It’s always been a problem for me to put a book that I’ve begun and not yet finished reading aside. It feels like defeat.
Yet, I currently have five books I have set aside in favor of others. Despite my intent to get back to them one day soon, the fact remains that 2013 is the year in which I have put more books on the shelf unfinished than ever before.
Let’s take a look at the books in question, whose allure was not strong enough to keep me in them until the end.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My mom gave me this book for Christmas during my first year of college. Naturally, I didn’t want to delve into such a large book on semester breaks, so I let it wait until my #postgradlife had begun.
On January 18, I started the book (thanks, Goodreads, for keeping me accountable). I made it to page 170 by early February and decided to halt my reading there. It wasn’t keeping my attention and was just taking too long to get through.
One day, I will sit down to it, able to give it full attention, and hopefully find the point that makes me want to keep going.
Attention Please Now by Matthew Pitt
I picked up this collection of short stories at AWP 2012 in Chicago. The author was there, personable, and had a sister who went to Beloit. I felt obligated.
I initially began reading this short story collection shortly thereafter, reading the first story on a spring break before going back to my last semester of college. Then, well, the whole finishing college thing, internship, and everything else happened.
I picked it up again on March 22. I read the first two stories and decided it felt like a waste of time to be reading this particular collection when I was bored with it.
But, who knows? Maybe in 5-10 years, I’ll be all about it…
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
This book has my favorite story of how I acquired a book.
In May 2011, I was in London on a brief trip from my study abroad home of Glasgow. Of course, I took myself on a wee literary tour. Along the way, I found myself in the Charles Dickens House and Museum, where Dickens lived while writing Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers, and Nicholas Nickleby.
Since I already owned Oliver Twist, I decided on Nicholas Nickleby.
Of course, I didn’t get around to opening this one up until April 1. Admittedly, I was mostly reading this in my break room at work. Fox News is not the best background to attempt reading Dickens in, FYI. By mid-April I had set this one aside as well.
Instead, I think this book will be a late fall read. Something about Dickens with a pumpkin latte (or ale) while sitting amongst red and yellow trees is highly appealing.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited is another one that I have started, stopped, revisited, and stopped again. Oops. Really, it is no fault of this book.
Last summer, I began it in July. Then I realized my internship (and unlimited access to the Milkweed library) was halfway over and I ought to delve into Milkweed books.
So, I picked it up again on June 12. Once again, it was set aside in order to pick up other books–namely, to do the Harry Potter reread and attempt to read The Orphan Master’s Son in time for Books and Bars. I still haven’t picked this one up again, since Books and Bars is happening again tomorrow and it’s time to finish How Should a Person Be?
But, soon, I shall re-revisit Brideshead Revisited.
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
This book fell victim to Harry Potter reread and some editing projects. My bad, entirely. This is the only Books and Bars book that I failed to finish in time for a book club meeting. I should either be proud or ashamed of myself.
I had all the intentions of finishing it. First it was, I’ll do this over the weekend before book club. Then I got an editing project and it was, I’ll stay up mega late the night before reading it. Then I got a phone interview for a job the next day and decided to be well-rested.
I haven’t touched it since.
But, rest assured The Orphan Master’s Son. I am coming for you. It may just be fall when I do it.
I guess my biggest self-discovery of my reading life this year is that I am okay with putting books aside for the short-term. I’ll get to them eventually, when I am meant to read them and partake in their joys. Or when I am ready to read a book I will hate–and greatly enjoy it for that.