Thursday, January 12, 2006

Book It, DoN - O

Is nothing more annoying than reading a bad book? I keep soldiering on, giving it a chance to redeem itself. I await a breakthrough chapter, the emergence of a clever plot device, an engaging character's arrival...all for naught. And then, halfway through, I'm trapped. Do I dump it now? Now that I've invested all this time? Rendering me unable then to say "Oh yes, I've read that. It was crap" and not feel as if someone could challenge me and say "Well, did you read it all the way through, because once you get near the end..."?

Oh no.

I am a compulsive book-finisher. I just am. I am the Reverend Dimmesdale of bad book readers: flagellating myself with the bloody scourge of lousy literature. I absolutely loathed Life of Pi, but I finished it. Every last bit of it. Groaned during the familiar and formulaic Angels & Demons (which I read after The DaVinci Code), but I finished it. (And I was not all that enthralled with the sometimes contrived, elementary writing of TDVC, either, but you don't see my name staring out at you from the spines of hardbacks, now do you? I know, I know.) A bad book for me is like biting into a mealy peach. Such disappointment and betrayal!

Now, good there anything more satisfying? Don't you love that realization when, as my friend Roger says, you discover that you've been smiling as you read? That moment when you purposely look up from the page to see with whom you can share what you're reading? A good book is like the feeling you get when you flop your pillow over to the cool side. Instant gratification and comfort and contentment. I'm currently immersed in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. This woman is so in love with Abraham Lincoln that when she writes about him, I swear the page becomes illuminated. And I was completely taken by The Time Traveler's Wife as a story about the strength of human emotion. Now Roger has ordered me to read anything by Tom Robbins, especially Skinny Legs and All. This is how my booklist grows.

And no, he is not responsible for any bad books. Not yet, anyway.


  1. Anonymous10:59 PM

    I used your quote from Endangered Pleasures the other day. I have to read that book. I trust your judgement there, more than my own. I get stuck on classics and comics and see the new world of fiction as a mountain I have no time to climb. I have a Tom Robbins book for you. I'll bring it by soon.

  2. Thank you. I have been told that an adventure with Tom Robbins is best started with another of his books first, not Skinny Legs.


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