Giving Up: Step Away from the Book

When it comes to reading, I’m usually not a quitter.

I’ve read all the Fire and Ice series (4,451 pages), slogged through Anna Karenina (960 pages), and forced Almanac of the Dead (768 pages) down in a couple weeks.

And where did that get me?

While Fire and Ice was fun to read, I can’t remember what happened in the show versus the books. Which one has zombie Catelyn? I don’t remember Anna Karenina at all except some tragic scene at a train station.. maybe? And I couldn’t even tell you what Almanac of the Dead is about.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that reading should be primarily for enjoyment. I think that my English classes in college ruined that for me. I’d enjoy a book and then be forced to talk about its themes in class, most of which were projected onto the book by the student. You think the author used red throughout the book to signal danger? Could it also just be that red is the color of blood and firetrucks?

In three separate English classes, I was assigned to read David Foster Wallace’s essay “Consider the Lobster”. Every single time, I couldn’t make it through the first page. It was the first and only time that I didn’t finish a reading for class.

I couldn’t do it. David Foster Wallace’s descriptions are so wordy that halfway through a sentence, you forget what he was describing and have to roll your eyes back two lines.

Why bother? Reading should be fun, not laborious.

Lately, I’ve been putting down books that don’t strike me in the first 5-50 pages. There are 129,864,880 books out there, according to Google. Why spend so much time on one that you don’t enjoy? That’s for college students, not adults.

So, have you put down any good books lately?

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