Quotable Friday: from Cloud Atlas

“One writes music because winter is eternal and because, if one didn’t, the wolves and blizzards would be at one’s throat all the sooner.”

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

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On “DNF”ing

Guys, I did it. The unthinkable. I Did Not Finish a book — The Picture of Dorian Gray, to be specific.  I never do this; I usually see each book I read through to the end, regardless of how terrible it is. In fact, I sometimes read books I’m not enjoying faster than books I do like; I blitzed through Zadie Smith’s On Beauty in about three days thinking that the quicker I read it, the sooner I could move on to something that didn’t bore me to tears.

Not so this time. I was really excited to read The Picture of Dorian Gray after finishing The Importance of Being Earnest, which I really enjoyed. But I Just. Can’t. Get into it. I know it’s a classic and a very good book, but it’s not doing it for me right now. For days I’ve been distracting myself with the other books I’m reading (and too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy) because I feel no desire to pick up Wilde’s masterpiece. It finally dawned on me that I don’t have to finish reading it. I can sneak it back onto my TBR shelf and try it again later, at a time when I might be more able to fully appreciate this classic novel. It’s actually kind of refreshing to admit (temporary) defeat and move on to one of the contemporary works I’ve been craving.

I don’t think DNFing will become a habit of mine, and I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m able to stop reading The Picture of Dorian Gray with out guilt is that I’m pretty sure I will enjoy reading it at some point in the future, but it feels good to put this book on hold right now.

What’s your policy on finishing (or not finishing) books? Do you slog through the worst of them, or do you gaily toss a book aside if you’re not feelin’ it? Do you have a special criteria for deciding whether to give up or push on?

Four Literary Podcasts to Listen to

In addition to reading books, us bookish types tend to enjoy talking about books. But what to do when we find ourselves without a book-obsessed bestie on hand to talk about our latest bookish discoveries and recommendations? Reading and commenting on blogs is well and good, but we can’t sit in front of our computers all day. Sometimes we have to do laundry or work out or run errands … and how can we get our book convo fix then? Since moving home from college and getting into the habit of taking my dog for a long walk each day, I’ve discovered that listening to literary podcasts while I walk is a fun way to learn about new releases and hear book discussions. For anyone else who likes to spend some time with their headphones on, try these four bookish podcasts! Continue reading

August Reads

Can you believe it’s September already? I for one am relieved summer is coming to an end, although it feels very strange to not be back at college this time of year. This month was not terribly exciting, but I did get to take a little trip to Toronto to see The Black Keys and The Shins perform! The concert was excellent, but it was held on the same day as this huge Caribbean festival, and trying to drive anywhere was absolute madness. Ah well.

I hit a little reading slump the second half of August, like a few other bloggers. I just haven’t felt like reading much, and instead of being upset about this, I’m telling myself that my brain just needs a break from reading to recharge. I’m sure my voracious appetite for books will be back in full swing soon. Continue reading