Monday, June 27, 2016

Why I'm Afraid of Books

Saturday, I signed up for an adult Summer Reading program at the local library in Johnson City, New York.   It runs until August 2, at which time there will be an End of Summer Party.  All I have to do is read a minimum of three books and return my log at the party.

No problem, I thought.  I love to read.

Now, that blank Adult Summer Reading Log is staring me in the face.  Oh, I read.  I read a lot.  I read blogs, Facebook posts, and a lot of books.  But, I don't finish that many books, and that's the problem I am facing.  I  read a lot of books for a few chapters, and discard them.

They didn't move me.  Or I didn't like something.  Maybe it was the lack of good world building, an important element of the genres I enjoy.  Or they just didn't live up to their promise.

You have to be careful with books.  If they are good, they will take over your life until you finish them.  If they are really good, they will stay with you for months or years after, coloring how you look at the world.

If they are masterpieces, they will change your life.

I expect a lot out of books.  And that's why I'm afraid of them.

I'm afraid of books like "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro.  It still hasn't let me go.

Or To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Then, there are the books that teach, like Blessing's Bead by Debbie Dahl Edwardson or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  Or the various Holocaust memoirs I have read.   Oh yes, especially those memoirs.

Yes, I am afraid of books, and afraid of that blank page, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Because I have to read books to fill it up.  And who knows what those books will do to me.

I can't live with books.  I can't live without them.

What about you?


  1. I read about five a week (six if one counts Audible in my car)...
    Nothing to be afraid of. Politics should take care of that easily enough..

  2. Yes, good books stay take over your life, and stay with you for years. The latest one to do that to me is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I do start a lot of books and then leave them, too. Sometimes the characters just aren't developed well, and I really don't care what happens to them. I made a resolution on my last birthday to read as many books as I am years old, which would have been 51. Sadly, I have less than two months left now to finish 43 books!

  3. There are days I won't start a new book because I know it'll keep me up, and I need to get out of bed before noon the next day. And yet, last night... 4 AM. And it was a novella! But, I didn't have to be up this morning (and I managed to wake at 9, so score!).

  4. Life is too short to read bad books.


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