Choosing to write about the books I’m reading, on my blog after I’ve read them, has forced me to think about why I read, and what’s important to me in a book. Basically, if a book grabs me, then it’s not an issue at all to get it read. I want to read it, and can’t wait to sit down with it at any point in the day. But if a book doesn’t grab me, then reading it becomes a chore. And while I feel somewhat guilty about that, at the end of the day reading time is pleasure time, for me. If a book isn’t cutting it, I stop reading it.
(Are you a “have to finish it even if I don’t like it” kind of person? Or will you drop a book partway through?)
This first book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield, was the former kind, it totally grabbed me. It was fantastic. Chock-full of quotable bits, which I wrote down in my journal, all about having a positive attitude, working well with others, and how the thrills of space life relate to life on earth. One of the many great quotes I jotted down: “Fundamentally, life off Earth is in two important respects not all unworldly: you can choose to focus on the surprises and pleasures, or the frustrations. And you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience, the everyday moments, or to value only the grandest, most stirring ones. Ultimately, the real question is whether you want to be happy.”
The book was told in a friendly tone, yet knowledgeable and authoritative. And every time I sat down with it, it kind of blew my mind: here I am, doing ordinary, day-to-day things, yet all this time there are people out there like Chris Hadfield, going into frigging space. Space!
The next book I read was another gripping one: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown. This one, however, was even more densely-packed with goodness, thoughts that I wanted to read and then savour, thinking about and rolling around in my mind. So, it took me a little bit longer to get through it.
Again, I folded a lot of corners while I was reading this book, preparing for when I was finished it, to write down quotes.
The whole way through I was going “Yes! Yes!” and wanting to run around telling people about the nuggets of truth in this book.
After Daring Greatly I was feeling a bit cocky and I picked out a book published in 1838. I’ve never read any Dickens and felt like I should. So I picked out Oliver Twist.
However, it quickly become a slog. It was all about the wretched living conditions for orphans in Victorian England, and all the awful sorts of people that this one orphan, the title character, encountered. I got about a quarter of the way through before admitting to myself, this was not pleasure reading, not for me.
So then I moved on to Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. All the reviews were going on about it, and at first I didn’t get why, as it seemed a pretty straightforward story about a young woman down on her luck in England. But then she gets hired as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man, and the story picks up emotional speed. By the end I wasn’t wanting to stop reading!
All the books this time around were borrowed from the Cape Breton Regional Library. My two previous book report posts are here and here. My blog inspiration Elise writes book reports too, and one of them is here.
What are you reading? Have any recommendations for what I should read next?