Thursday, March 22, 2007

UNFINISHED BUSINESS . . . Books You Want To Read (Or You've Tried To Read) But Can't Seem To Finish . . .

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a large pile, bookshelf full or hidden stash of unread books. The majority of those books are probably titles you fully intend to read, but just haven't found time for yet. You probably also have quite a few that are just for "show" or reference, if you will--books you look at or flip through, every now and again, but don't feel the need to read from cover to cover. And then there are always those books that you honestly don't know how in the heck found their way into your possession and that you wouldn't read unless your life depended on it.

But how many of you are willing to 'fess up to owning books that you want to read, that you've tried to read and that your know durn well you oughta read, but for whatever reason, you've failed everytime you've attempted to do so?

Well, what follows, I'm NOT proud to say, are the top 3 on my List of Unfinished Books.

1) Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)

As I mentioned over at the BookSeller Chic's blog, I've been trying to read this book since I was a kid. Seriously, the first attempt was like in the 9th or 10th grade. The second attempt was probably 3 0r 4 years later, when my brother was assigned the book in school. I've even tried watching the doggone movie . . . hmm, never made it through that either. As much as I truly do enjoy the way this book begins, I'm not sure why I can't seem to make it more than halfway through the story before I toss it aside. Must be some sort of weird, psychological block. Or could be, it's just too doggone long.

2) The Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)

Yes, I know this is a truly shameful confession. What self-respecting, supposedly well-read, Black woman, writer-wanna-be, over the age of 35 hasn't read THE INVISIBLE MAN? Ahh . . . me. Yes, I do understand the beauty, the depth and the significance of the work. Believe me, I've tried to make myself finish it and will, no doubt, try again one day. But there's something about the story that just won't grab and hold my attention. I'm not sure, but ADD is a good possibility . . .

3) The Salt Eaters (Toni Cade Bambara)

Once again, y'all . . . I am so ashamed. As much as I adore GORILLA, MY LOVE, you'd think THE SALT EATERS would be an easy read for me to tackle. Not so. Every 7 years or so, I pick up this book and vow to read my way to the end, only to give up somewhere in the middle. I think the problem is, I just don't "get it." Okay, this last time ( 2 years ago or so) I came a little closer to understanding it than in previous years, but apparently not enough to wanna keep plowing through. Other than THE SALT EATERS, the only other book I've ever felt compelled to slam against a wall is Flannery O'Connor's WISE BLOOD. But even the latter I managed to finish and without wanting to choke somebody.

So, those are my 3. Anyone else feel like 'fessing up?


Miss Profe said...

Black Like Me, The Fire Next Time, and The Street.

I just don't make pleasure reading the priority that it should have. I need to start carrying a book in my work bag, and putting one on my bedside table.

Lori said...

Hey Miss Profess,
Thanks for stopping by the OSM and adding your voice to the "mix."
I've read the first two on your list. BLACK LIKE ME was a book I borrowed (stole) from my Mom's book shelf when I was in HS. Actually, I didn't like it well enough to keep, so, I gave it back (smile). Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME I bought on my own, also when I was in my teens. It's a classic & a keeper. Ann Petry's THE STREET I've heard great things about, but I have yet to read. So many books, so little time . . .

prof black woman said...

Ha Ha Ha. My 8th grade class concluded that his point could have been made much more succinctly and I credit that book for why I hate the modernists - even though I am not sure he is one, I'd need a refresher on that.

Also, I tend to carry Invisible Man to my staff meetings (or at least I did at my last job where I was invisible as opposed to my new job where I am hyper visible - I prefer Soul on Ice for this job).

Good luck getting it done. :)

Lori said...

Dag, if you're toting SOUL ON ICE (Etheridge Cleaver) to work, things must really be rough (smile). SOI is another one I read waay back in the day . . . before I finished HS. It's a pretty "rough" read, but extremely insightful.

8th grade? Hmm . . . I wonder if that's when I tried to read Dickens. If so, maybe my son will be reading it soon and I can try, yet, again. Of course, I could make it easy on myself and just pick up a copy of the Cliff Notes . . .

Hey, thanks for the contribution.

Lori said...

Oops, I meant "Eldridge" Cleaver not Etheridge. My bad. Lori D.