Abandonment sounds so final. If it isn’t a good fit, there’s no point to continue reading. However, I’m the type who wants to hang on until the end, gives me more to talk about if I don’t like it. I use the term “breaking up with a book” to explain to students to move on and find something else if they aren’t connecting with their selections. It’ll still be there if you want to go back to it later, I tell them.
Why don’t I take my own advice? Why would you want to read a book you aren’t enjoying? I do it to myself. I’m loyal. Even with books. Usually.
I’m on a re-reading streak of some favorites. Deenie by Judy Blume. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on audio (so good!). The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I need to stop here because I’m already overloading my list. This in addition my regular TBR tower, which groans under the heft of a new book I can’t resist when I’m shopping. I buy the ones that have library waitlists longer than several months.
I’m a slow reader, so if a book sounds like a great read, I usually buy it so I can spend all the time I need with it. Unfortunately, it takes me a while to get to them.
Beyond the queue, I’m considering adding break-up books. For different reasons, I couldn’t handle them at the time I picked them up. Dare I go back?
I broke up with A Wrinkle in Time as a kid, as a teacher, and as a parent. I checked this book out every year in middle school. I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I tried reading it to my fourth graders one year. They weren’t crazy about it, we reassessed, and chose something else.
When the 2018 movie was released, the one with Oprah, my nine year old requested the book. We got a copy after having watched the movie, which is the opposite of our books-to-movie household rule. I started reading it aloud to her and she intercepted the book after the first few chapters. Book dumped. Similar to being Netflix dumped, but with a book. She finished it without me. It wasn’t a favorite, but she enjoyed it while it lasted. I seem to stop every time after, who is it–Mrs. Whatsit?– shows up.
The Hobbit. Fourth time’s a charm? I also broke up with this one as a kid, as a teacher, and as a parent. I have it on Audible. It’s next in line after I finish HP2, which is due tomorrow. I watched the movie with my oldest and enjoyed it. This one might work.
I once read or heard somewhere that people need to listen to great stories. Was it Neil Gaiman?
Those great classics? They’re meant to be read aloud. They sound different when you hear them. I enjoyed Harry Potter, but listening takes it to a whole other level. If it’s a great listen, I can always go to the book to annotate, highlight favorite passages, and maybe add it to my TBRA pile, to be read again, in print.
I’m sure there are more, but here are other book relationships that didn’t work out, each for different reasons. I may rekindle these by listening instead. (Except for Verity, I flat out didn’t like that one.)
Neil Gaiman on reading aloud and audiobooks linked here.