Sunday, February 8, 2009

the graveyard of partially-read books

I've been trying so desperately hard to read Jane Eyre the past couple of weeks. And I'm on page 23. 23! Every so often I pick it up ready to dive in and be, well, inspired. Somehow moved. But instead I have a feeling that it will sit on my night-stand a couple more weeks, before it ultimately joins the other partially-read books in my bookshelf. Now that I mention it, the number of unfinished books in that shelf is becoming more and more daunting. And it makes me wonder why it's so easy for me to walk away, mid-story, from book after book? If I'm honest with myself, I think it all has to do with my reasons for reading them in the first place. For instance, I started reading Jane Eyre because of the movie Definitely Maybe. In it, Isla Fisher's character, April, owned numerous copies of the book and re-read it every year. Each year finding something new that fascinated her. That spoke to her. That helped her make a little more sense of her life. And something about that seemed so charming. So I chose to read it in hopes that it would speak to me. That it would help me make some sense of my life. But, instead, I find myself tripping over Charlotte Bronte's writing style and utterly bored with each passing page. It certainly isn't speaking to me in any special way. And maybe it never will. In all likelihood, it will remain a partially-read attempt at finding some hidden truth. A never quite what I thought it would be. An almost. And that's okay, too. Maybe my not liking Jane Eyre reveals a truth in and of itself. The things we truly enjoy are the things we appreciate for what they are. Not for what we want them to be. Or for what we hope they could be. And this isn't just books, of course. It's everything. We can't make something (or someone) into what it's not. We can't expect things to live up to our expectations. It just doesn't work that way. Maybe when we start to accept that, we become a bit happier. And maybe our lives, as well as our bookshelves, become filled with the things that are exactly right for us just the way they are.

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