Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Why I Stopped Reading 2 Books Around the New Year

Books I DNFed Around New Year's 2016
(and Why)

Dear Reader,

I try not to DNF books, but sometimes you just have to. And as I realize life isn't getting any longer, and I have to prioritize my time, and I am not getting around to some of the books I want to read because I am getting distracted by shiny covers or rave reviews, I realized I needed to take a step back and reassess my reading. I may post more like this as the year goes on; I've had a lot on my mind lately and I am thinking a lot about what to prioritize in my life. This has actually meant a lot less reading, for various reasons - I know it would sound crazy to some that I feel in a sort of "withdrawal from books" because I haven't read in something like 3 whole days, but that is how I feel. Kind of at sea. I'll go more into that stuff at a later point, but this post is about why I stopped reading two specific books:

The Way of All Flesh
Samuel Butler
This book is one of those oft-mentioned classics (although I have certainly had that experience where someone questioned the title with a smirk!) that can be found in 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, among other such lists. I picked it up on a whim, largely because it was available via Daily Lit. But, I quickly got behind in my installments, and ended up picking up the book from my library. I got a bit further that way, but ultimately realized it was going far too slowly for me. I found myself not wanting to pick it up, so I decided to pass on it for the time being. The book was actually engaging and the writing pretty good (there are scenes I think I will remember for a while), but it often devolved into religious discussions, which I found rather dry. I realize this book was risqué for its time; it questioned a lot of Victorian values and really riled people up. However, it wasn't that startling to me - I realize I didn't get far in it - and I just didn't engage, overall. I've marked my place, and may return to it another day...

Seeing Further
Bill Bryson (ed.)
This book fascinated me, but I only got through the first few essays before I decided it wasn't my current cup of tea. I love the concept - writings about the Royal Society and its long and colorful history - but I just didn't get into it, and as I've mentioned before, there is so much else to read. I know I would love it and learn so much if I stuck with it, but right now it just isn't the book for me. I think there is a lot to be said about the timing of our readings - and I don't think anything should be forced. So I am going to put this one aside, as well, for now. (Well, return it to the library. But, you know.)

(If I owned it, I think I would keep it on my nightstand to pick up once in a while; it seems like that sort of a book. But because I don't, I'll give it another shot at another time....)

I think this is the right choice for me, right now. I will of course let you know, Dear Readers, if I ever do get around to picking these up again!


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