Reader’s Block

“The must read book of the summer!”

“A great beach read!”

“You won’t be able to put it down!”

Nearly every book cover or magazine that offers book suggestions is full of quotes expressing nearly the same sentiments.

Unfortunately, one person’s idea of the “Best Book of the Decade!” may be the next person’s snooze-ville.  And, my pocketbook and reading time have been wasted on more than one of these flowery descriptions that actually turned out to be a real stinker.

I’m an avid reader….and that’s putting it lightly.  I always carry a book with me wherever I go.  You never know when you’ll get 5 minutes to get a few pages read.  In addition to always being in the middle of a book, I like to have my next read lined up and waiting in the wings.

The book store is my home away from home.  I could wander for hours, getting lost in the aisles and sucked into those tantalizing descriptions and intriguing covers.  (Yes, I judge books by their covers.  So do you, admit it.)

When iBooks and the Kindle store came along, at first, it felt like Christmas everyday.  You mean to tell me I can search book titles and peruse summaries at all hours of the day, never needing to leave the comfort of my home?  Finish a book at 10:30 pm, instantly download the next.  Take 12 books with me at all times.  Am I dreaming?

With all the conveniences, I have found one major flaw.  I much more frequently find myself enthusiastically starting a new read to be disappointed by a bad purchase a few chapters in.

You see, when I’m in the book store, I take certain, um, liberties with the books I’m about to buy.  Ok fine, I start reading them, sometimes a decent number of pages into them to see if they are really worth the price tag.  The title might be catchy and the cover interesting, but if it doesn’t grab my interest in the first chapter, chances are, it will not make it to the check out.

I have yet to master this with my downloads.  I know, I know, you can download samples of many online versions to try out the books before you actually purchase them, but I keep forgetting that step.  It’s like, since I don’t have to hand over actual money for each book, I just hit download without thinking, then find myself repeatedly disappointed.

I’m currently stuck in a terrible drought of one bad, sucky download after another.  My problem is, since I’ve actually paid good money for the book, I have a hard time throwing it to the side when hate it.  Right now, I’m 85 pages into a “Must Read of the Summer”, recommended on numerous reading lists and websites and……I can’t stand this book!  With every sentence, every paragraph, every page, I argue with myself.

~

Why are you still trying to read this crappy book?

Because I paid for it!

You’re wasting time you could be reading something you actually enjoy!

But all those reviews said it was so riveting.

Oh, here we go with the reviews again.  Stop, it’s terrible.

I’ll give it one more chapter.  Then, if it’s not any better, I’ll quit.

No you won’t.

~

Help!  I’m officially stuck in bad book hell.

 

Technically it has been 30 minutes, but…..

I’m mean and evil.  I make my kids read for 30 minutes a day.  I know, I know… how horrible of me!  I want my kids to be able to read well, comprehend what they read, and focus on something other than a screen for a half hour.  Call me crazy!

My daughter jumps right in.  She sits somewhere with a book in front of her face for thirty minutes.  I don’t always know if she is really reading or daydreaming, but she looks like she is, so it works for me.

My son, on the other hand, well, here’s how he spends his thirty minutes.

Minutes 1 and 2 – Looking for the book he was reading at the last reading time.

Minutes 3 and 4 – Flipping through the book, looking at pictures, claiming he is looking for where he left off.

Minute 5 – Me nagging him about using a book mark and to start reading already.

Minutes 6, 7, and 8 – Appears to be reading, may actually be reading, I don’t know.

Minutes 9 and 10 – Staring that the wall with the book in front of his face, not reading, but not having yet figured out how to fake that he is.

Minute 11 – Call the dog to him

Minute 12 and 13 – Throwing the ball and squeaking the dog’s toy.

Minute 14 – Second lecture from me about reading the darn book already.

Minutes 15 and 16 – Again appears to be actually reading the book.

Minute 17 – Stretching

Minutes 18 and 19 – Burying face in the couch.

Minute 20 – Hearing third lecture about reading.

Minute 21 – Reading, fake reading, whatever.

Minute 22 – Announces that he is done!  Beginning of the back and forth argument between him and I about when he started and when thirty minutes from that time would be.  Who taught this boy to read a clock?  What…nevermind.

Minutes 23 and 24 – Flipping through book, while bouncing legs and humming.  The book’s in his hand but I’m preeeetttty sure he’s not reading.

Minute 25 – Walks to bathroom, loudly announcing, “I’m going to the bathroom!!”

Minutes 26 – 29 – In bathroom

Minute 30 – Exits bathroom.  Looks at the clock. Smiles.  Looks at me, “The big hand’s on the 8 now, I’m done!”

Time from the big hand being on the 2 til the big hand is on the 8 – 30 minutes

Time Trystan actually spent reading – Maybe 7 minutes

Can’t wait to do this again tomorrow!