Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reading List 2009--One Miss

A few weeks ago, I posted my reading list for 2009. So far, I've made good progress. I'll post more about the positives tomorrow, when I have more time.

I feel terribly guilty about the one book that I've already abandoned, Mary Doria Russell's Dreamers of the Day. I read the first 75 pages, and then gave myself permission to stop. I hated the main character, even though I wanted to find her plucky. I hated her mother--although the woman died early in the book, she continues to be a voice in the main character's head.

When I was younger, I felt that I had to read every book I started. Some time during grad school, I gave up that idea. Life is short, and my reading list grows ever longer. It still feels strange to commit to a book for 75 pages, and then give up. I usually make a keep-reading-or-stop decision in the first 10 pages. So, for you fiction writers out there, those first pages really are as important as they tell you--or at least, for this one reader.

I feel particularly bad because I've always loved the work of Mary Doria Russell. Her book, The Sparrow, is one of the more startlingly original books I've ever read. I read a lot of books (or at least, I once did, and hope to again), and I rarely remember much about them very long. But this book stays with me and I find my thoughts wandering back to it far more often than most other books I've read.

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