Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Overheard in a waiting room...

I overheard this exchange in a waiting room yesterday:

Man: Are you still reading that book?
Woman: Yeah, but I hate it.
Man: Then why are you still reading it?
Woman: I keep hoping it will get better. I hate to stop reading a book until I have finished it.

What say you, dear readers? Do you give up if you don't like a book? Or, like "The Old Man and the Sea," do you become obsessed with finishing the job?  Or do you put it away for awhile, let it simmer on the back burner?

 I have done all of the above.

I have tried to read Dow Mossman's "The Stones of Summer" three times since I first saw the charming documentary "Stone Reader." I can't. I just can't.

We won't even talk about "War and Peace." I finally stopped putting it on my New Years' resolutions.

I stopped reading "You Can't Go Home Again." I have no idea why. I was loving it.

I stopped reading the first Harry Potter book after about 20 pages. Several people whose opinions I respect say I need to give it and the series another try. We'll see. 

I borrowed Jonathan Franzen's book "Freedom" from the public library when the novel was receiving positive reviews. Couldn't read it.

I have never been able to make it past the first 100 pages of "Dr. Zhivago," even though it's one of my favorite films. Everyone says if you do so, you're home free. I'll try again someday.

Somebody once said we rediscover books when we're ready for them. This has happened to me, too.

I couldn't read Hemingway's novels until I was in college. The wait was rewarded.

I took a break during my first stab at Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" and finished it a few months later while sick with kidney stones. What a gripping read.

I found Pete Hamill's "Forever" unreadable at first go in 2003. Eleven years later, I loved it.

Second readings?

I have reread Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" as well as Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." Both have aged well. I have reread Pete Hamill's memoir "A Drinking Life" twice. The book contains not one wasted word. It's his best work to date.

I do believe, however, in the "too many books, too little time" line of thinking. So I don't do much rereading. 

What do you think?


Blogger troutbirder said...

Your right Franzens book was overrated and mostly unreadable. I do finish books I don't agree with sometimes only to broaden my perspective but never finish really poorly written one. One that theory I ignored the preface in several of Newt Gingrichs historical novels but finished the books...:)

7:54 AM  

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