This is a question I think about often…anyone any answers?


The New York Review of Books asks us: “Why Finish Books?” It’s an interesting question, one which merits some thought. I’m currently laboring through a book, which was highly acclaimed, generally well-reviewed by most major critics, and yet it’s one of the most boring books I’ve ever read. Multiple times throughout, I’ve wanted to just throw the thing away, set it on fire, or throw it onto the subway tracks right before the A Train comes rumbling along, sparking those useless pages into flames.

BUT. But I feel so strongly about finishing every book I start because of two books whose difficulty almost stopped me, but which ultimately shaped my lifelong tastes as a reader (and human being): SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, which begins with almost 200 pages of flora and fauna local to the state of Oregon; and 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE which challenges the reader…

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3 thoughts on “

  1. I don’t understand your reticence:)
    It’s disappointing, though, isn’t it, when for whatever reason we can’t respond to someone’s writing? But, reading’s not a duty, or a tryst with the sacred – though some books might, blissfully, fall within this latter category – and having paid your money, given it your best shot, and still you’re unconvinced, I don’t see why it can’t be used as a doorstop, or some other practical device. Having said that – and yes, I do, after several attempts (sometimes spanning years, even decades, depending on the degree of critical acclaim) abandon a book which fails to capture my attention, there is a tradition in Buddhist publishing that a book about the teachings must not be discarded, but rather, passed on to someone else. Perhaps that’s the answer?

  2. It’s very disappointing indeed, but maybe that’s part and parcel of sometimes connecting with a writer so deeply and so freakishly that you feel like they got inside your mouth and started speaking in your voice, for you. Still, I like your Buddhist answer very much. Assumedly, as with men, there is a book out there for everyone 😉

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