It fills my heart with nerdy joy that I’m raising three voracious readers. It’s possible, actually, that I may have created monsters.
At first it was just Josh, my kid who would stay up all night to finish a book he had already read three times.
(Josh, circa midnight, any night of the week, any night of the year)
But now it’s all three of them.
They write me lists of new books they absolutely need. They circle their must-reads in the Scholastic flyers each months. Their rooms are covered in blankets of finished books. A bookmark is an excellent gift. They all put kindles on their holiday wishlists. We are constantly reading reviews and are on the hunt for high level/age appropriate books for 6th, 5th, and 2nd graders. We are praying that a library will open near us soon.
Every night, Isabella calls from her room, deep inside her newest chapter book, “Mama! What does e-s-t-a-b-l-i-s-h-m-e-n-t spell?”
Lather, rinse, repeat with other difficult words all night. Also, what the heck kind of books is my second grader reading? Establishment? REALLY? But I’m not prepared to discourage these children. How can I possibly say no to this before-bed activity? I cannot. With all of the mind-numbing activities kids are into these days, I am going to allow them the extra hours of mind-filling, even if it means that I have stop reading my own book to yell the words back to Isabella.
They get this from me, obviously, since their father has read exactly one book in 2012. Granted, it was 11/22/63 by Stephen King, which is no small feat, but still. I’m disappointed that I won’t reach my goal of 62 books read this year (one more book than I read in 2011). I will probably finish the year having read about 50, which I can blame on the fact that I don’t spend 2.5 hours on the subway every day anymore and on the fact that it took me way, way, way to long to get through some of the books this year. After all, this was the year that I read the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
That’s time I’ll truly never get back.
I really need to learn to stop reading books that I’m not enjoying. My to-read list grows way more quickly than I am able to read. To date, there are really only two books that I have completely given up on—The English Patient and The Forgotten Garden. I just…couldn’t. I tried, several times, and kept going back and then just plum realized that it was just not going to happen. These books brought me back to high school and The Odyssey, a book that no matter how bloody hard I tried to read and comprehend, my brain just wasn’t having any of it—and somehow I managed to get away with writing several papers about it without ever having read the book. High school, man. And that was the days before you could Google the Cliff’s Notes version, back when you just had to get lucky.
I was pretty lucky. Remind me one day to tell you about how I read only every other chapter in The Grapes of Wrath.
Just don’t tell my children, mmmkay?
I had a hard time getting through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I kept going because everyone said that the first 300 pages were boring and annoying, but well worth it; that the end payoff would be good. That book one was essentially a set-up for book 2. And so I persevered, and the book turned out to be mostly decent. Mostly. And I have zero desire to read any more of his books. It seemed unfair to use me and my time to write an entire book that was set-up for me to buy his second book.
I had a hard time getting through Outlander (which I may have mentioned at least 1,100 times in the last few weeks), but I kept going because everyone said the first 300 pages were boring and annoying, but well worth it; that the end payoff would be good. And so I stuck it out, and the last 300 pages were actually quite good. In fact, I may consider reading the second book in the series, because I am now slightly in love with all of the characters in the book. MAYBE.
It’s interesting, though, this pattern.
I mean, I just picked up The Chaperone last night and I’m well over 100 pages in because it spoke to me from the very first page. I was in it; immersed in it, the way my kids get into their books. I was basically Josh last night at midnight, sitting on my fitness ball, reading away into the night.
It makes me wonder about this, of course. Are there books that you have abandoned because you just couldn’t get through them? Were you bored? Annoyed? Or are you someone who always reads to the end no matter what?
What have you given up on? Do you regret it? What have you persevered through? Was it worth it?
And while I have you here, thinking about books…what’s the best book you have read recently? Goodness knows I need even more books to add to my to-read list.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go buy a stack of books for my kids that they’ll never give up on.