Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Next?

I am at that point in my reading habit when I can’t decide what to read next. I’ve started a couple of books, Redwall by Bryan Jacques and Eldest by Christopher Paolini, but I haven’t hit a rhythm with either of them yet. I read a few pages at a time, but I haven’t really gotten into the stories. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them, just that I haven’t spent enough time with either one to know if I like or dislike them.

And I always find that my reading selection changes when the fall season comes around. I begin picking more “literary” books, if there is such a distinction (Personally I think there’s only good writing or bad writing, regardless of a book’s literary status, but that’s a subject for another blog post). It’s probably because I get into back-to-school mode even though I no longer go to school. Hence, why I just got done reading a Shakespeare play. Because I felt like it. Last year around this time I read The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain. And for some odd reason, I always feel like rereading Arthur Miller. I probably read either The Crucible or Death of a Salesman every year.

I don’t mean to snub the value of fun books like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or action/adventure/fantasies like Twilight or Harry Potter; nor am I suggesting that these books don’t have something significant to say about the human condition, but I think there’s something to be said for the term “summer reading.” Add to that the fact that I just got done reading a whole fantasy series--Twilight--and both these factors are no doubt the reasons why I can’t delve into Redwall or Eldest. I’ve gotten tired.

Which comes to my main point: Read what you feel like. I’m only recently starting to learn this concept. I own a lot of books I haven’t read, books that I want to read someday, but I have to make myself take my time. All those books put me under this weird, self-inflicted pressure. I feel like I HAVE to read them. But I don’t. Don’t read a book just because it’s a literary classic, and don’t be snobbish enough to think that those are the only good books out there. Don’t feel like you have to finish every book you start. Don’t feel like you have to read a certain number of books per week or month or year. There is no quota, and there is no list.

Which still leaves me with the dilemma of what to read next . . .

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