Blog 3 Feb 2018
Books: Under Covers
Life is too precious for a vexing read.
For most of my life I would never stop reading a book before finishing it. Recently, I’ve been able to do it without guilt. Life is too short to continue reading a book that is poorly written and holds no interest for me. A book has to go a long way to make me stop reading it. It is still not easy to let it go, but now I can do it.
One obstacle to giving up on a book was feeling that this was an insult to the author. After all, writing is a difficult, time-consuming craft. To close the cover was akin to slamming a door in the author’s face. Perhaps I suffered from too much respect for the written word, the effort and hopes of the author to succeed.
My respect for the material fact of a book extended to never breaking the spine, never folding down the corner of a page as a bookmark, never writing notes in the margins to the extreme of not writing my name on the flyleaf. I wanted the book to remain as pristine as possible out of respect. Reverence could be a better word. Notes, if any, were made on a separate sheet of paper.
In the old days, I could remember so much of what I read. Things that are taken for granted readers: characters, quotations, imagery and striking metaphor or simile. Now, I remember plots, some characters and general outlines, for the most part, rather than the details and lovely turns of phrase.
Because everyone’s taste is different, no writers will suffer from our individual reading preferences. Read for a good life!