Monday, August 27, 2007

Dreading Reading

I have a quick question for all you avid readers out there. Have you ever just trudged through a book? I mean, you keep reading, hoping for it to get better or for the message to affect you, but each chapter is drudgery and each time you shut the book you think to yourself, "I don't think I can stand to ever pick that book up again." If you have experienced this with me, what did you do? Do you keep reading (as my OCD nature tells me to finish) or chalk it up to a time waster and move on to a book that really speaks to you?

Here's what I am battling with. I have been "reading" Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven for some time now and I feel like his initial point about our bodily resurrection and the necessity of the earth's resurrection has been made already. But each chapter seems to go back to that main thesis and try to prove it in another way and I find myself quietly screaming, "OK! I GET IT! MOVE ON! WHY DO I NEED TO READ 40 CHAPTERS IF THIS IS ALL YOU ARE GOING TO SAY?!" Now don't get me wrong, Randy Alcorn is a great author and I have greatly benefitted from some of his other books, but I am just struggling with this one.

The other book that I put down a few months back and haven't picked back up is Piper's When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. Now the same qualifier counts here: You can't argue with Piper and I have enjoyed his writing, but I feel like once you get his theology, each book kind of just repeats it in a new context.

So, my readers, what do you think I should do? Do I keep plowing through the books and strive for the good feeling I know I will have when I finally finish a book, or do I stop now and devote my already scarce reading times to something seemingly more profitable? Give me your advice!


Anonymous said...

This is something I've experienced also, and with one of the same books you are reading (Heaven). It does seem that the author keeps repeating himself over and over, and for a while I wanted to stop reading. What kept me going was the fact that the book was due back at the library and I couldn't renew it because two others had it reserved. Thus, I read all I could before returning it and plan to reserve it again. I left off on chapter 20, just as the book was getting better. Now I look forward to finishing it.

I'm currently reading a shorter book, Preparing for Adolescence by James Dobson. Sometimes a shorter book helps give me a sense of accomplishment as I know I can finish it.

I also started another book, Artful Scribbles, on the significance of children's drawings, which I may not finish. The book is based on secular psychology and, while it may provide some interesting thoughts, may not be worth my time to finish. I still have it sitting on my shelf though.

I've read that one benchmark is to give a book 50 pages, and if it's not worth reading, then it's okay to stop and find something more worthwhile.

I love finding a book that I can't put down but know that all books will not be that way. :)

Crazy Mom said...

Ok, miss OCD... :) WHen you finally finish that book, just so you can have that good feeling of finishing it, are you going to say that was a complete waste of my time! ;)

Name: Karen said...

It is rare I put a book away, but I have. I am of the mindset that if I started it I have to finish it or I can't give my two cents worth about the book if someone asks, b/c I can't have an opinion unless I've read it completely. (I know, lame and pathetic!)

I love Piper as well but have had some of the same thoughts everytime I read his books....I think...haven't I read this in another one of his books, just phrased a different way.

For me,the length of a book doesn't scare me---but boring, *yawn*, or repetitive chapters make me crazy..but I almost always perservere. I love Paul David Tripp and Tedd Tripp---but Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer was like this for me; repetitive same thing said many different well as several books by Gary Thomas. Sacred Marriage was a "top of the chart" book for me--but then came Sacred Parenting and Sacred Pathways---the book was so simliar that I struggled to get through them.

Remember the Omartian books, Power of a Praying there are (I want to say a zillion) books that start with "Power of a Praying" and end with you name it; parent, wife, husband, mother, father, leader, grandmother, teacher, pastors wife, cook, baker and candlestick maker. (Im joking--slightly)

So...all that to say (I must not have used up all my words today?) I rarely give up on a book. But there are many that I finish and never recommend. Maybe thats deep down why I finish save someone else from the "have to finish a mediocre book b/c I started it" syndrome!

Ha Ha Good question! I always enjoy reading others thoughts when Bloggers pose questions!

Sarah said...

I think you should do as my father told me to do with endless books for college classes. Skim for all your worth, and try to pick out the gems! :-) If you really feel guilty giving up on a book (I wish I had that kind of conscience...I have many half-read books sitting next to my bed), then just try to pick out a few obvious truths that may be different than the author's other books.
I am with Morning Rose though--I love it when I find a book that I can't wait to get my hands on again! That is what "Lies Women Believe..." is for me, and we are doing a ladies' bible study on it so I am very excited!