Is this becoming a book blog? I THINK SO.
A few times this year I have debated with the idea: Should I keep reading this because it is critically acclaimed even though I’m struggling getting into it?
I mean…obviously I know that the answer is: PUT IT DOWN. I don’t believe one should waste time with books that don’t excite them because there are a lot of books out there that might, but I also want to make sure I’m reading in ways to better myself too, not just as entertainment. So whenever a book is acclaimed by critics (I often love pulitzer prize winners, The Underground Railroad was one of my 2018 favorites) or recommended by friends I trust and I don’t get into it…I start questioning if maybe I should stick with it just a little longer.
Reading for betterment is not why I choose every book I read, but it is why I choose a lot of authors don’t fit in themselves – or whose characters don’t fit – into the standard: Straight, White, Middle Class, Christian American perspective. I’ve read more immigrant stories, from more authors of color, and more LGBTQ+ authors in the last year than I have in all of the years combined. This appeases some of my need to read for betterment.
BUT – then I pick up the “Pulitzer Prize Winning” novel LESS and I just can NOT finish it because I can NOT get into it. And it makes me sad (and maybe a little embarrassed) because women who I know and love and trust read it and loved it and…welp…nada. And then this week? I think I’m putting down My Beautiful Friend for another day. Several people I trust liked it but I’m struggling to get into it and I can’t lollygag at the end of the year when I still have EIGHT MORE BOOKS I need to read. But…since I might have stuck with both of these books longer without a looming deadline, I actually put them on my Goodreads shelf for books I didn’t finish but might some day.
(Funny story about that shelf: When I was adding my 2018 books, one of the books I read had actually been on that shelf. So the shelf does not lie! I might read them some day!)
But I’m curious what your standards are for books that just don’t grab you. I gave both of those books I mentioned above a solid 100 pages before deciding not to stick with them. Although, I’ll be honest, I’ve given much less to books before. But usually if it holds me for 100 pages then it might be one I should return to later, if I hadn’t made it that far I might not have put them on that “maybe later” shelf.