Still Reading

I was never a person who read more than one book at a time. And I was never a person who would quit on a book.

Or so I would tell myself.

That’s not totally true, about giving up on a book, and even I know it. My mom loaned me a book on a plane once because I’d read everything I brought with me (pre smart phone obvs) and she told me flat out it was terrible and it was okay to give up on it. I remember absolutely nothing about that book except it was a long flight delay so I gave it a shot — but I didn’t even get through takeoff before I gave up.

If you’re an author, I’m sure it wasn’t your book.

I also gave up on the first Fifty Shades book. I was at an event and a person I love said she’d read this book that was the best thing she’d ever read. It was pre all the hype or the movies and I’d never heard of it so I read the Amazon preview – thank God in heaven I didn’t just buy it outright – because I’m all for a little soft core porn if that’s your thing but it’s predictable where it’s going from the outset and it’s so just SO badly written that I couldn’t stomach it.

The writing of the characters and dialogue, not (necessarily) the sexy times. Do what you want, I’m not here to yuck all over your yum. If you love those books , hey good on you, I’m happy for you.

Anyway I have given up on books before but it takes a lot to get me there. Which is dumb and if you’re locked in a death spiral with a book – unless it’s an assignment that you must slog through – maybe it’s okay to just say, “Pass.” Even if it rubs you the wrong way to do it.

Anyway I think that’s why I’m reading more than one thing right now.

Which, again, I never used to do. I was a “read it all the way through and start the next one right away” kind of gal.

I’ve been reading The Paris Wife for a long time. Not actively – I mean I started it at the beginning of the pandemic and just could not get started. Or just fits and starts. It features Hemingway and its very , well very much reminiscent of Hemingway, and I always struggled to like Hemingway’s writing too.

And then all reading sort of fizzled for a while.

I read some. Octavia Butler. Margaret Atwood. Jasper Fforde. I would sometimes read their books. And sometimes I’d buy one, enjoy it, and buy & and hoard the next book, for a mysterious “later” when I’d be, I don’t know… worthy to read them, maybe?

I don’t know what that means, either. I think that was the problem.

I would still BUY books. I just didn’t always read them.

Then I bought the whole series that starts with Old Man’s War. I have followed Scalzi’s blog for years; it was more than time – he has so many other series since then that I also haven’t read yet – anyway I bought them and I started packing them on my trips, for the flights, and they were so good. (Of course.) But just really full of well-drawn characters, well-woven plots, space and intrigue and somehow both deep and light all at once.

And then, like a bursting dam, I started reading the digital and paper books I have on hand.

And I then I dusted off my Amazon Kindle AND updated to a digital library card so I can get my hands on more books.

Books books books. I read in bed. I read while I pedal in the evening. I read.

I am back, baby!

But through all this, I borrowed The Paris Wife years ago from a family member and it’s still here looking at me. And it’s good. It really is. It’s just…

I don’t know how to finish that sentence but I’m 3/4 through and I still have to put it down every so often and read something else. But I sort of feel like…

… like I’m reading the story that makes up the pieces of The Sun Also Rises though the author hasn’t said so yet, and it unsettles me. Like the author has made her fictional world too close to the real one and it’s going to hurt in places I don’t want to feel.

So… hey, look at that, I could re-read The Parable of the Sower. That’s a great read, about an all too believable dystopian future that’s (gulp) now almost the present. Mixed in with its own internally consistent theology that I won’t be able to fully stomach … but it’s a novel, not the living Word.

And it’s not going to slice into me like The Paris Wife.

Also, it’s brilliant. Back in a bit.

To try to finish this book I can’t get through for what I’m sure is no fault of its own.

4 thoughts on “Still Reading”

  1. Welcome back to the land of reading ! I can never read enough. Some of my favorites are Amish and Scottish romance. But will read almost anything I can get my hands on. There have been a few though that I couldn’t finish too !

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  2. I’ve quit on books before, but it’s rare. One of them still surprises me to this day, because he’s otherwise one of my – if not the world’s – favorite authors: Stephen King. I just could not stomach “Dreamcatchers.” I didn’t want to read a book about poop.

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  3. I’ve given up on a few – Peyton Place, when I realized I disliked everyone in the book; Ulysses (which I have tried a few times) because I feel like someone is spinning me around in circles when I try to read it and Kafka’s The Trial after I told someone (who I knew to be a great reader) that I was reading it and he said, “Is there anything about that book that makes you want to continue?” And I honestly couldn’t think of any reason I wanted to finish it, so I didn’t.

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