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The 50 Book Challenge #2 – “That One Book”

(Staff Graphic/Tasha Robinson)(Staff Graphic/Tasha Robinson)
(Staff Graphic/Tasha Robinson)

(Staff Graphic/Tasha Robinson)

In his previous blog, Sean Gill made a grievous accusation against me. Yes, Sean accused me of having more focus than he does with books. This is not only shockingly untrue, it also proves just how well I have him fooled (or had him fooled before I decided to write this blog). Because we all, like Sean, have “that one book.” The one that sits on our shelves mocking us with its worn spine and pages that hang loose from frequently being flipped. The book that we have picked up a hundred times and barely make it past the caption of “chapter one” before we abandon it again. That book that becomes our comic book-esque nemesis that taunts us manically until we are sure that we are chronically incapable of surmounting its textual hurtles.

For me, that book once again sits under the header of “failed to read” in this challenge. “Les Miserables.” It is no small challenge by anyone’s standards, but then I realized that if I put together all the times I have started the book with all the time I have spent lamenting over it, I would probably have had enough time to finish it by now. So, why haven’t I finished it? I have tackled it in my most bored moments, made elaborate strategies of coming at it that involved detailed day-by-day maneuvers to make the page count less overwhelming. Why then have I still not finished?

When I’m being honest with myself and you readers, I have to admit that my lack of finishing has nothing to do with page count. If you consider that I read each “Lord of the Rings” book back to back with “The Hobbit” included, then I can hardly make the argument that a few extra words scare me. My favorite book when I was eleven was “The Count of Monte Cristo.” There is virtually no reason why I should find this book so trying.

Yet year after year I do.

I am reading “Wuthering Heights” with my reading rival, Sean (something you will hear about much more in a future post). Yet, sometimes it is more than a little hard to pick up the melodrama when nine o’clock at night rolls around and I have been at school all day. So, I pick up a lighter piece, “13 Blue Envelopes” by the fantastic Maureen Johnson or “The Thief Lord” by Cornelia Funke. This is something I do time and time again. I begin something and then I instantly start wondering if I wouldn’t be much happier reading something else.

Part of me wonders if this is why I have never finished “Les Mis” despite my love of the novel–and French Literature in general. When I was a teenager I had time to spend all summer reading Tolkien or Alexander Dumes (yes, I was that kid) but now I have school. When I don’t have school I have work. When I don’t have work I have family to spend time with, children to babysit, transfer scholarships to hunt. On and on into infinity. As the amount of time I have decreases, the pile of books–so tall it requires an elevator to reach its wavering top—continues getting taller. Now my book greedy hands want more than they can hold and I am left wandering from one half-finished book to the next. All of this in the hopes that I will miss nothing.

Maybe this year will be the year I cross the finish line with “Les Mis.” Maybe it won’t be. What I do know is that I will be working hard to leave no book sitting unfinished like a half-eaten sandwich in the sun to get moldy and foul smelling. Metaphorically.

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]Read[/tabtext] [tabtext]Reading[/tabtext] [tabtext]Failed[/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]The Hardy Boys: Running on Fumes by Franklin Dixon

The Hardy Boys: Lost Brother by Franklin Dixon

The Hardy Boys: Forever Lost by Franklin Dixon

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke[/tab]
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Medicine for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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6 Comments on "The 50 Book Challenge #2 – “That One Book”"

  1. Diane Bradford | March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply

    “The House of Leaves” is the one that leaves me grovelling in despair!

  2. Callie White | March 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply

    “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand is my one book.

  3. I have been reading “Les Mis” for about two and a half years myself. I love Hugo, love the plot and love the writing style. But it’s just … heavy. I can read a couple chapters but then I need to put it down, and when it’s 1,400+ pages a few chapters every few weeks = years of reading.

    Hopefully I’ll finish it soon, and I hope you do, too!

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