So…I’m no longer reading Dombey And Son. It’s not any issue with Dickens. It would’ve been something like my sixth Dickens novel. It’s just that, after starting strong, the book gets really boring, really fast. And life’s too short.
It’s not the first book I’ve abandoned. I have a whole collection in my Kindle entitled “Abandoned.” Notable abandonments include Wings of the Dove, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables, and The Canterbury Tales.
I will sometimes struggle through a book that’s difficult. Boswell’s Life of Johnson has a mind-blowingly boring first two hundred pages. Basically everything in the book until Johnson actually meets Boswell is just a complete waste of time. But I had a sense that this might be the case, so I stuck with it. Recently I thought about abandoned Henry James’s The Ambassadors, but the book is a notable one in the history of American literature, so I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.
But more often than not, I’ll cast that book into the abyss.
I do experience some trepidation when I abandon a book, because I know it means I probably won’t read that book before another five or ten years have passed. The problem is that I know if I pick up the book again I’ll have to reread the part I’ve already read, and I just hate doing that, which means I maybe will never get back to it.
On the other hand, the feeling of freedom is just so wonderful. Abandoning books feels almost as good as finishing them.