Welcome to my very own Creative Writing Month where each day of the month I am focusing on a topic and spending fifteen minutes reflecting and writing as inspired by the topic. For more information about why and how check out my post, Writing Down the Bones.
Today’s topic: Pick something you feel strongly about and write about the opposite viewpoint.
Throughout my adult life I have had a subconscious rule to finish all books that I begin. Even if the book is terrible and I lose interest, I’ve made a point to suck it up and finish strong. One reason I’ve pushed myself to finish every book that I start is because I know that someone went through a great deal of trouble to make that book happen. The author spent countless hours painfully trudging through dark and lonely places of writing. The least I could do is show them the respect of reading their work.
Somethings that have made it difficult, but not impossible to finish a book for me would be things like:
-disjointed scenes and chapters
-little to no movement for an extended amount of time
-over 400 pages (unless it is so fabulously written that I don’t notice the length)
-too much description and not enough interaction with characters and setting
This summer I decided to challenge my reading game, however, and I chose to read a popular novel, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. From the onset I knew that it was a rather lengthy book, but since the chapters were shorter I thought it would help to propel me through the text quickly. So many people have raved about this book so I decided to give it a try.
In the beginning, I really enjoyed it. I was learning about the characters and the context of Paris and Saint Malo, France during World War II. Very few novels have been written about that time period in France. My reading started out strong. I spent a day or two really diving in to the first two hundred pages, and then I reached the great abyss.
After page 200, the story began to slow down. The action came to a halt, and the author became more in tune with describing what was going on and less concerned about making me feel like part of the story. For some reason I began to lose interest. The book no longer excited me.
Because of my disinterest in the book I put off reading. I couldn’t bring myself to abandon such a popular novel. Instead I just made excuses as to why I couldn’t read most days. Now and again I’d pick the book up and read a couple of pages. This practice really stinted my reading progress. Here I have a list of novels I want to read, but I’ve got a major road block between myself and that list. A road block the in the form of All the Light We Cannot See.
So as I enter the third month of currently reading this novel I think it is time to cut the ties. Clearly this book is not working for me. I cannot remember the last time I abandoned a book mid-read, but sometimes we have to give in. It’s good to possess a discipline to finish what you begin, but when finishing becomes a hindrance to moving forward sometimes it’s just best to abandon the job, or in this case the book. One of my reading heroes, Donalyn Miller, even discusses her own experience with abandoning books in her book,The Book Whisperer. If Donalyn Miller can give in to the desire to let a book go then so can I.
So for the first time in years I am walking away from a book unfinished. Some may say I gave up too soon; that this is a great book, but I have made my decision for the time being. Down the road I may pick it back up, but for now I’m finished.
What’s next on my list?
I think I am going to look for a light-hearted, short read to get me back into my reader’s groove. Any suggestions!?!
*If you choose to write on the same creative topic/prompt as the one above please link your writing in a comment below! Happy Creative Writing month 🙂
2 thoughts on “The Great Book Abandon”
I actually have that book on my list to read. My mom borrowed it to me and said it was hard to get through. Now I’ve been putting it off. I feel the same way that you do about not finishing a book but sometimes it has to be done.
It’s too bad that the book unravels. I used to have a rule of finishing books, but that has changed over the years. Life is too short to spend it on bad books (or pretending to read them when I should just move onto something better for me!).
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