I have a sad truth to confess: although I go to the library at least once a week, I hardly ever finish more than 6 books a year.
Part of my problem is lack of planning. I mean, I have a book list, but I a) never bring it with me (fatal flaw) and b) the library is always out of the books I want to read (because I am a slave to the bestsellers list).
So I end up plucking random books off the shelf and then, surprise surprise, feeling disappointed when they turn out to be unreadable.
Let’s say it together: I need help.
There are 3 books in particular, however, that have simultaneously been on my list and in the library — and that I’ve still failed to read, despite their wide acclaim. So I’m starting to wonder whether my supposed poor planning gene is actually just plain old poor taste.
1) The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen.
I wanted to love this book, because that would make me seem smart, chic, and literary. But… I just couldn’t make it past the first chapter. So many words, so few sentences. I guess I should never read Joyce.
2) The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
I actually persevered for a couple hundred pages, before flinging the book across the room and banging my head against the wall. I feel like it could have been a great book, actually, but was missing one crucial ingredient. Plot, dear Erin! Plot! It felt like a transcription of someone’s hazy dream…
3) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.
What’s that word for a recurring life problem you’ve yet to surmount? Bugabear? Bugboo? Well, this book is it. It’s the Philosopher’s favorite, which makes me feel even worse about the fact that I can’t finish it, because he has unassailable good taste. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started it. Why does everyone have 5 different names? Why is everyone related to each other? Why can’t I finish this book?!!
Please help me become a better reader, friends. What readable books should be on my list? Bonus points for you if they’re in the Oxford library.
(p.s. I can, however, highly recommend Gap Creek, if you haven’t already read it…)