my “to read” bookshelf

30 07 2006

Tempest-TostI just finished reading Roberston Davies Tempest-Tost. It has been on my shelf for some time, a used copy that I picked up somewhere downtown a long time ago, and like all of the other books that live in my “to read” bookshelp it has proved disapppointing. It was a struggle to get through it, the reading dragging on over weeks rather than days.

Perhaps I was not in the mood for this type of book. Reading the back again, it seemed a good summer read, particularly the theatrical element of it, but maybe I’ve spent too much time for the past few months around amateur theatrical people. The answer’s probably simplier than that though and not confined to simply Robertson Davies’ prose.

I have a whole bookshelf of books I’ve accumlated and not read yet. It’s a bit embarassing and excessive that I have not just one shelf, but rather a whole bookcase of books that I haven’t read yet. It started during undergrad. I would buy books or be given them and then not have the luxury of reading them. It seems I buy the most books when I don’t have the time to read them – mainly when I’m in school and I have to read what I was told to read. I suppose it was me rebelling a bit buying these books, making it clear that one day I would read what I wanted.

What has happened with book after book is just disappointment. They can’t seem to live up to the promise they hold sitting on the bookshelf. It’s the ones that I always most look forward to that prove the most disappointing. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was the first one. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell I’ve put down and taken back up countless times, but I still can’t seem to get through it. The Lovely Bones still sits on my shelf unread because I’m terrified of the same thing happening.

Other books – ones that I never expected much from – are the ones that have surprised me. It my awhile to get into The Dress Lodger but it took an emotional turn that really surprised me. The Sweetest Thing I also enjoyed more than I was expecting to.

What I want to do right now is return to some of my old, comfortable books. My Jane Austens and my Agatha Christies and my Rosamund Pilchers (particularly The Shell Seekers and September), but I can’t because they’re all packed and by the time they are unpacked school will have begun again and then it’s the same vicious cycle starting again.

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