I have just updated my progress with the books I’m reading on Good Reads. It made me realise that three of the four books I’m currently reading are older books (all with a certain “classic” status – not actual classics but ones that have long time fans) that need to be read slowly and savoured and appreciated.
It made me think. I wonder if these days, with so many books saturating the market, we tend to look for fast reads so that we can get on to the next one. We have these huge TBR lists/shelves/piles/mountains/Everests where we have so many books we want to read that if we ever stopped to think about how long it would take to read them all we’d probably run screaming (I know I certainly would).
But for all their potential quick-read status, I’m currently not all that enthused by my TBR and finding great freedom in reading other things.
For me it’s Mary Stewart (Madam, Will You Talk?), Dorothy L. Sayers (Gaudy Night) and Dorothy Dunnett (Scales of Gold). And I don’t mind slipping between the books and spending some time in France, Oxford and Portugal (at the moment, although Nicholas is on his way to Africa). Instead of rushing, rushing, rushing I think I need to take the quiet reading time. If I decide to go through with reading some more Mary Stewart as I am so tempted to do, that’s okay. If I decide to continue following Nicholas around the world or join Harriet and Peter as they explore married life, what’s to stop me?
The only person who ever said I had to read books from the TBR and/or read them fast was me. Surely if anyone can change my mind, it should be me!
I also have all three of these books both as paper copies and audiobooks. In the past I’ve always tried to listen to the audiobooks pretty much on their own merit. Gaudy Night is my official current listen and I’m struggling with it because I only get to listen at night and I keep falling asleep. This morning, I added Madam, Will You Talk? to my PDA after I’d read one chapter of the book. So while lying down for my daily rest (aka sleep of the dead) I listened to that first chapter. It was a great way to do it. Instead of trying to concentrate really hard (I take in information many times better when it’s written that when I listen), it just gently reinforced what I had already read and was a much more relaxing experience. So maybe I need to do that instead. Again, it’s a case of going slowly and savouring the experience rather than trying to get more books read by listening to one as well as reading others.
Perhaps we’ve forgotten how to do that – take it slowly and enjoy the experience – in this fast paced world. I certainly think I had.
While I readily admit that the TBR is sure to obsess me again before too long, I’m going to enjoy this new way of looking at things for as long as it lasts.