Four weeks’ worth of Musing Mondays, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading:
In this NPR discussion: the simple fact that there’s no way you can read, see and experience all the things that are available to be experienced. The two methods for dealing with it are culling (i.e., cutting out certain genres that don’t interest you, etc.) or surrender (i.e., just making peace with the facts and enjoying what you can in the time that you have).Which do you do?
I think I’m primarily a partial surrenderer (I accept that I won’t read every book I want to, but it’s not going to stop me trying!) and a partial culler – I don’t read horror or sci-fi, and I read very little YA, non-fiction (only really memoirs), poetry or fantasy. I haven’t run across any Western or GLBT literature so far (not through active avoidance, but I haven’t actively searched any out either).
Do you think it makes you NOT (or less) “well-read” if there are certain genres that you won’t read because you KNOW you won’t enjoy them? Why?
Yes and no. I think there is a certain set of books (including Pride & Prejudice, 1984, Brave New World, Great Expectations, Brideshead Revisited etc) that are pretty much the syllabus for the “well-read qualification”. When I started this blog it was actually an effort to correct a major hole in my generally excellent education – that I was not well-read. In fact, in the blog’s first incarnation it was called “A Well-Read Wedding”. I got stuck in the middle of Dickens (loathed Bleak House, enjoyed Oliver Twist, couldn’t get past the first page of Tale of Two Cities) and moved onto fiction that I actually enjoyed.
However, given my penchant for the latest Clive Cussler/David Baldacci/Sara Paretsky, I would be the last person to be snooty about someone’s reading choices, and I don’t think that being “well-read” is a necessity for a reader, but it can be a personal goal.
What is the last book you struggled to read through to the end, even though you weren’t really enjoying it? What made you keep reading?
I battled my way to the end of William Walker’s First Year of Marriage a few weeks ago, and which is on my list of reviews to be done. It was funny – in that British, man-in-twenties/thirties-taking-self-deprecating-look-at-own-life sort of way (see One Day, all of Nick Hornby’s writing…) and there were any number of amusing quotes, but after a while it descended into jealousy, faux innocent posturing and general life disaster which stopped being amusing because he was grumpy. Urf.
Do you need to have your owned books out where you can see them, or are you okay with them being stored away?
I’d be pretty annoyed if I just had books sitting around in boxes (although that has been a reality in the past!) but right now I can’t see half my books because they’re double stacked on the shelf! I can see them at a moment’s notice though, so it’s no biggie.