Friday, July 2, 2010

Literary Acquiescence

I'm about to give up on this book.

I hate giving up on books. I make it a practice not to quit a book unless it is a chick lit story that completely insults what little intelligence I have left over after parenting a small child. Outside of that rare occasion, I commit to any book I've opened. I really do. It's either a great trait or a questionable compulsion.


I have really had it with "Cutting for Stone." In fact, I'm sensing a big break-up.

I had such high hopes. Some of my clients recommended the book. One actually gave me her copy. The author was just in town last week. Another client went his reading. My clients are not literary lightweights. They make great recommendations.

But then I started the book. And it seriously kicked my ass.

For starters, it's over 600 pages long. I'm about 250 pages in.

The story takes place in Ethiopia, not a bad thing, but I've had to really keep up with the cultural references.

Then, there's the whole cast of characters. Good Lord. It's like the author was on a mission to develop as many entities for the story as he could, just to see if readers could keep track.

As with most of my commitments, I've given the book time and energy. My Netflix envelopes are still sealed. The TV remote is getting dusty. I have yet to power up the DVR.

I am giving so much! Yet all I am getting back is frustration. And a big ass-kicking.

Maybe I'm just not that smart.

Maybe I am not a "literary heavyweight" like my Mensa clients.

Maybe it's time to start shopping in the paperback section at Costco.

Maybe I should listen to another client - a smart client, I might add, who said to me: "Dear, that book is just too hard. I had to put it down."

Yet, I can't walk away just yet. It will bug me for days if I do. I'm terrible at turning away from things (and people) that I've committed to. I just can't do it. I get too invested in the outcome.

Then again, perhaps this is another lesson that I need to learn about letting go and lightening up, a bit. Cutting myself some slack (no pun intended). Saying "it's okay to put the damn book down and pick up a trash magazine."

So, that's what I'm going to do. "Cutting for Stone" is going on the shelf tonight, and it may stay there for awhile (sorry, Mary!).

If you need me, look behind the People magazine. Or the Us Weekly.

And if you've read "Cutting For Stone" and it was a literary cake walk for you, do not leave me a comment to that effect. It'll only make me feel worse.

Likewise, if you also have had your ass kicked by "Stone," do share. Please.


Lish said...

Ahahahahaha! I went to Border's tonight, and the only thing I read was US. And People. There is important Bachelorette news in US, and I already can't remember the extremely important article I HAD to read in People. But you must read it STAT!

Fortunately, I already consider myself a literary heavyweight (having read Beowulf at Davis) so if I can't get through a book or I don't like it, I've advanced enough to call the book shit. End of story. I purposely left The Historian on a plane to Paris after getting two thirds of the way through it.

If the writer can't get keep his or her reader engaged, it's their dang fault, not yours. And don't read OK or In Touch. Complete garbage.

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