What book am I reading?!

The Inside Cover of my copy of The Great Gatsby. I bought it second hand.
Have you ever heard of a super perfectionist? I hadn’t, but my mother has diagnosed me as such. Apparently it is a person who wants to get everything done now, and if they can’t, they don’t do anything. This was her reasoning behind why I would never tidy my room. Growing up at home, my room was either completely messy or completely clean. Usually the cleaning bug hit me around 2am in conjunction with the ‘rearange the furniture bug’. It’s nearly impossible to drag a double bed frame over a wooden floor by yourself without waking up the whole house. This has affected my life as a bibliophile.

I find it next to impossible to close a book and walk away. I want to read the whole book right now, no holds barred. I have adapted over the years, and now I simply fold the page and Carry it around with me everywhere I go. People think I’m self-absorbed, strange, stand-offish. Let them. I love books. And can I just say, I am book-absorbed, there is no me in Jane Eyre, that’s the point. Escapism.

The other problem with my extreme obsession with literature is the ceaseless guilt at being unable to finish a book due to it being very boring. I get stuck, I get “Reader’s Block”. The book may be the greatest piece of writing to have ever hit the universe, but for some reason at this precise moment in time, I physically can not read any more of it. So I place it on my bedside table, with the page folded, and pick up another.

I read multiple books. If asked what I am reading right now I would say: Heart of Darkness, Tess of D’Uberfelds, The Woman in White, and The Great Gatsby. Actively, I am only reading the Great Gatsby, I’m sure it will be finished before the day is up, but I couldn’t say that as I feel so strongly that I must finish the others as soon as possible as well. Also, the deep silent shame in my soul is whispering- “you liar, we’re reading Moby Dick, Dracula, Vanity Fair, Lolita, The Divine Comedy, Mrs Dalloway, AND Time Machine too!!” Oh god, Mrs Dalloway and Timeline! Those books are currently eight years in progress. I’m not even slightly exaggerating. I got them both in England, in 2003 and couldn’t get through the. Timeline is like my personal nemeses. Every time someone hears I haven’t read it they exclaim “What! But you love books how have you not read Timeline?!” I don’t know… I’m stuck?
This NYR I have, (New Year’s Resolution shall now be known by that tacky shortened version), causes me to have to “get over it”. Suck it up buttercup, put the book down, and pick up another one on the list. So last night I did that. I groaned as I was going into my room to get into bed as I realised that Tess was waiting for me. In her milk maid outfit, mooning over Angel… boring me to sleep before I could finish a chapter. I was suddenly gripped by the fact that I have some 60 books left to finish before Dec 31 and some of them are HUGE! I knew about Gone with the Wind and War and Peace, but have you seen A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth? I could kill a burglar with that thing.
In search for hope I sadly perused the list of books I have left to read and my eyes alighted on a jarring novel. The Great Gatsby. I had forgotten all about it. I had picked that novel up way back in 2005 and not been able to make it through the first chapter. I shuddered. I turned my head and looked at my bookshelf and immediately I found it between Jane Eyre and Lolita….. I thought, ‘what the hell’ and walked over and grabbed it.
There is another phenomenon I have discovered in my book career. I haven’t found a suitable name for it yet. Everyone knows what it is to get stuck in a book, but do you know how it feels to pick that same book up years later and be absolutely gripped by it? This book has perhaps one of my favorite opening sentences ever! (Next to Anna Karenina of course). I’m not even going to write it down, go find it! Discover. I was so excited by how entertained I was by this book I couldn’t read it in bed. I did a quick 200 cal workout on my recumbent bike and burned through half the book. Like water from a dam escaping and rushing and crashing through a tiny town, this is the feeling of victory.
As accomplishing a feeling is when you battle through a book to the end, the joyous bliss you feel at having burned through a novel with complete abandon is better. It’s like a forrest fire, it’s like a hurricane, it’s like any cheesy simile you can come up with and better. It is the reason I read.
So close the book if it’s making you crazy. Shut that cover with a decisive action. But remember it, don’t throw it away; and every once in a while pick it back up and peek into the first two or three pages. You never know when it’s going to reach out and grab you, and pull you in.

The End ~


Not my tattoo, but I have considered it 🙂


  1. mel u

    I read multiple books at one time also unless a book catches fire for me-on The Great Gatsby-the book can be annoying but the last 5 or 10 pages are totally beautiful-some of his short stories are good also-

  2. Pingback: I’ve got chills; they’re multiplyin’. « Progress and Procrastination

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