Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Change of Heart

Okay, so I did some research about my "when to quit" dilemma.

Answers were all over the board. Some people said that as soon as you start questioning why you're reading the book, it's okay to decide not to continue. Others said you needed to give it a certain number of chapters, or a certain number of pages.

And of course, there were the diehards who said you had to finish, no matter what. Some of my most admired reading friends fell into that category, and I was mildly ashamed of myself for even asking the question, given their stalwart sense of what was necessary . . .  even when they very kindly said they wouldn't think less of me if I didn't hold myself to the same high standard.

I had fun researching the question and soliciting opinions. In the process I realized I'd probably never get over my disappointment if I didn't stick to my personal goal.

It's the goals we set for ourselves that are the hardest to abandon, am I right?

So. Onward! I said I would read all the Booker winners, and I will. Because no one can give me permission to abandon a self-imposed goal except myself, and I'm not going to do that.

Besides, the book has picked up a little bit lately. I think I'm actually beginning to enjoy it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Help Wanted

Okay, I'm just not feeling it. (There! I've said it.)

A Brief History of Seven Killings is the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner. To complete my quest I am honor bound to read it.


I am 107 pages in and not liking it one bit.

It's written in voices, so every chapter is narrated by someone different. There have already been plenty of beatings and killings and assorted other acts of violence described, not in gory detail, but in sufficient detail that I'm continually peeking around the turning of a page with anticipation of more words I don't want to read painting pictures I don't want to see.

In pursuit of the Bookers I've suffered through several books I didn't like (How Late It Was, How Late comes readily to mind). But this time I am just not willing to do it.

I don't want to be a quitter. But I do want to be discerning.

This is especially important because there are other books on my 2017 list that I suspect will produce a similar reaction, and because I committed to many of them through various challenge reading lists.

So help me out here, blog friends: What are your personal rules for disengagement, when a book just isn't cutting it for you?

And what I really mean is: how do I know when to quit?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lists Upon Lists

I stumbled upon this interesting list of "future classics" and scanned it with interest. Is it just a sales pitch from Barnes and Noble? Or a clever way to spark conversations about what makes a classic and how one would recognize it in a contemporary novel that has not yet stood the test of time (one definition of a classic)?  Or maybe a little of both?

I'm proud to say that I've read quite a few of these--15, to be exact--and 9 more are on my TBR list. Thank you, list reading! You've really paid off by making sure I'm reading excellent books.

Life of Pi. Cloud Atlas. The True History of the Kelly Gang. Well chosen.

But also: A Brief History of Seven Killings. The Sellout. Even Bel Canto. Ummm, not so much.

Still, it's great fun to be nudged into adding just a few more books to the TBR list. And that's a classic experience, for sure!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Midsummer Dawn

Greeting the sun, as we turn toward winter.