Spend your time reading a book you do not connect with.
I used to think that when you picked up a book to read you should give it the respect it deserves and read it from cover to cover. Even if I did not like the book, I made myself read it all. The pain I have put myself through, as well as limiting my reading choices is one of my great regrets.
As an aside, does anyone else hold a book far away from their face to avoid “stressful” scenes? This is my literary equivalent to hiding under the blanket during a scary movie. The book does not even have to be that tense. I am a lightweight when it comes to stressful situations in books and movies these days.
In a lament once that I was out of good books to read, a thoughtful friend brought over a medium-sized box filled to the brim of Harlequin romances. In the interests of full disclosure, Harlequin romances and I have never really connected. There is something about having three small children 5 and under and an inability to remember one’s last good night’s sleep that renders the appeal of a Harlequin to moot.
What I did have though was a strong sense of duty to read that box of books as a way of appreciating the kind gesture. While I learned an extraordinary number of terms to describe the male anatomy, I began to loath reading, put the books aside, and did not read again for quite some time. My sense of obligation was too strong.
A few years later feeling better rested and with a longing to read again, I found the box of Harlequins and donated them to a thrift store where they would be loved and appreciated by individuals who wanted to educate themselves on new terms for the male anatomy. I also let myself off the hook forever finishing a book again that I did not connect with. This simple decision has allowed me more hours of pleasurable reading than unpleasurable ones, and with this act of defiance, my openness to picking up a wider variety of titles has increased.
Admittedly though reading in the years of middle age involves a great deal of nonfiction. The wisdom of these pages satisfies my desire to be reminded of the truths that I already know and confirm that others agree with my wisdom…a hardcover ego boost. Also, it is a lot easier to be reminded of truths than to put them into action. I called it couch potato wisdom. Copyright pending.
This allowance of putting down a book that just does not connect is not always very clear. In between many a hardcover, there is a connection waiting to be made given some time. Such as the case when I picked up No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin. She is a writer with a capital W. This particular book is a collection of her blog posts written as an 80-year-old woman. Starting the book before bed one night, I turned my light off with the thought that I just was not enjoying the book; however, the next day felt I needed to give it one more chapter before I returned it to the library. Yes, I am old-fashioned. I always will prefer the feel of a real book to a Kindle in my hand.
I am so glad I have it another go. Being a Writer, she has depth and intelligence that I admire, envy, and wish to emulate, but honestly, it’s just wonderful to lose yourself in a great literary expressionist (see I use big word good too). For some reason, it gives me hope that with time maybe, just maybe, I could express myself half as well in my 80s.
There is so much joy to be found in a good book and so much joy to be found in letting the ones you just do not connect with go from your life. However, should you ever find yourself needing a new name for the male anatomy, my research has shown that combining a warm temperature adjective with a phallic-shaped weapon results in a plethora of options.
The author, Ursula K. Le Guin, talks about how much she enjoys children’s letters unedited by adults.
Computer spell-checking takes all the flavor out of the nonprescriptive, creative spelling that can give great delight to a reader. In a printout, nobody tells me what their favrit pert of the book is, or their favroit prt, or faevit palrt, or favf pont.