Are you a book finisher or a giver-upper? I used to be a dedicated finisher, I would plough my way through long tiresome books, hoping that soon something would happen to make this all worth while – and sometimes it worked. Shipping News by Annie Proux took me ages to get into, but I’m glad I perservered. Margaret Atwood’s The Blind assassin and A S Byatt’s The Biographers Tale were two that took their time to impress me – in fact I think I enjoyed both of them more in hindsight! However of late I have gone off the practice of finishing, and find myself sighing and tossing the book aside if it is failing to impress. My latest giver upper has been Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture. It’s had good reviews, but somehow I couldn’t care about the characters and it’s gone on the growing pile of the “not read”!
This may explain part of my problem with Reading groups. I have belonged to, and left three! With each one I have struggled with the idea of reading a book that has to be read, (even if it is one I have willingly chosen myself). I get a feeling of having to read, which somehow takes away the pleasure. Even the copious amounts of wine and socialising can’t persuade me that reading groups are my thing. I like to read a book and savour it – on my own, and I hate it when someone doesn’t like something that I absolutely adored. Equally as a non finisher, I would often find myself with nothing to say except a lame, “I didn’t like it”. No reasons, no thoughts or ideas to back me up, just a shrug of my shoulders and a hasty gulp of wine.
If you belong to a fabulous reading group (and I’m sure many people do), then I envy you, but you can breath a sigh of relief because I won’t be knocking at your door wanting to join in the fun!