Two months since my last update. Two months of “work” taking care of my son, who is now four months. Starting a few weeks ago, he has been following a bed time routine. And luckily, it now includes sleeping in his crib and sleeping through the night (most nights). I have started reading in earnest again, and I hope that means reviews again soon. In the meantime, I have also been posting on my personal blog, Scrawling Consciousness, since I like to have things more prepared when I write here. I have little time for that right now, until I am on more of a schedule, so for now, I splat my thoughts onto the screen and post them there.
When I started reading again this past month, I thought about getting back to why I started this blog: the hundreds of books I own, many of which I have not yet read. What made me think of it again was the fact that I bought more books at a library sale, and there is no room for them. Most of the books I have read, I enjoy and want to keep them. So I thought, “what if I read the worst rated books first, so I can get rid of them.” Great idea, right? So, off I went to Goodreads, where I have my entire collection stored. I sorted through the ratings and here is what happened in the month of July:
Breathe by Sarah Crossan. I borrowed this ebook from the library. I wanted something on my Kindle as well as a physical book. The premise is that the world has run out of air and inside this dome of manufactured air. This air is then distributed based on status. It follows three young people of different statuses who venture outside the dome, each for a different reason. The book wasn’t that bad, but I just couldn’t find myself getting into it. The characters were a little one dimensional. So when, after two weeks, I still hadn’t finished it, and I needed to return it to the library, I gave it up.
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. The worst rated book on my list of owned books. A 2.62 out of 5. Pretty bad. But, I remember getting this book at a previous library sale because I liked Lovely Bones and Lucky. The Almost Moon follows a woman for the next 24 hours after she killed her senile old mother. There are flashbacks showing how her mother was when she was growing up as well. I put i down after about 30 pages. The writing was good, but I really couldn’t get past the terrible content. I gave it up.
Charlotte Temple and Lucy Temple by Susanna Rowson. A long standing number one best seller for American Literature, I had gotten this for some class in college and we never read it. Or maybe I never read it. Who remembers these details. This collection was rated just above the last book, at a 2.85. Charlotte Temple is about a woman who elopes to America only to be left alone. Lucy Temple is the follow-up about her orphaned daughter. I suppose that gave away what happens in the first book. However, I didn’t find out for sure. I have a love/hate relationship with old American Literature. There are few authors I actually enjoy. The writing of this book was so… thick, for lack of a better term. I didn’t really want to spend my time wading through it. I gave it up.
Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding. I picked this up at the same book sale I got The Almost Moon, for pretty much the exact same reason: I enjoyed Bridget Jones’ Diary. However, it was the third worst book I owned, behind the last two above. I thought the beginning was a little slow, but I trudged through it because I’d be damned if I would put down four books in one month. It eventually started to pick up and I was enjoying it a little. I kept getting the title confused, wondering when they would explain why it was called “Cause (as in because) Caleb.” Apparently I have some sort of reading disability when it came to the font on my cover (not the one pictured here). I felt I had been reading the book for forever, so when I checked what page I was on, you can imagine my surprise to see the number 60. While it was well written, I just couldn’t get into it. In fact, I dreaded the time I set aside to read. I gave it up.
I told myself I had legitimate reasons for putting down the first three books, but as I was putting away the last one, I felt a little bad. Shouldn’t I have given these books at least 100 pages for a chance to show me they were worth it? I very rarely give up on books. Almost never. So why was I doing it now? The answer is in the first paragraph. My life has changed. My time is rarely my own anymore. What little chance I get to read should be enjoyed. So, I decided to switch it up for the next book. I wouldn’t follow ratings, I’d follow my gut.
Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen #5) by Steven Erikson. The next book in just one of the many long series I have been trying to finish. At almost 1000 pages, it was daunting. So when I started, I was a little worried I would end up not reading for a long time again. I mean, if I can’t read a series I enjoy, how could I read anything. But as of tonight, I have less than 100 pages to go, and I am pretty sure I will finish it tonight or tomorrow, depending on what kind of time the Little Man gives me.
So, the month of July helped me change my philosophy on when to give up on a book, something I have struggled with for a long time. But I read for pleasure, I always have, and now with such limited time to spare, I need to hold tight to that idea. Do you have a “when to give up” philosophy? What is it?