Tuesday, 19 August 2014

It's ok to give up reading a book!

Recently I have been reading the autobiography of Gertrude Stein. She is one of the most respected writers of the twentieth century, yet I am finding her autobiography increasingly alienating and hard to relate to. It is called 'The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas'. Alice was her lover and PA. The autobiography is of Gertrude Stein but written in the voice of Alice. It is hard to sympathise with her particularly as it is written in the guise of someone else. It is distant and harsh, she takes no prisoners. It is fascinating to hear about the lives of the people she socialised with such as Picasso and Hemingway. Yet I am finding myself picking up the book less and less. It has now even left the bag I regularly take with me on my morning commute. I'm about half way through it and I look at it on the dining table feeling guilty that I know I probably won't end up finishing it. But why should we feel this guilt!?! Yes,  Stein is one of the most famous and most well respected authors of the twentieth century but she is still one of the least read. It makes me angry in a way because I want to read women author's books from this era, but she is not relatable yet not a far cry from the women I admire.

As I write this post I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will probably never finish this book because I am admitting that I am not enjoying it and I don't find it easy to read. Reading should be enjoyable, you should look forward to reading a book, every book you read should be a page turner, after all we've all spent so much time at school reading things we don't want to read or are not interested in. We now have the freedom and the choice to read whatever we want. If you're not enjoying a book – stop – put it down, give it away, and try again. Don't be influenced by what is thought to be the best literature, but by what subjects you are interested in. Try going into book shops and reading the first two pages to get a feel for the book – you can always buy it online cheaper or on your kindle. Let's not feel guilty for not finishing books anymore, I for one will certainly not be judging you for giving up on a book!

Please let me know what your favourite books are. Even if they are picture books!!


  1. My old senior school english teacher would always tell us to give up a book if we aren't loving it within the first couple of chapters. There's too, too many books out there to be wasting time on a book you aren't loving!


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