Monday, January 15, 2007

The Finishing Line

One of my new year's resolutions was to finish reading books. In the past year or two, I've created a very bad habit of NOT FINISHING BOOKS. This has made me quite angry because a) maybe the book ends well and I'll never know, b) how can I have an intelligent conversation about the book if I DON'T KNOW HOW IT ENDS?, c) I can never actually finish the book once I've put it down for a few weeks because at that point I can't remember what's happening and so I don't care, and if I try to start from the beginning, I DO remember some parts, making it even more boring, so essentially the book is a big waste of money, and d) most recently I've been thinking about what if, when Stuck in Downward Dog comes out, other people don't finish reading it? Maybe I wouldn't get any bad reviews then if the reviewers couldn't get through it? Or maybe THAT would be their review - that they couldn't get through it. That would be awful.

I got on the topic of finishing (or not finishing) books the other day with some co-workers and no one thought it was bad to put down a book if it's bad. "If you can put down the book and not want to pick it up again, doesn't that say something about the book?" one girl said. The other agreed: "I always try to finish a bad book thinking it will get better but it never does." Which is a good point. If the beginning was bad, why would the writer start channelling Bronte at the end of the book? And if the ending was so eloquent, wouldn't the writer's editor make her rewrite the beginning? Plus, we all agreed that a bad movie is just a waste of time and you should turn it off, and if two hours can be considered a waste of time, how about 20 to finish a book?

All this to say that breaking my new year's resolution only 15 days into the year seems to be quite justified, no?

Still, I think that part of the reason I don't finish many book is due to the whole putting it down and not picking it up for at least a day. If you only watched 10 minute segments of a movie over three weeks, would you really care if you saw the end? Have you ever read a book from start to finish in one sitting? It's so much better, and so my new, new year's resolution is to try to finish books more quickly. It would help if someone would send me on an all-expenses-paid vacation to Japan, or Hawaii. The long flight would really help me to finish the book in one sitting.

I'm going to see what I can do about that.

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