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?
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!
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.
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.
You are noble, indeed. I can only manage a few sentences at a time of The Anatomy of Melancholy....
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.
Yes, yes, and more yes! To books interrupting other books!
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.
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