I started a book recently. And decided not to finish it. And I’m okay with that.
It was “Running with Scissors.” Great reviews. “So funny!”
I hated it.
HATED IT. (it’s VERY different from the movie)
H A T E D I T! (did I mention I hated it?)
And I don’t have to read stuff I hate. I’m a grown up and I get to choose. There was a time I wouldn’t have been comfortable with the idea of abandoning a book mid-read. I was taught to finish what I start. That not finishing was . . . failure.
So what changed my mind? A book, what else?
I read the book, “So Many Books, So Little Time” by Sara Nelson. In it, Sara chronicled her reading for an entire year. She had a reading list and a plan. A plan she didn’t stick to. She had books on her reading list she never got around to, books she hadn’t planned on reading, but devoured and (this is the revelation for me) a book or two she didn’t finish.
She didn’t finish a book.
And she was okay with that. She didn’t feel like she failed, was too ignorant or uncultured to understand or appreciate something or that she left something incomplete. She gave herself permission to put the book down and never look back.
Ahhhhh. My to do list just got so much lighter. Guilt is heavy. What I never realized before was that I actually did feel guilty when I didn’t finish reading a book. (If you think “Atlas Shrugged” is a heavy book, you can imagine how heavy the “still haven’t finished it” guilt is.)
Maybe it’s a book I’m not into. Why should I keep reading something I don’t like? Why? My discretionary time is so limited! Why should I spend it doing things I don’t like?
Maybe I do like a book, but it doesn’t reach in and touch me at this time in my life. I may LOVE it later. But not now. I can always read it later. If I want to. There have been spans of time in my life where I find great meaning and am edified by reading “My Utmost from His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and other times in my life where the book gathers dust on the shelf. Maybe I will finish Atlas Shrugged, but it’s not meaningful for me at this time in my life. Right now, I just don’t give a flip about John Gault.
So I’ll keep my leather bound copy of My Utmost for His Highest and my big, giant 40 pound copy of Atlas Shrugged and as I return Running with Scissors to the library, I’ll be thankful that I didn’t actually pay money for it.