I finished reading a book tonight. This summer that has been less frequent than usual, my reading has slowed down. I recommend the book I just finished, War by Sebastian Junger, but will save my thoughts on that for a future blog. This entry will be me thinking about why I’ve read less this summer.
Probably the main reason is I’ve been more active. Between the gym and skateboarding I’m out doing things on my spare time on a daily basis. With work full time there is just so much spare time available, and I’m glad I went in the direction of moving around some instead of being sedentary. That said, I need to find a balance, I can’t just stop reading, interest in literature is one way I define myself. I might need to make myself read at the end of each day, or something to keep it going. I’ve noticed before in my life I concentrate in one area or activity at a time, and I need be able to do multiple things in my life.
Other than my renewed vigor in exercising, I think I read a few books in a row that did not interest me. Probably the main culprit of these books was American Tragedy by Dreiser. Over the period of two months or more I read about 330 out of 900 pages. It seemed dry, evolved too slowly, and I should have called in quits more quickly. I’m inclined to always read one book at a time, I prefer that, feel I can follow the story better, and usually I finish a book once I start. From taking so long in this attempt I stopped reading it twice to read shorter book club selections. Each time picking up the Dreiser book I remembered what went on beforehand, and I was curious but thought it developed way too slowly. I wrote a blog about the Dreiser book already, and after I wrote that I looked up the plotline. I found out that it turned into a murder trial later in the story. I really like Crime and Punishment and Native Son but I’m not a big fan of reading the endings of those books when it goes to a law trial. I like the build up to being caught so much more. My guess with American Tragedy the law trail at the end might be 300 pages or something ridiculous. I think I just did not connect with this book, so I didn’t finish it. On my book log for 2010 I will not get any credit for this attempt, I have to finish the book to write it down.
Also this summer, I read Beloved which just confused me. I finished it, but because I was confused did not enjoy the reading. I also read The Magicians which I thought well written, and imaginative. However I was not in awe from my reading of that. I think some of these books this summer slowed down my reading habits.
Basically I haven’t been wowed by a book for a long time. I think I need to do two things. One would be to select more carefully what I want to read. A lot of times I read from word of mouth recommendations, or just browsing the shelves at work. But I can consider it professional development practice to be more satisfied with my personal book selections. The second thing I need to do, is read daily, and if a I notice I’m reading a book too slowly or feel an obligation to read a certain book, I should just stop and get another one. My book log has been a great thing, but it’s not a law that I have to finish every book I start.