Thursday, July 08, 2010

Taking My Own Advice

It's amazingly easy to dish out advice.

I don't even mean in the "sticking your nose where it doesn't belong" way (although that's even easier if you let yourself go there).

I just mean when you see someone going through something you have experience with, it's easy (at least as long as this someone isn't a complete stranger - though even THAT's easy for some people - especially if she's a pregnant lady or new mom) to offer some hard-earned advice.

"Nap when the baby naps. Sleep is more important than a clean kitchen and folded laundry."

"Go to the grocery store on a weekday morning. It's less crowded, and thus, quicker and less irritating."

"Watch 'Big Bang Theory'! It's HILARIOUS!!!"

We all have "tips" we've picked up as we've struggled through life. It's nice to share a truly helpful tip to welcoming ears and feel you've helped someone out.

*In a seemingly unrelated story*
I used to be an English teacher (in what somedays feels like another lifetime). My favorite part of teaching English (other than helping people understand grammar) was helping a student who "hates reading" find something to read that he/she enjoyed. My theory was (and advice has always been) that if you "hate to read", you simply haven't found the right book. I said it (and meant it and proved it) many, many, many times over. I truly think that everyone would enjoy reading SOMETHING if they would just try enough stuff to find the right thing.

*I swear, it seems like I'm a jumping bean today, but it all really is related.*
So this summer, I decided to try reading some of the classics that "everyone has read" that somehow in all my education, I missed. I determined that for everyone of my fabulous mystery novels that I love, I would read one classic that I had somehow missed.

I started with _Catcher in the Rye_. It was a pretty quick, easy read. And can I just say...

NOT.MY.BAG!!!

BLECH!

I kept thinking, "This is awful, and weird, and pointless. But everyone loves it and it's a classic, so if I keep reading, it'll get better or I'll find the point or thing that everyone loves eventually."

Not so much.

Read another murder mystery and then, based on a katrillion recommendations, I picked _Catch 22_. It's, apparently hilarious and clever.

I've been reading it for almost a month and a half now. I'm on page 27. I've read 3 other books while avoiding this one. I just can NOT get into it.

But I felt this NEED burning within me to continue forcing myself to read it - to finish it even though I was forcing myself - ME, the person who reads 1-3 books a WEEK. I'm the girl who has to force myself to put DOWN a book long enough to eat dinner or spend a little time with my family. But somehow I kept thinking, "It's a classic. You HAVE to finish it. Maybe eventually this narrator's voice will begin to speak to you instead of irritating you."

However, last night, I was walking around Target and saw a rack of "Classic Books" and saw quite a few books that looked infinitely more appealing to me. And I FINALLY decided to follow my own advice.

Not every book is for every person. If you hate it, put it down and pick another. There are too many books that you will LOVE hanging around out there waiting to be read to waste time forcing yourself to read something you're not into!!!

So last night before bed, I had a conversation with _Catch 22_. I explained that, although I'm sure it's an amazing book, and a nearly infinite number of people love it, it was just NOT.MY.BAG, so I was moving on. "It's not you. It's me, or maybe the combination of the two of us."

And I started _Of Mice and Men_.

Loving it.

Love & Shipoopies,
Leslie

4 comments:

Camily said...

Good for you! Hope you enjoy the new pick!
I'm leaving on a quick weekend trip tomorrow (without kids for 36ish hours) and am going to buy a new book to read on the plane and tomorrow night in bed. Can't wait!!! Any good mystery recommendations?

He & Me + 3 said...

ABsolutely. since I am not a big reader, because of lack of time...I only read books that really keep my attention.

Mandapooh said...

(gah, we are so much alike sometimes!) I feel the same way about The Shack. After a year of not reading it just because everyone else did, I broke down and started it. That was a year and a half ago. It still sits out on the table. I've only not finished a book one other time in my memory. So, I will join you and take your advice. When I get home tonight and say a proper goodbye. I love you!!!

Connie Weiss said...

I've decided that I'm going to read all of the Jane Austin books this winter. I so hope I love them because I'll be so disappointed if I don't.