Monday, April 18, 2005

Middle School

Middle School: I've given the phrase a whole new meaning, and I don't like it a bit.

For many years, I've suspected myself of having Attention Deficit Disorder, and when I get several books going at once, and can't seem to finish any of them, the suspicion rears its ugly head again. Also adding to my uneasiness is the fact that I finally ended up abandoning that lousy no-damn-good mess between two covers, a.k.a. ATLAS SHRUGGED.

I'm smack-dab in the middle of 3 books:

1. THE FIRST ELIZABETH by Carrolly Erickson. I don't know what ails me about this book. I like the subject matter. Carrolly Erickson is a compelling storyteller. Yet, I've been stuck in the middle of it since the last of February. At first, I told myself it was the move and the new job, but I've finished other books since then. Perhaps I have a mental block because the book belongs to someone else --Shanghai-- and I know that it *must* be finished so that it can be returned. I almost took it back unfinished when I saw her on Sunday, but something stayed my hand.

2. THE KILLER ANGELS by Michael Shaara. A really well-written fictional account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Wonderfully researched and beautifully written, and I'm plodding through it like a draft animal. The bookmark is exactly at the middle.

3. NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND by Bill Bryson. This is going a lot more quickly, but I'm not gobbling it up potato-chip fashion like I did A WALK IN THE WOODS although I'm laughing just as much. Again, I'm right in the middle of this book.

Even though I'm being a book slut (or "double-booking" as Sara Nelson puts it so much more nicely in her book SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME) and I'm obviously overwhelmed with reading material now, my book lust is still running rampant. Last week, I begged someone on to trade with me when I found an intriguing novel called THE ARCHIVIST by Martha Cooley.

Also, just today, I was hungrily eyeing my Kiwi acquaintance's Oxford translation of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. I read the first page of C&P, and it read really well, surprisingly so, which I conveyed to Kiwi. He kindly offered to let me borrow it when he was finished.

For a wild moment, I had the feeling that I could not wait even one more day for him to finish the book, and I had to read it right then and there. It was a moment worthy of Veruca Salt: "No! I want it NOW!" [insert stamping foot here]

Furthermore, I had a feverish vision of myself jumping on the train first thing tomorrow and going to the bookstore in Daegu to pick up my very own copy.

I gave myself a mental shake. Buy C&P? For what purpose? To start up yet another episode of "Middle School"?

If my book lust could be personified, it probably would be a middle school student: Unkempt, clumsy, incoherent, and mercurical as hell.


Rebecca said...

Just found your blog through Bookcrossing. I love the phrase where you liken reading some books to gobbling them up in potato chip like fashion - very appropriate for some novels!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh - it is not attention defecit. It's called too many choices! I have great difficulties fininshing books sometimes, as I keep getting distracted by something new and interesting. Working in a library doesn't help at all.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I've been ignoring my blogs for a while, but you've inspired me to shape up and get crackin'!

Also, I enjoyed your tale of "Atlas Shrugged." Sometimes even a book lover must draw the line!