Woeful Confessions From A Reader

I abandoned a book today.

No, not on the street or anything but in the sense where I stopped reading it over three hundred pages in. Just stopped. Couldn’t do it anymore. I looked at myself and asked the very serious question, “are you really going to finish this”, and wasn’t surprised to find out that the answer was no. My heart just wasn’t into it.

I hate when I do things like this.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m committing this sin often. In the last four years, I can only think of one other time where I was this far along into a book and just kicked it to the curb. Looking at you Red Moon, which was dreadfully slow and at the halfway mark I just couldn’t take it anymore. You would think a political thriller about werewolves would move at a different pace… guess not.

Anytime I give up on a book I have guilt. Like it’s some kind of front on my personal character. I can almost hear Gandalf the Kindle talking with his Kindle friends, “do you believe my human got three hundred pages into this book and then just gave up“. This is why I keep his WiFi mostly off. That and it saves battery life.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not like I was giving up on a brand new book. No. As a matter of fact, this is a book I’ve already read, which was probably implied in the opening sentence of this paragraph. Based off my Game of Thrones excitement I finally decided to jump right into A Feast For Crows. I said the hell with the fact that I didn’t like it the first time and the hell with combining it with A Dance With Dragons. I was going to ride my Game of Thrones high and bang this one out. The thing of it is, I was enjoying Crows too. Way more than I did the first time I read the book. Thank you, HBO. The problem was, I wasn’t making any progress. There were long stretches where I wasn’t even reading. Some of it had to do with half hour lunches but the more I read the more I understood that Crows was eating up a lot of my reading time. That’s what I get for choosing a nine hundred page book. The way I had calculated things I was going to finish Crows by the end of the month if I was lucky, and it was just going to screw all my reading up.

I haven’t been shy about documenting how my reading hasn’t progressed as smoothly as it has in years past. This has bothered me all year and I’m starting to understand that I’m most likely not going to meet my goal of forty-two books. This bothers me. A great deal. As I was reading Crows I saw that I hadn’t finished a book at all in September. Not one. Not even a graphic novel, and that’s where I had to draw the line.

I couldn’t let a whole month go by without contributing to my Good Reads “read” list. No sir. I had to make the tough decision this morning to abandon the book or accept the fact that Crows would eat up all my book life for the rest of the year. I decided to make a change. It was a difficult decision that was fueled by the release of a new Stephen King book next Tuesday (Happy Birthday to me!) and a book on my Amazon wishlist for dirt cheap. I love dirt cheap books.

I decided to roll the dice and get myself a cheap win heading into Uncle Stevie’s newest release next week. I made my peace with it. You wouldn’t know it by reading this column, but it’s true. I think I made the right choice and am optimistic that I can make a late year-end push to my reading goal. That’s the hope anyway.

It turns out that the book I chose, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, is written by Patrick Ness. This is significant only in the fact that he wrote the Choas Walking trilogy, a series of books that I fell in love with hard last year. When I bought the book this morning for dirt cheap I didn’t put it together. It wasn’t until later when I was looking up book reviews, or Good Reads scores, that it clicked. I see this as promising and optimistic foreshadowing. Perhaps a sign that these last couple of months I can gain some traction and get some reading done.

Here’s hoping anyway… I don’t think my brain can take abandoning any more books this year.

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