Yo, Dumped a Book Lately?

You know, it’s every reader’s guilty secret. This book dumping thing.
Book dumping happens to the best of us. It happens to everyone who reads.
I am sure we all started out eager to read everything and anything that came our way – I still read the small print on cosmetic bottles, the nutritional information on Danone Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Hazelnuts, of course), the ingredients of my Maybelline and ZA lipsticks, the awful bits of instructions which come with any gadget and gizmo. I guess once one knows how to recognise letters and words, there’s just no stopping us. It’s on autopilot I guess.
And then, there’s book dumping. Book dumping is that act which we voracious, greedy readers commit. Like moi. I pick up a book excitedly, read it for some 4 or 5 pages and then…. get so deflated because the book is NOTHING like the review I read some moons ago. Or nothing like I expected when salivating over the cover or the blurbs or the glowing praises.
The book becomes my personal burden. I am amazed that I even picked it up. But the perfectionist reader in me screams, “But how can you leave it unread? That’s absolutely unthinkable! Unfathomable!”
Therein sets in the book dumping guilt.
But you see, I can’t seem to finish some books. One in particular bugs me to no end. It’s still sitting like some fat cat on my shelf – Hemingway’s For Whom the Bells Toll. I thought I needed some literary inspiration. All I got was some inane mental torture. I can’t decide if the idea of war repulses me or the idea of that strange man’s writing (which for the life of me I cannot understand – errr, does that make me an intellectual moron?).
Of course, Daphne has written about it sometime ago and that I don’t have to feel guilty about not finishing a book. It’s my prerogative anyway. It’s my time anyway.
And yet! The other one is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (see, I can’t even spell that man’s name!) which is so belligerently boring. He goes on and on about how guilty he feels about stealing from the old woman, whom he also murdered. How guilt is eating into him and how he believes everyone knows he’s committed such a heinous crime. And that’s all I know because I stopped at page 231. Yes, yes, hurray for me because I managed to read half of the book before I gave up in desperation.
I am trying not to feel guilty about book dumping because these days I try to select the kind of books I want to read, not books on someone’s must-read list, or some award winners of some competition or other. It doesn’t work for me.
I’ve decided that if I don’t want to dump books, I should be pickier about books I read. On my to-read list are quite a number of fiction and non-fiction (thanks to book-buying every now and then when I go to Borders and Popular in Queensbay Mall).
There’s Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, Terry Pratchett’s Thud!, Eisenberg brothers’ Waiting for Your Cat to Bark, W.Chan Kim’s Blue Ocean Strategy (thanks to Rona for this true gem of a book), Jostein Gaarder’s Maya (yes, Mayakirana reads Maya!) and Kirk Cheyfitz’ Thinking Inside the Box. Plus, Best Pal loaned to me Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go which I haven’t started on yet! Tsk, tsk. (A side note: My all-time favourite books are The Little Prince by Antoine de St Exupery and Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. The book I don’t like at all was VC Andrew’s very dark, very disturbing Secrets in the Attic which I read at 14 and which traumatised me for the longest time after!)
What’s your book list like and shhh… have you dumped a book lately? Do tell!

9 thoughts on “Yo, Dumped a Book Lately?”

  1. I haven’t quite dumped this book yet but…Dreamland, by Kevin Baker has been bugging me since August. I can’t seem to read more than five pages at a time, and I still don’t know whether or not I like it. I’m totally with you on Heminway, though, I can’t read anything by him. But I love Dostoevsky! You have to give him another shot!

  2. Hmmmm…. have I dumped any book lately? I seldom cos I usually try the ‘tested and proven’ method by reading book reviews first. I know this sounds so ‘short-cut’ but at least, I can spare myself the agony of sitting through an entire book cursing under my breath. When Schindler’s List, the movie came about, I was estatic about the reviews and bought the book. That was 12 years ago and to date, I have only read the first few pages. But I do have one idiosyncracy though where books are concerned. I tend to choose books that are thick, have plenty of text and closely-arranged for only one obvious reason… ‘kiasu’… tsk tsk tsk

  3. Quick test of whether to buy a book – pick it up, read 5 random pages and if you want to know more, buy it. If not, don’t. Yes, I read ‘Blink!’
    Strangely one of the books that I dumped was Sophie’s World. I just wanted to know who the heck left all those messages – I wasn’t THAT interested in the philosophy of the world!

  4. I have no books to dump!!! I WISH i could dump my Chemistry, Physics, and ICIS books though…
    But I did dump “Jane Eyre”. Don’t get me wrong, I love classics – but don’t know why after reading first few pages I made my way to dreamland immediately!

  5. Oh, I’m super guilty of that, girl! Bought this enormous Shakespeare book with noble intentions of improving my literary tastes. Never opened the thing. I couldn’t even lift it. Way heavier than the St. James Bible, I swear. On the bright side, it’s very impressive to have that book on my shelf. Makes people think I’m quite the literati. In reality, I read the comics version of Shakespeare’s novels. Hahahaha!
    Miss ‘ya!

  6. Hi Sarah: We’re both hopeless on Hemingway! Hey that could be an alliteration…. OK, I will peek at Dostoyesky – that book is still begging to be read! Maybe it’s the unappealing book cover.
    Oh, Kate, you kiasu woman you. But I know you well. You either read a book or not at all. No halfways with you. But I also like American-printed books because of their paper, the quality of their printing, their type sizes, even the book looks good (except for Hemingway, which I bought on a whim. A terrible whim I must say). Local books can be quite lacking in terms of how the book is laid out, printed, bound, and yes, even the type size can be strange.
    D: Oh no, you didn’t like Sophie’s World! Btw how do I get your Pratchett books back to you? Just started on Thud two days ago. Enjoying it immensely! Did you look at the illustrated volume of Discworld in Borders, Queensbay? Gorgeous artwork. Makes your Pratchett world and characters come to life! (On the science fiction shelf…)
    Vern dear – I didn’t like Jane Eyre either. I read her or tried to, rather, when I was 11 and hated it. Maybe it was like Wuthering Heights. One either liked the moors or despised it. Too brooding for me. But I adored “Emma” – maybe because I kept re-reading it for my STPM Eng Lit!
    Sunny – Mabuhay dearie! Oh yes, I missed you too. I have been so busy lately that I have not had time to drop by Mentors4Startups. I am sure Colin’s fuming at me. But I do read your blog, you know. You’re my fave marketing woman. As for Shakespeare, I think he is an acquired taste. We’re both UN-literati people…. intellectual morons… haha. See you at your blog!

  7. I’ve got two books which I’m about to give up reading. One’s by Vernor Vinge – A Deepness in the Sky. For the life of me, I can’t remember the author and title of the other. About to start reading The Curious Incident of the dog in The night-time by Mark Haddon. Should be able to finish that by the end of my next holiday ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m not fussy. But I tend to like Jeffrey Archer, Stephen Collins, Frank Herbert, classics…etc.

  8. OWH MY GOD! MY FAVOURITE BOOK EVER IS THE LITTLE PRINCE TOO! n i can never find anyone who appreciates that book like i do. i mean i cried at the end of the book, hehehe…

  9. HI UnkaLeong: The first book, hmm, maybe I’m too plebien but never heard of it. Book number two is a fascinating insight into the mind of the autistic. Give it a chance.I learn much about autism through Haddon’s novel.
    Hi Zephyr: Yes, that book is really MEANT for adults. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kids won’t understand it the way we do. It just stabs at your heart doesn’t it?

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