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No More Boring Books!

Monday, January 20, 2020

So something really crazy has happened: in the past 10 days I have read three books for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge. I don't say this to brag, I say it because three books is more books than I've read in the past couple of months combined. Pretty embarrassing.

One of my reading characteristics is that I am able to read pretty quickly. I don't in any way think that speed is an indicator of being a good reader or even enjoying to read, it's just a characteristic that I have.

So, combining my knowledge of these two facts:

1. I haven't read many books the past couple of months, up until I selected a few for this challenge
2. I am a quick reader

and sprinkling in the reality that

1. I have an infant

I have come to a conclusion: I don't have time to read books I'm not interested in.

That might sound pretty obvious, but allow me to explain: on most occasions, with a few exceptions, I push myself to finish reading any book, regardless of how captivating I find it. I'm not sure what has historically driven me to do this -- Maybe the book will get better! Maybe I should give it one more chapter! -- but overall, I make myself finish a book. Maybe it's the teacher in me, knowing that some students may have abandoned a book they later ending up loving if we hadn't read it together as a class. I also know that different books speak to us at different times of our lives (I was always wary of suggesting Austen to a middle school student because I was afraid she or he would be turned off Austen forever simply because they read her too soon!), and maybe something you find boring today you'll end up loving tomorrow.



But here's what I know for me at this time in my life RIGHT NOW: I do not have time to read books I don't find interesting or "good." My reading time is so limited that if I force myself to continue reading a book I don't love, I will be reading that book for a month or more. However, if I read only books that I find super captivating, then I can get through more good books! So, moving forward, I'll give a book a chapter or two, but if I don't have that feeling -- you know the one, the PLEASE QUIT TALKING TO ME I'M TRYING TO READ THIS BOOK! -- it's going back to the library in order to make way for better books!

Also, please note that I use the term "good" so subjectively. I have always believed that you should not allow people to shame you for what you choose to read, nor should you shame others. No one's handing out awards to people for reading books that are "classics," that have won the Pulitzer, or are considered "good" in the opinion of some book editor. Read what you like! Of course, give yourself the opportunity to broaden your reading horizons by challenging yourself or stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time, but read what makes you happy!

Along with my "Re-read" book that I wrote about recently, the other two categories I've finished lately are "A Book Recommended by a Source You Trust" and "A Debut Novel." For recommended by a source, I chose The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. I really liked it, and I know I've read other books of hers in the past. For debut novel, I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. A lot of people were writing and talking about this book over the past few months, and I'm glad I read it. I really liked it a lot! It was sad and funny and embarrassing and inspiring. All the things! And I must share two quotes from it that I just LOVE:



Emily Dickinson's beautiful poem is called "Wild Nights -- Wild Nights!" and combines two elements of which I am inordinately fond: punctuation, and the theme of finding, at long last, a soul mate. (Editorial comment: pretty much sums me up!)

I know she's only a cat. But it's still love; animals, people. It's unconditional, and it's both the easiest and the hardest thing in the world. (Right?!)


I've just put two books on hold at the library: one for my "A Book by a Local Author" category as well as the "A Classic That You Didn't Read in School" category. For local author, I chose Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson and for my classic I'm going to read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (on the advice of my sister, Erin. So, Erin, we'll be chatting about this at some point!)

Tell me, what are you reading now that's good? Do you push yourself to finish a book no matter how interesting you find it? I'd love to hear!

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