I really don’t like doing), just to get to the end, to know what happened to the characters before moving on to my next read.
This time I just couldn’t do that. I kept carting this book around with me but not reading it. Eventually it became a permanent fixture on my nightstand. I usually read when I ride the stationary bike and often look forward to working out because it’s a time for me to read and to exercise. Now, I noticed I wasn’t working out as much and I wasn’t feeling inspired. After letting this go for about three weeks and not having picked up the book once, I finally made the executive decision two days ago to set it aside and start something else.
Thank goodness. I feel so much better, you wouldn’t believe. Books have strange effects on me.
So now I’m reading, She Who Remembers, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m back on the bike and pedaling away and getting lost in a world of tribal life in the American Southwest in the late 13th century.
If you’re wondering about the book I set aside, it’s called Return to Summerhouse, by Jude Deveraux. I don’t know why I had such a hard time with it. Perhaps I just didn’t connect enough with the characters. There is a time-travel fantasy angle to the story – which really shouldn’t be a problem for me, I LOVE fantasy. But it just didn’t work for me in this story. I made it about half-way through the book, shortly after the time travel took place, before I petered out and couldn’t go on. Sorry Jean! I know you enjoyed it but it just didn’t work for me.
We read to know we are not alone.
~ C.S. Lewis