23 June 2010

Obligation

*thinks* Where to start. Someone lent me a book last week. The operative word there is lent. I didn't borrow it, they lent it to me. And...it was HUGE! Over 1200 pages! It was 'suggested' that I read the first few chapters (and these chapters were marked) and that I not 'give up' until I had read those chapters.

So, I tried...and tried...and tried. And then I admitted defeat. (But yes, I did make it to the first 'marker'.) It wasn't just the size of the book, although that in and of itself put me off. And it wasn't that it was very cerebral, and...almost dry, although that didn't help. And maybe in another time and place the book may have worked for me. But...I think I simply couldn't read the book because part of me wanted to read something else and resented its appearance...

I have learnt a number of things from this incident. One, that you can't be...forced into reading a book. The phrase right place, right time is very apt. And two, I don't ever want to put someone into the position I felt I was in. So if I ever wax lyrical about a book and beg you to read it, please remind me of this post...and that no one should ever feel obligated to read a book.

So, have you ever felt...obligated to read a book? Were you able to read it and, if so, did you enjoy it?

14 comments:

  1. LOL..oh yes..I've been in this position. It is awkward..but at the same time, sometimes you just CAN'T do it.

    I agree- I hope everyone knows that if I pimp a book or "make" someone read something and they don't like it...just say it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yes. I've been there. I finally returned a stack of books that my SIL lent me, some of them 3 or 4 years ago! I, um, might've dropped them off while she and my brother were out of town, so that we wouldn't have to have the conversation in which she discovered I hadn't read any of the books... :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awkward! And yes, I've been there too. LOL! It's aweful. Like doing homework. Even with a good book ;) I try to avoid these situations now by saying that I'll rather buy and read the ebook version *wicked smile*. Uhuh! *g*

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mandi - exactly! It was very awkward. I tried to explain I hadn't enjoyed it, but somehow ended up agreeing to keep reading! My best friend and I had a great conversation over lunch about it and I went back and politely declined. Being told they didn't think I would read it hurt though!

    Chris - LOL! That was very cunning! But it's so hard. Reading is such a personal thing...maybe it's like eating. Everyone has different taste buds so what a tomato tastes like for one person isn't necessarily what it will taste like for another person. Oh dear...I'm hungry and it's only 8.330 AM :(

    Janna - you've hit the nail on the head. It is like doing homework! And I love the eBook explanation! That's brilliant! Can I borrow it please?

    ReplyDelete
  5. You know what... I won't.

    If ever again you wax lyrical about anything and say that "everyone" (or so and so persons) should read it and would "surely" love it, etc... I will not remind you of this post.

    Wanna know why?

    Because there is a huge gap between *that* and handing a book to someone--as a loan, to top off the cake of awkward!--and making reading it an obligation.

    Waxing lyrical and writing odes to the books we love is what makes all of us, readers, a community, a family, a... damn, I can't really put it into words. But it is those exchanges, that passion, that enthusiasm and motivation to share what we love, what we like, what we've enjoyed, what has made us think, what has pushed all the right (and/or wrong) buttons... with all the readers out there who may be reading our words, that is what makes the online reading community so incredibly special.

    That is what made it possible for me to venture to DC last year and approach Kristie(J), SLWendy, Rosie, Lisabea/LBGregg and so many other blogger--and all the many authors.

    So please, orannia, do not ever curtail your feelings over books.

    After all, it's not as if you are handing us the book and waiting for it back, read...

    right?

    ReplyDelete
  6. How funny, I use the same excuse as Janna :) I've done it twice... just couldn't read the books offered. I read pretty much read anything... but it is all about my mood.

    I also hate borrowing books; I so much prefer owning them. (Which is why I now have so many that I'm giving away.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. azteclady - that was the most incredibly amazing comment! WOW! Just...WOW! *hugs* Thank you. And I completely agree. I love reading people's opinions of books...learning why they enjoyed it. And I would hate to lose that.

    Janna- thank you!

    Mariana - I love it. I think it's a great excuse. And I agree with you that it's all about mood. Sometimes there are just certain books I don't want to read, regardless of how much I've been looking forward to them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't really feel obligated, orannia. I'll only read it if it appeals to me, if not, well... I just tell the person that it's not my cup of tea, but thank them for the recommendation.

    I think it's wonderful to share recs between friends/family, but I don't tend to respond well if someone attemps to "push" a read on me -- not a cool thing to do, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, I felt like I HAD to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell because my friend very kindly bought it for me, and I know she's as poor as I am. Wellll, I made it through. :P

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hils - I think that's a fantastic approach. A polite 'no' part. I tried with this book, and then back tracked. Reverse psychology...even though the person kept saying they weren't using any.

    And mass apologies for not being over to visit this week. I am definitely stopping by tonight!

    heidenkind - I am very impressed you made it through Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It was a DNF for me...I think I only got a chapter in and realized it just wasn't working. And sometimes it is hard to say 'no'...it was very sweet of your friend to buy you a book :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I used to feel that sense of obligation, but now I just look at people and say 'you don't seriously expect me to read that'.

    Hey, getting nasty seriously works for me in my old age. :P

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kris - LOL! I need to try that next time. And hey, if you're old I'm ancient!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Omgosh, yes! I am under obligation to read the last Harry Potter book before the movie comes out. My daughters have been on my case for a good two years by now... could that be? They're threatening me with spoilers now. While we're in the car and I can't escape!

    It gets worse. I think I may have even signed something.

    In blood.

    *doomed*

    ReplyDelete