Thursday, December 13, 2012

Books to Resume


I read a lot.  But I read in many genres, and for various reasons, and in different rooms, so sometimes I stop halfway through. (This may comfort my sister, as it was a conversation with her that made me remember where I put all those bookmarks.)

So, here’s a list of books I’m in the middle of:

Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I started this when it first came out! And I am still in the middle of it. True, I lent it to my folks for a while, and both of them read it. Now I should really finish it before I see the movie, Lincoln, just as I read Life of Pi in case I see that movie this month.

A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates, by Blake Bailey. This is the biography of the guy who wrote Revolutionary Road. I think the tragic honesty got to me, but I do hope I will resume this someday. I feel obliged to finish it before I can start the biography of Joseph Cornell that awaits me, especially because I have also not finished…

Edith Wharton, by Hermione Lee. And I was really enjoying it! Sometimes biographies come to an excruciating place, and I cannot get past it. I had no such trouble, though, with Savage Beauty, by Nancy Milford, the biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

All the Devils Are Here, the story of the economic crisis. I took it back to the library. Because  I got lost in the details before the devils arrived.  Who are all already here.  Sigh…  But I will try again later.

The Poetics of American Song Lyrics, edited by Charlotte Pence.  I am loving this! I am reading it essay by essay. Likewise with Poetry in Person, edited by Alexander Neubauer, Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with America’s Poets.

Cleopatra, a biography by Duane A. Roller. I am halfway through this, but I read it backwards. I need to finish it soon and return it to my sister!

What makes you stop reading in the middle of a book?

7 comments:

Kim said...

The last book I stopped in the middle of was a book you lent me that I thought I would like very much...Everything Is Illuminated. I'm not sure why I stopped in the midst but I think I might have been overwhelmed by the book. I might try again...soon..or bring it back to you.

ps - LINCOLN is fabuloso even if you have not read the book which I have not. But now I want to read it!

Kathleen said...

I get overwhelmed by books, too. I think that happened with All the Devils are Here--overwhelmed by information. And in fiction I am sometimes overwhelmed by style or intensity. If the latter, I guess there will be a better time to read it, which is what happened with A Prayer for Owen Meany, started 4 times! And finally read--and I loved it.

noblesavage said...

I'll go with my favorite book I'm, ahem, still working on: The Oxford History of the Classical World. Late one night in 1988 I picked up this 800-page number, read the first sentence, "The subject of this book is enormous," and immediately fell asleep. Still marshaling the fortitude for the second sentence.

Kathleen said...

You are noble, indeed. I can only manage a few sentences at a time of The Anatomy of Melancholy....

Molly said...

I'm a stopper-in-the-middler, too. I usually resume at some point. Almost without fail, it's another book that makes me stop in the middle of a book.

Kathleen said...

Yes, yes, and more yes! To books interrupting other books!

The Swamp Lawyer said...

I usually stop due to an attack of ADD. I pick up something else and just lose focus. Or else the prose are so dense and technical it gets exhausting. And on occasion, I get at least seriously slowed down if the book turns out to not be what I expected. The philosophical digressions in Thoreau's "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" took me weeks to limp through. I thought it was going to be a nice story about a trip down a river.