Sunday, December 14, 2008

The pressure to make sure every book counts

At this time of year you always end up regretting the fact that the sands of time are running out and the ambitions you had for reading have not been realised.

The phrase too many books too little time is true for those with commitments that keep them away from the written page. But it can also be a source of anxiety with shelves full of books being distant stranger rather than familiar friends.

My ambition for next year is to have the ruthlessness to put a book down that hasn’t worked for me. Lines of Fate has been painful and largely unenjoyable and I wish that I had put it down and rattled off a couple of more enjoyable books in the time I have struggled with it.

I hate the idea of quitting but with so little time it is more a question of wondering if precious time can be spent on the equivalent of a literary cul-de-sac.


Stephen said...

I feel the same way. For example, I forced myself to read "Cold Mountain" earlier this year just to tick it off the list. I didn't enjoy it.

Next year I'm going to aim for something different. Maybe read half as many books, but not struggle through the not-so-good ones.

Simon Quicke said...

I agree with you totally Stephen. Time is too short not to get tougher with unenjoyable books. Maybe there is a good subject for a meme there about the sorts of books that deserve to be put down?

Something to keep an eye on in the new year.