Last week I mentioned some of my favorite books to read so far this year. I have recently begun feeling more comfortable putting a book aside if I don’t want to read it. I used to feel compelled to trudge through a book once it was started even if I thought it was terrible and didn’t hold my interest. I’ve started keeping a reading journal to help myself keep track of what I love and hated about books. This has been helpful in establishing some patterns in my reading to better select books in the future. With that in mind, here are some of my recent losers.
- Oil and Honey by Bill McKibben This book started out pretty promising and I got more than halfway through it until I got bored. McKibben is an author and professor who stumbles his way into a love of honey bees and an activist against the Keystone Pipeline. At first I thought this book was interesting- I enjoyed learning about honey bees (they are incredibly smart) and learned a lot about global climate change. At some point the book stops being educational and starts being a journal of all of the trips McKibben took (by plane, nonetheless) to fight the good fight of environmentalism. I got tired of reading “Then I went here and talked to these people” and put the book down.
- How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg Full disclosure- I will probably finish reading this someday. I just picked it up at the library during one of my busiest work seasons and haven’t had the brain space to read this business book. It’s not terribly dry, but there are a lot of facts and footnotes so it’s also not the easiest read. Made it to page 15 before I ran out of renewal chances at the library.
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett Sure, it has 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, but I just could not get into this book. I forced myself to make it a decent way into it before I gave it up. The plot was too slow for a 500+ page book. It’s not a pillar in my library for sure.
- Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money by Helen Johnson I read this as a part of a professional book club and it was such a pain. The book might be helpful if I were a college student’s parent and had no clue, but I was bored to tears. It was also extremely repetitive, but could be a useful handbook/resource for college parents who aren’t also student affairs practitioners.
- Reunion by Alan Lightman I did actually finish this, but only because it’s very short. IT was really not a very good novel and if it were longer, I would have thrown it by the wayside.
Thinking about the books on the list I learn that I really only enjoy novels that drag me into a moving plot. If it is not a true story, I need my imagination to be captured. Similar things are true for non-fiction, but I need brain space to read it and to feel like I’m learning or gaining something for my time with the pages.