Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Finishing School

A few weeks ago, I attempted to justify my propensity to not finish books I'd started reading. I didn't mention the book in question that had led me to become worried about this bad habit, because I love--LOVE--the author. The book was Stuart McLean's Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe and since his first Vinyl Cafe book, I've bought them the day they've come out and had to limit myself to one short story a night so that I could make the book last. The stories are THAT good.

So when I received Secrets as an early Christmas gift, I couldn't wait to read it. But, because I had Christmas dinner to plan, house guests to entertain, a round of edits on my book to finish and way too many freelance articles to write, I put the book, unwrapped in all its glory, under the Christmas tree as incentive to finish all the items on my to-do list.

Finally I finished everything the week after Christmas but then I COULDN'T FINISH THE BOOK. It was awful. Was it me? Was it Stuart? With each story I wanted to just put the book down, and when I did, I couldn't pick it back up. So it has sat, on my bookshelf for more than two weeks, untouched.

Until yesterday. My newfound cold+flu+the freezing temperatures outside+snow caused me to stay inside --guilt free!--all day, and in one sitting, I finished the book. It wasn't Stuart. It was me. One of my friends made a good point. Sometimes, when you've got too much on your mind, it can be too difficult to focus on someone else's life. I think that's what had happened to me. There was too much stress, too much to think about, that I couldn't relax and just read. Another friend, who says she has 15 books in a pile waiting to be read, put it another way. "I need to catch pneumonia just so I can read a book." I hope she doesn't get pneumonia, but she might be on to something. Maybe a few aches and sniffles are just what we all need to get in some quality book time.

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