My Reading Dilemma

Here’s my reading dilemma: Once I begin a book, I cannot stop – even if it is REALLY, REALLY bad!

Does anyone else have this problem?

Last night I got all the kiddos to bed and climbed into my bed looking forward to a couple hours of uninterrupted reading before hitting the hay. As I reached for the book on my bedside table (the book I’ve been reading for a week now and am on a whopping page 150!), I groaned a little. This current book I’ve committed to has proven to be less than exciting and even less inspiring.

Why don’t I just put this book aside and pull another off my “to be read” shelf? (And, yes, I have a whole “to be read” shelf.) But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to stop reading until the very last word has been duly noted and processed. I’ve made it through many a novel this way, all the while wondering when it would get interesting and begin to captivate me. As a writer myself, I feel a sort of obligation to the author to finish their work of art. I’m not a quitter. This alone is a dilemma.

reading dilemma
Doesn’t everyone have a “to be read” shelf?

But I also get a serious case of FOMO if I don’t finish a book.

Often, I’ve been bountifully rewarded with a great ending or a story that finally grabs me in the middle. It’s how I made it through The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, The Brother’s Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemmingway – I hung in there and am ever grateful that I did. But just as often, I struggle through the beginning pages of a book and reach the end only to be thankful that it is over and I can move on – my commitment to the author complete.

And of course there are countless books that I sail through, greedily devouring each word from beginning to end – like the Kite Runner that I read large parts of while stirring macaroni and cheese on the stove because I was so busy reading that I almost forgot to make dinner!

But what irks me is my misguided need to finish every book I pick up. Even now I feel confident that tonight I’ll choose a new book and put to rest the current one (which shall remain nameless), but I know that when that fateful time comes, I’ll likely be consumed by guilt and fear that on the very next page – the very next one that I’ll never get to – there will be the great break through: those awe inspiring words I’ve been waiting for.

Hmmm…what to do…

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