Saturday, January 10, 2009

Words are my drug

When I've had a stressful day, sometimes all it takes to feel better is to peruse my bookshelves. Glancing at all those old friends is so reassuring.  A friend once told me that he thinks I read too much.  I'm not going to disagree.
The minute I finish one book, I have a new one in my hands.  I've always been that way.
Sometimes I'm afraid I'll never have time to read all the books I want to.  This has led to me adopting a new philosophy regarding book completion:  I'll give a book 100 pages.  If I am not absorbed in it by then, out it goes.  I know this strikes some as heresy (my dear friend Hillary fervently commits to finishing every tome she opens) but to me, life is too short.  One must read for joy.  Would you date someone again and again if you knew you had no real interest in them?  No.  Books are like people; some you click with, some you don't.  I'm searching for soulmates.  How about you?

20 comments:

pve design said...

Words are my kind of "morpheme" too.
Aviod member of bookaholics never can or do say no to books. Libraries hold allure and make me shake when I am near.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Books and fresh flowers, my irresistible splurges. My rooms overflow with both.

little augury said...

I agree- I couldn't stomach a book club read this summer- and stopped- a horrid 1000 page mess! another of similar ilk went the way of the recycle. my stack for the year is piling up- as Thoreau said- books are the carriers of civilization.

columnist said...

I think that's such a wise piece of advice - to ditch a book that is still not getting through after 100 pages. I do feel an element of guilt about this approach however; it's feels as wasteful leaving food on your plate.

Trudi said...

The first photo looks like it's taken in my parent's library. I have a great affinity for well-thumbed Penguins because I grew up with them!

Nancy said...

Words are my drug, yes, and I have a tendency to overdose, to the point that nothing else gets done... it's such a pleasure to read your blog. Tales of daily life in a literate voice shouldn't be as rare as they are.

Habitually Chic said...

I completely understand. I have a quite a few books that have bookmarks that are like little gravestones that mark the day my interest died. Life is too short to read a book that doesn't hold your interest. Although, I have forced myself to finish a few classics including The Fountainhead but that's a different story. What are you reading now???

Jill said...

It looks like you may be running out of space?...Have you heard of www.booksfree.com
It's like netflix, but for books. It's been a lifesaver for me.

So Lovely said...

I am like your friend - I will continue to read - holding out for the book to "turn around". I will put in a bookmark, start another, hoping to return to the older books with renewed interest.
Oh boy - life is too short, I just need to ditch them and move on!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Little Augury: I'm with you on the book clubs. Love the people, don't always like the choices.
Trudi: Those little orange Penguins are so wonderful, aren't they?
Nancy: What a wonderful turn of phrase that is: "Tales of daily life in a literate voice"; I will do my best to live up to it!
Habitually Chic: Just finished "The Way of All Flesh" by Samuel Butler, "Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women, 1890-1914", an amazing compendium of novellas by authors you will want to further explore; and am now reading E. F. Benson's "Private Lives" because I am obsessed with his "Lucia" stories and am on a hunt to read everything he wrote...laugh-out-loud tales of pretension and one-upsmanship among the upper class (very "Desperate Housewives" circa 1920's England!).

Jessica Claire said...

I hate the pangs of guilt I get when I can't finish a book. It usually has to be really awful for me to give it up, but you're right- it's your time and you're not helping anyone by mentally trudging through verbal waste

Laura said...

In theory I agree with your approach...I have endured too many uninspiring books over the years. But somehow I seem constitutionally unable to abandon them. It's like how my grandparents, who will never forget the depression still save those wire ties that serve as closures for bags of bread. At least, unlike boring relationships, books do come, unequivocally, to an end at some point.

ArchitectDesign said...

No such thing as reading TOO MUCH! I used to believe that you have to finish every book you start, but just in the past year have put down 2 books as they weren't interesting enough. It was VERY hard to do!

katek said...

It was weird to read this and feel like I could have written it--from "old friends" to life being way too short to slog through a book I can't get into. Whenever I feel down or need comforting I have certain books, or even certain chapters of books, that I turn to for a mood reset. I'm just lucky that in my current apartment there's a 15-foot wall in the dining room that I was able to cover with trusty Ikea Billy bookcases, complete with the height extensions!

Mrs. Blandings said...

I have abandoned a few books in my day, but if the writing is good I am likely to give it longer than 100 pages. I adore Michael Chabon and have never regretted finishing one of his books, but have struggled through the first 100 pages of a couple.

Style Court said...

Stunning collection.

Pigtown-Design said...

We're so lucky to have a free bookstore here in Baltimore. It's opened my mind to so many books I never would have known about otherwise. There's only the most scant organization, like bios or cookbooks, otherwise no order. So I've stumbled across books that I never would have glanced at or even known about. All of the books are donated and you can take as many as you want. It's bliss!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

A free bookstore??!!! Whaaaa??? I think I'll be taking the train to Baltimore on my next NYC visit...

pam@pixelimpress said...

thank you for making it ok for me not to finish a book. the dating analogy is perfect. found you via pve recently and i'm absorbed. starting at the beginning. pam

Thomas said...

You are generous to give a book your aren't enojying 100 pages before setting it aside. I stop at 50 if I am unhappy. I took the rule of 50 from Nancy Pearl who wrote a wonderful book of book lists called Book Lust. If you haven't seen it you should check it out. She has introduced me to many authors I had never tried before.

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