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fuel for imagination

January 18, 2012

I blame New Year’s resolutions.

It seems everyone in my circle is looking for new reading material.  Lately, requests for book recommendations have emerged in conversations, sprung up in Facebook status updates, and peppered emails from my beloved friends.

image by ian wilson via flickr

I love discussing books almost as much as I love reading them.  Recently,  I mooned over The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and it is precisely Pressfield’s clarity on the topic of resistance that finds me asking you the following question:

What are you not reading?

While I’d love to hear your book recommendations — your favorite fiction, the blogs that make you laugh so hard your children stare confusedly at your laptop screen, the nonfiction that inspires you — today I am interested in what you’ve given up on.  I want to know which books languish on your bedside table, neglected until you cast a guilty gaze on them before chucking them overboard.  I want to know which books leave you searching for what lies underneath.

I’m interested in your rejections, not because I need more books to avoid, but because I’m trying to figure out my own.

Some are more obvious to me than others (I jilted Atlas Shrugged halfway through when I was eighteen, never to return; the pages of my copy of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses are barely creased ), their abandonment related to my sense of obligation to read them.

Others, I am just not sure.

So, tell me, please: What aren’t you reading these days?

Today, I hope you are free to read, or not read, whatever fuels you.  Thank you so much for showing up.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    January 18, 2012 8:33 am

    Before I met you there was only one book I never finished. You told me, “Life is too short to read a book you don’t like.” I totally agree with this and have embraced it.

    The book I never finished as a teenager was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Sounded like something I should like, but maybe I wasn’t ready for the writing style… not enough action for a teenager. I’m interested in the movie version that just came out, though.

    I picked up American Gods last year on a single recommendation and put it down halfway through. I thought “what a bozo who recommended this, does anything ever happen?” Now I’m seeing it on “Best of” lists and wonder if I put it down too early. Underworld was on several “Best of” lists a few years ago so I started reading it, but I just couldn’t make it through. It seemed like it was all going to come together in the end, but the end was still several hundred pages away.

    So, I have a pattern of wondering what might have been had I powered through and finished these books. Is the final third of a book worth trudging through the middle third that doesn’t hold your attention?

    • January 19, 2012 6:19 am

      I remember when you worked so hard to read Underworld — you put in a valiant effort, my dear, but it just wasn’t happening.

      Today, I vacillate between thinking that: 1). life *really is* too short to read books we don’t enjoy and, 2). it is, perhaps, our resistance that tricks us into avoiding books we actually need to read. I’m sure neither is completely true all of the time.

      Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? It’s a date. I’ll buy the Junior Mints.

      I love you :).


  1. out with the same old « Chasing Maybes

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