Another Day, Another Blog

May 22, 2007

Dessert first, please

Filed under: books, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:36 am

As a kid, I tried very hard to finish every single book that I started reading. This made trips to the library tortuous for my sister. She would pick her six books pretty quickly — if they had a horse or a cat on the front cover, they were fair game. I, meanwhile, would pick a book off the shelf, and then read a page near the beginning, a page in the middle, and — finally — the last page, before deciding whether or not to borrow it. In the time it took me to choose my first book, my sister would have had all of hers stamped and ready to go. And by the time I’d finally chosen all six of my books, my sister would have read another two or three from the shelves.  

My deliberation worked, though. For the first eleven years of my life, I had a 100% success rate when it came to finishing every book I started. Then I ran up against Lord of the Rings… Let’s just say that I’m very glad that Peter Jackson made the movies, because now I can stop feeling guilty about never finishing the books.

I think that need to finish every book I start reading is why, even now, I’ll read the end of books before the beginning. Subconsciously, I guess I equate a good ending with a story worth reading. Strangely, knowing how things turn out in the end does not spoil the story for me — it’s the journey to that final page that I’m most interested in.




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  2. I at least try to finish every book I start, but I no longer feel guilty when I fail.

    The most recent book I failed to finish was Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt. I made it about 1/3 of the way in and couldn’t go any farther. That was 2-3 years ago.

    By contrast, I have gone back and read several books that I failed to finish when I was younger, and ended up enjoying them immensely: The Lord of the Rings, Joan Vinge’s The Snow Queen, CJ Cherryh’s Cyteen. I think the only one that I haven’t gone back to try again was Frederick Pohl’s The Years of the City.

    I loved The Lord of the Rings. Loved it. However, the first part (of six) is very hard going. If you can get past Tom Bombadil and the Barrow-Wights, then it’s fairly smooth sailing from there on out.

    Comment by Michael Rawdon — May 22, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

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