I’ve gotten better about not always finishing books that I start, which is a very good thing. Feeling compelled to finish a book I don’t like has been a bit of a curse for me—a curse I’ve had hanging over my head since high school.
Case in point: One year in English we were running out of time to read a novel before the end of term. Miss Drummond (whom I idolize; it’s because of her I’m a grammar fascista) summarized something like ten chapters and then told us to skip ahead.
I COULDN’T DO IT. I had to read the whole thing, which necessitated a few long nights of extra homework so I wouldn’t fall behind the rest of the—sane—class.
I know. I’m a sad, sad person.
Part of my obsession with finishing books is getting personal "credit" for them, because for many, many years, I’ve kept a running tally of the books I read. If I don’t finish a book, I can’t very well put it on my list of books I’ve "read" for the year, now can I?
Well, for 2008, I decided to make a sub-list: "Partially-read Titles." I cannot tell you how liberating that list has been. So far I’ve added half a dozen books to it in just the first five months of 2008. That is UNHEARD of for me.
Yippee! What freedom!
My other reading habits are still a bit odd, and I’m the first to admit it. The other day my husband noticed me swapping between various books and teased me about leaving four—yes, FOUR—books on the couch, all with bookmarks in them.
"Exactly how many books are you reading right now?" he asked.
"Oh, not that many," I assured him, with a dismissive wave of my hand. And then I began counting.
I always have at least one book in my purse or in the car. Ya never know when you’ll have time to read in a waiting room, lobby, or whatever. A car book is a MUST. That’s one.
There’s the one I’m reading to the kids at bedtime. That’s two.
The novel hubby and I read together before bed. That’s three.
The book I read a page or two of each night as I brush my teeth. That’s four.
And the classic I’m slowly working my way through (it’s not one you can sit down and absorb hundreds of pages of in a sitting, but I do love it). Five.
The library book I need to get through because it’s due in a couple of days. Six.
And don’t forget the one that #2 and I started awhile back and haven’t gotten around to finishing. Seven.
And the audio book I’m listening to via iPod. Eight.
The non-fiction book I pick up when I have a few spare minutes. Nine.
Not to mention two writing books I’ve cracked open a bit here and there but haven’t really committed to reading. I don’t think I should count those, though. Not until I have actual bookmarks in them.
I did have two books I was going through for research, but that project is on a backburner, so I'm not finishing them right now.
(No, I don’t have a book in the bathroom. At least, not right now. I have read plenty of books that way in the past, though. For now, that’s where I do my magazine reading. Of course.)
I have a stack of other books waiting for me on my dresser. I have two big cardboard boxes stuffed with books that I’m "storing" for my parents while they’re away. (In reality, Mom let me raid her bookshelves before she packed them up prior to their latest mission. She’s got some of the coolest books ever.) Then there’s the huge list of books I plan to read that grows faster than I take away from it.
Hubby asked if keeping all the stories and writing styles straight isn’t a bit difficult. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I suppose it is a bit odd to flip between Victorian literature, Fantasy, Non-fiction, LDS literature—and a couple of other genres—in the course twenty-four hours.
Or maybe I just have a short attention span.
Hey, look! What’s that over there?
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