Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sneak Peek

I have always been an impatient person, something which living in Uganda never changed for me. Oh sure, I became less impatient, calmly waiting for an hour or two for a bus to fill. Four hours, on the other hand, sends me into a rage. But that's just waiting, mindless waiting. There are other aspects of life which require patience, though such as reading. I've heard that one reason people don't enjoy reading is because they don't have the patience for it, but those of us who enjoy it simply can't understand such excuses.

My mother and I often read the same books, often at the same time. One of us would read first, while the other waited, somewhat impatiently, for her to finish. "If you're not going to read the book today, Sarah, then give it to me!" A particular memory I have is Mom in the kitchen reading Melanie Rawn's The Mageborn Traitor, which I had recently finished. I glanced over her shoulder and saw she was at a particularly tense section of the book and said something along the lines of, "Ooooo, that part made me so mad. You are not going to believe what happens!"

"Oh, I know what happens; I skipped ahead and read it."

Shocked indignation spread across my face over Mom's admission that she had skipped ahead in a book, thus breaking all accepted reading laws. I confronted her about it and she shrugged, saying "So what? I was irritated with the story and wanted to be sure it was worth finishing."

Now there was a new thought. Up to that point I had always finished any book I was reading, regardless of whether or not I liked it, because I believed it was a cardinal rule that once you started you had to finish. And no skipping to the end, because that ruined the whole point of reading. You needed patience to fully appreciate what the writer was doing. I swore I would never, ever read the end of a book first. Mom rolled her eyes.

Her skepticism was well-deserved, because while I can calmly pass an hour or two while waiting for a bus or a suddenly-postponed appointment to commence, I can no longer stand too much suspense in my novels. It's not that I don't enjoy it, I just don't want to get worked up over it. I cried and threw my copy of The Half-Blood Prince to the floor when Dumblebore died and while that was five years ago, I just don't think I can handle something like that again. To be fair, I don't read the end of a book, just the end of a tense confrontation. (Ok, wait, that's a lie: I recently did skim over the last few pages of a political thriller because I needed to know whether or not it was worth to continue, not because the book was captivating, but rather because it was painstakingly slow-going. I know my mother is laughing at me.)

No big deal, really, but I am currently eight hundred pages into Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth and I can't help but skim to the end of some sections. Too many things happen and I have become far too invested! Example: last night I was reading for a couple of hours and wanted to go to bed, but couldn't until I reached a point of resolution. Instead of skipping ahead I tested my patience through the most heart-wrenching and seemingly-endless section of the novel, my body tensing with each page as I silently screamed Find him! FIND HIM!! That tension kept me awake until 1:30 in the morning. I just can't do that anymore. Books are going to turn my hair gray.

1 comment:

  1. Since you mentioned Mageborn Traitor, what about the wait for The Captal's Tower?! Talk about patience.