Friday, December 7, 2012

Correcting My Reading List

Closing the Book on
The Corrections
No More Turning the Page

“You will laugh, wince, groan, weep . . . ” so begins the cover blurb on The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I’ve reached page 203, and I haven’t cracked a smile. Wincing and groaning I have done. Page 566 marks the book’s end, but all I’ll see of it is the number. I’ve closed The Corrections a final time, leaving the characters to wallow in their self-serving, self-absorbed shallow existences in fiction land.
It’s not often that I put a book aside, pages left unread, people dangling in the Limbo of plots unfurled. But I don’t like The Corrections. The players and their petty concerns fail to resonate. I wondered, “Does this book get any better?” I read the reader reviews on One critic likened the book to a movie you sit through to its end, “hoping” it gets better. But when the credits roll, you realize it didn’t and you wasted precious time in the dark, the odor of cheap buttered popcorn clogging your arteries from its sickly smell.
Reading time is precious time. At day’s end, my greatest pleasure is my chamomile tea and my book, both of which gently nudge me into dreamland.
The Corrections is no longer part of that routine. Unfinished it will stay. It’s now relegated to the books that go away, perhaps to Goodwill, perhaps to the paper recycling bin. Because my reading time is so treasured, I won’t waste another minute on those pages. It’s hard to step away from a book, but in this case, it’s the best choice—for me. I don’t like this book. I’m not compelled to finish it and obey some unwritten rule that I must “finish what I start.”

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Have you ever stopped reading a book, putting it aside for whatever reason? Did you feel as if you had to finish it? What made you continue slogging through it? Was it worth the effort? These questions are ones I’ve asked myself in the past regarding books I've stopped reading. I’ve learned it’s much more satisfying to walk away rather than continue to “The End.”

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