Quotable Friday: from The Importance of Being Earnest

“It is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read.”

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde


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?

Book Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Book Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeTHE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
by Oscar Wilde

Dover Thrift, 1990 (first published 1895)
Paperback, 121 pages

I read this play for a read-along hosted by Wallace of Unputdownables, and I must say I really enjoyed my first foray into Wilde’s work! I’m a little dismayed, even, that I’ve had The Picture of Dorian Gray sitting unread on my bookshelf for over a year. What was I thinking? This stuff is wonderfully funny and brilliant, and it could have been in my brain 12 months ago! Needless to say, as soon as I finished reading The Importance of Being Earnest yesterday, I pulled The Picture of Dorian Gray from my shelf and placed it on my dresser, where it happily awaits my eager perusal. Continue reading