Sometimes, you can just drop ’em, move on to the next one and just keep on going without ever looking back. I find that tends to happen when there’s no emotional attachment — when you go into it with no expectations, then you don’t feel too disappointed after you’ve put in the effort to make some kind of connection and find it’s just not clicking. But sometimes I have to say it’s heart wrenching when you keep putting in those efforts and there just isn’t that connection no matter what, even though you know it “should” be a good fit because you have so much in common, or because you’ve gotten such solid recommendations and glowing comments. And this latest little fiasco made me feel a little bit heartbroken for all the ones I’ve left behind.
Interesting that I have similar feelings about reading as I do about dating. The most recent book breakup occurred today with Women Who Run With the Wolves. I’m still not ready to say that it’s a final breakup, because I may go back to it eventually (which is what I always say). But when I start reading another book on the side to “break up” the reading of the first book and before I know it have read three or four other books “at the same time”… then I know I’ve been covering up my lack of interest with those constant dalliances and once the cat is out of the bag, then decisions must be made.
WWRWTW It came highly recommended to me. Initially by my mother, who then told me that my favorite great aunt also loved that book… and countless others as well. I wanted to love that book, because I know the message it conveys is a powerful one that should do me a lot of good. It just felt too much like I was reading a better version of some of my own essays written for feminist studies some twenty years ago. And I know my mum will want to write me a note saying there’s nothing to it and I shouldn’t get myself all worked up over a book, because she’s not at all offended that it’s not working for me, or something of the sort, which would be kind but really not necessary.
There is another book this year that I’ve dropped and have had a hard time letting go of and then one book which I had no qualms about at all. Not quite so easy to let go of was My Life by Golda Meir. I felt honor-bound to read her book because of my Jewish ancestry and Israeli citizenship (even though I had never asked for either), and in truth, there is so much about that woman’s life that is interesting, but part of my mind was thinking otherwise. I know I’m in trouble with a book when I find myself reading the same paragraph two or three times over and over again purely out of distraction. Also being acutely aware of every single word on the page and constantly counting pages remaining until the end of the chapters were all bad signs. I put it aside having read at least 80% of the book, but simply couldn’t finish because of another difficulty which was that the typeface used in my Mass Market Paperback version was so small that I was having physical difficulties reading it. This is one reason why I always buy Trade Paperback versions whenever possible. They cost a few more dollars but it helps preserve what’s left of my eyesight and makes reading a pleasurable experience rather than a form of torture.
On the other hand, I started reading The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk and when I got halfway through, I still couldn’t enjoy the brilliant writing and what little story there was, which was becoming a source of frustration rather than pleasure and in turn was making me feel unintelligent. Having put in a valiant effort, I simply put the book aside with a clear conscience. It helped that I had no expectations and that some of the reviews I’d read said it was a difficult book to read, and so, stopping in the middle felt like I had lightened the unnecessary burden. A few weeks later I was able to enjoy My Name is Red, also by that author, and though I admit I had some trepidations, my concerns were put to rest and I was able to enjoy it fully.