I have found myself doing something lately that I never thought I would do: skimming through books. I'm not sure if it's all in my head or not, but most books don't hold my interest long enough for me to want to read to the last page. Paging through a self-help book which promises to help me help myself reads like the same old, same old. Maybe it's true that there is nothing new under the sun.
Have you had this happen? You pick up a book because the flyleaf tells you all the wonderful things you will learn simply by turning the book's pages. But somehow the real gist of the promised advice isn't there. And if it is, it could have been said in a magazine length article rather than a 20 chapter book. So many of my books have a bookmark stuck about one to two-thirds of the way through, marking the place I stopped, knowing I will never finish the book.
I have read several books by a creativity "expert" and received a notice that he had a new book out. I was set to order it from the library when I read a review. The reviewer basically said that the author had written a couple of great books -- which I agreed with -- but he was now rewriting those same books every year. The reviewer was correct. The last books by this author had been disappointments. And I know he's not the only one doing this. Another of my favorite authors had a new book published last year. I read it and wondered what the actual book had to do with what the public relations campaign said about the book. Sadly, I will probably pass on reading any new books by these authors.
When I was younger I would finish a book, no matter how miserable I was while reading it. I had to know what happened; what the conclusion was. Not anymore. I'm pretty happy just putting a book down -- or more likely returning it to the library, ever thankful I didn't pay money for it -- and moving on.
As for fiction books. I plan to use my friend's advice if I don't like a book. I will read some from the beginning, some from the middle and some from the end. I'm not sure I will miss much else.
I wonder if my new attitude toward reading has something to do with aging. We don't have as much time to finish bad books as we used to, so why even consider that we should? There are millions of books out there I will never get to in my lifetime. I'm just getting to them more quickly now than I used to.
By Teresa K. Flatley