I was reading an interview of an author a few weeks back. (Plenty of time has elapsed for me to forget just who I was reading about!) Anyway, the author was talking about the importance of reading many different books. I remember the comment that it was okay to put down a book without finishing it. The point being that you should expose yourself to various authors and ideas but don't waste your time with the ones you do not get anything from. I have trouble with this. (Well, I put them down all the time but keep claiming I will get back to them. This might explain the stagnant list of “books I’m reading now” to the left of this blog!) Even when I find that I just don’t like a book, I feel like I am not giving it a fair chance if I don’t read it through to the end. The last chapter could always be brilliant!
However, I have now been “reading” The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for over a year. I’ve had to start over because it had been so long I forgot some of what I’d read. I picked it up during our move last summer. It was sitting in the store with the big “Oprah’s Book Club” sticker on the front cover. I needed something else to read during our trip so this looked like a good choice. I could not get into it during the move so I put it aside, thinking I’d enjoy it more once we were settled in the house. Nope. I brought it with me when I flew with the kids to Florida last summer, thinking I’d read a few pages on the plane or in the evenings when the kids fell asleep. It didn’t happen. Then I left it at my parent’s for a month or so before asking them to send it back to me. I made it through a few more pages the other night but then picked up a new book at the library on Thursday and McCuller’s book is still lying on my night stand. (The book itself can’t be lonely. It is sitting there with the other books you see there on the left side of this page!)
The characters seem interesting. I love the details she has included. This seems to be a work of a truly observant person. However, I still have not made it beyond page 44.
Maybe life is too short to finish every book I pick up. However, I have this nagging feeling that this seems is an important book that I should want to read. Then again, that nagging feeling is just coming from Oprah. I received a degree in English without having read this book and I had not put it on my personal list of books that I really want to read.
There are important books in fiction and non-fiction that are calling for my attention. There are literary classics that everyone should read at least once that I still have not opened. I do not have time to read every book that I want to. Yet, being a successful product of our society, I feel like I need to at least read every book listed in “Oprah’s Book Club” list to be well read.
Perhaps I should put in a call to Dr. Phil. Obviously, this is not working for me.