Monday, March 19, 2012

A defense for not finishing a book....

My kids always thought it was interesting that I would buy more books when I haven't yet read all those residing on the shelves. The response that I had read parts of most of them left the kids unimpressed. My daughter, in one of her better fund raising projects, once announced that, until I read the ones I already owned, I had to pay her $.25 for every new book I bought.  Fortunately, she lacks an enforcement mechanism.

Tim Parks, writing in the New York Review of Books, offers a defense for those of us who might wish to consider that reading a book does not necessarily mean finishing it.  Full essay here.  Meat here:

"Do we need to finish them? Is a good book by definition one that we did finish? Or are there occasions when we might choose to leave off a book before the end, or even only half way through, and nevertheless feel that it was good, even excellent, that we were glad we read what we read, but don’t feel the need to finish it? I ask the question because this is happening to me more and more often. Is it age, wisdom, senility? I start a book. I’m enjoying it thoroughly, and then the moment comes when I just know I’ve had enough. It’s not that I’ve stopped enjoying it. I’m not bored, I don’t even think it’s too long. I just have no desire to go on enjoying it." 

thanks tyler

1 comment:

  1. “If a man wants to read good books, he must make a point of avoiding bad ones; for life is short, and time and energy limited.”

    - Schopenhauer