Books read: 1
Books bought: 5 (OK, one was an atlas, but still)
Countries covered: Australia
Blame Canada. I hadn’t planned to buy any books this month–after all, we were moving to a smaller place at the end of the month, and I really didn’t need to add anything else to the pile. But the Boy and I drove from Boston to Saugatuck, Michigan, for a wedding, and we opted to go through Canada. On the way back, we thought about taking an alternate route to get into the U.S., one that we couldn’t figure out because our Rand McNally atlas didn’t include Canadian provinces. No problem, we thought, we’ll just stop at this Indigo chain bookstore and pick one up……along with a few other items. Oh, Douglas Coupland has released a few books since the last time I checked? Better get those! And I’m going to Moose Jaw in August, so let me get that travel humor book about it too.
Of course, my trip’s now been cancelled, but I still have a book of travel essays about the Moose Jaw area. I swear I’ll read it soon.
What I did read this month–and for as short a novel as it was, it took me a painfully long time to get through–was Good On Paper by the Australian Morgan Andrew, which I purchased last year during a trip to Australia.
[Allow me a moment while I pat myself on the back for reading a book within 1.5 years of purchase date.]
I knew nothing about the book– I just wanted something written by an Australian, preferably set in a part of the country I’d been to. It had won some sort of award, was lauded, and it was short. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t really get into it. It was about a freelance editor who’s assigned to work with a writer who’s been in obscurity since his first novel went bust. The book that was released wasn’t apparently the version the author wanted to write, so this time they’re going to try to get it right. There’s some sort of caper and mystery as to how the editor gets the author to finish the job, but it wasn’t very mysterious to me.
Needless to say, I left it on the airplane when I’d finished reading it. Then I opened Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland and was immediately sucked in (look for more in next month’s update). Therein lies the mystery for me: What makes a book enjoyable? And if I don’t enjoy it, how long should I stick with it? I get that we all have different tastes and we’re not going to like the same thing. I’m OK with that–I don’t have to like a book just because it was an award winner. There are going to be people who don’t like my writing. That’s what makes life interesting and reading fun–a book is always a discovery, whether it be a story or writing you love or it be a story or writing style that doesn’t resonate with you.
Since I have so many more books that I want to read than I have time available, I think I’m just going to give a book 25-30 pages to prove itself. I was at ~50 pages, but when that’s almost one-third of the way through a book, that’s a lot of time to give. Another good indicator for me is not wanting to read it–I had a book sitting on my bedside table for a couple of months, and I was only about 30 pages or so into it. If I’m not interested enough to read it day after day, then I should just cut my losses and move on. Donate it, and perhaps it will find a good home.
July is looking more promising though–one week in, and I’ve already read two books. I have to keep up that pace, since we have infinitely less storage now. More on that front in another post though.