Sunday 22 April 2012

Never read a book through merely because you have begun it - John Witherspoon

I used to believe it was sacrilegious to abandon a book before I'd finished it.  As if some great punishment would surely follow such discourtesy.  I am since learning otherwise.  I am now coming round to believe that it would be a sad waste to persist in the pages of a book which is taking you nowhere.  Even if highly recommended. 

This is a major step for me.  I'm one of those people who can worry what the passenger sitting 4 rows behind me on the bus thinks.  Yes, it is pathetic.  I mean, I can spend hours - literally hours - wondering if the woman in the bakery looked at me in that way because she doesn't like me, or just because she has indigestion. Pathetic.  I know. But I've given up trying to explain it.

And so this week I started, then stopped reading Chekhov. Is that shocking?  Can I hear cyber gasps of disbelief?  Chekhov, you say.  Sacrilege, indeed.  I can feel my anxiety levels rising... 

In my defence, I enjoyed his short story collection, A Russian Affair. Honestly.  And that inspired me to launch into his plays.  Indeed, I was so proud of myself.  Finally to be reading The Seagull, The Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya.  But I didn't get beyond Ivanov and The Seagull.  I apologise to all Chekhov fans.  I just didn't feel it.  I even tried reading them aloud.  Nothing.  Nada.

I left the book lying around for a few days, because I just didn't want to admit defeat.  But I was defeated.  I had that strange, heaving feeling each time I sensed that I was in the vicinity of the book.  The feeling you get when you're in the same room as someone you don't like very much: you can tolerate the person, hold a conversation if you have to, but really the only thing on your mind is when you can get away and if you really ever have to see this person again.  It's just not a good feeling. 

And that's why you shouldn't force it.  The book sits quite comfortably on my shelf.  At the moment, we are simply not compatible.  The time may come.  Or not.  Let it go...

1 comment:

  1. Been there. Done that. No sweat!
    If the WORDS don't move you there's no point. There may come a time....