So I recently gave up on a book in the middle of reading it. I don’t very often do this – usually I tend to plough through even if I don’t particularly enjoy it or if it’s a difficult read. The last time was Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections because the German translation (which I’d borrowed from my mum) was awful.
This time I gave up on Augusto Roa Bastos’s Yo el Supremo. It was just too much – I have a lot on my mind right now and I realised about 100 pages into the book that I really wasn’t following the story. You have to know that I generally read on the train to and from work, about 30 minutes a day, and then sometimes a bit more in bed.
So you’ll probably understand that with a thesis on my mind I’m finding it hard to follow a half-crazy Paraguayan dictator’s fictional train of thought. I have also found the perfect replacement: Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists is just right – a collection of relatively short chapters, each about a different character. It’s kind of like reading a collection of connected short stories, not too taxing on my poor mind. (I promise a review is to follow at some point.)
But at the same time, I feel a bit like a cheat. Silly, I know, but I hate to give up on books, especially if I’ve wanted to read them for ages, like with Yo el Supremo, and even if I have a good reason, like a thesis that’s sucking a few thousand brain cells out of my head into my computer with every word I type. I think by the end of this endeavour there will be a big empty space where my brain was previously housed.
So for now, Yo el Supremo is going back on the reading list, with the promise to get him back out once my poor little brain has recovered and is once more able to deal with Latin American dictators.
Have you ever given up on a book? Which one? And did you feel guilty about it?