It is time for some book confessions and I have got a real strange one to confess. Some people break spines, some read the last page first, mine is completely different. I first really noticed this while reading the Russian sci-fi classic Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky. I was half way through the book and I thought ‘this book is amazing’, there are all these interesting ideas about science and technology; then I wanted the book to end.
I did some research in other books I’ve read recently and it seemed to happen with them as well. No matter how much I enjoy the plot and characters, I seem to be contently seeking out the themes within the books. This isn’t really a bad thing, I am trying to train my brain to read critically and analyse the text as I am going along. However I don’t want to lose interest in a book once I find a major theme.
I had a think about the books and I realised Middlemarch took me so long because I would find a theme to really sink my teeth into and I would spend so much time thinking about what this novel said about it and forget to continue reading. The problem with this is that Middlemarch is pretty much a social commentary on provincial live and there are so many themes within the book to explore. I had to force myself to go back and continue reading and then I would fixate on another theme for a while and lose interest with the rest of the book again.
Another example would be The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery where there are so many philosophical ideas that I want to investigate it tends to distract me from the rest of the book. The only problem is that I don’t know that much about philosophy, so I have to spend more time researching ideas than actually enjoying the book. I did however manage to finish The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Roadside Picnic and Middlemarch; I love them all dearly and I think that is because I spent some much time thinking about them. It is just a really weird bookish quirk I have and I am not sure if it is entirely useful.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I am so weird and why I am constantly searching for themes in books. I do enjoy critical reading and I have a keen interest in literary criticism so if I train myself to actually focus on the book in search of more themes, maybe I will be less likely to lose interest halfway through. I think this quirk started when I first discovered reading; the book was Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone! by Craig Schuftan. This non-fiction book explores the link between The Romantic Movement and modern rock music and it too me six months to read. Not because I am a slow reader, but because I had to read most of the books and poetry referenced here. It sparked a passion within me, not just of reading but also of learning.
Now it’s your turn to confess; are there any bookish confessions you want to make? Now is your chance to share them.