Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The thing about books is that some of them suck

Come Friday, I always post a photo on Instagram on the books in my bag for the weekend. It usually is a set of 4 books, mostly books that I've had in my shelf for the longest time. And I usually try to pick books from different genres, so that I don't get that cloying feeling you get reading books of the same theme. There's no way I'll read two love stories involving cis-genders in succession. I fear that I may grow ovaries or, at least, man-boobs (moobs?). One time, I read three gay erotic novels, one after the other, in one day. I felt sticky after the third book. So I took a shower. Three showers actually, one after the other.

One question that I often get about these posts is, "Do you really get to finish all those books?" Well, no, not all of them. I'm happy to finish one, two if I'm pushing it. If I finish three, these are probably the thinnest books on the planet, or I cheated and just read the last few pages, or Wikipedia. This is where my book editor ninja skills come in. Notice that I said "books in my bag" and not "books that I will read." (Thank you, Strunk & White! See, it still tells you to use the right words.) I love carrying books in my bag. And I have no qualms about the size, as I'm a size queen, on many levels. I'd lug around the dictionary if there were no online versions. I'm also partial to carrying a large eggplant.

Frankly, who has the time to finish 4 books in 2 days? With all the things to be done during the weekends, I'm lucky to still have reading time left. Let's see. We stay in bed and don't get up until 8  or 9, at the latest. Actually, I wake up at 4 am every day, so on the weekends from 4 to 8 am, I'm on Instagram. Crap. Then we prepare breakfast, which usually involves me whipping up something with eggs. (My current favorite is a kimchi omelette, with lots of melty cheese. Very addicting and satisfying.) Then we check out what's new on Netflix, which ends up with us watching something mindless for 2 hours. Then before we know it, it's time to prepare lunch. So it's the early afternoon already and we still haven't given the dogs a bath, played a few rounds of our current favorite boardgames, shower, go on Instagram again, and then make dinner. My goodness, I didn't realize that weekends can be stressful.

Gone are the days when I'd cut my nails to the quick because I feel stressed for not finishing a book. I have this nasty habit of cutting my nails really short, so short that sometimes, the ends of my fingernails bleed. (The bf hates this habit of mine, but I love it. Mmmmmm. To each their own, yes? Also, I have this terrible aversion to seeing the white part of the nail that protrudes from the end, a sign that one's fingernail has gotten long. Connotes ideas of laziness.) So anyway, if I don't like a book that I'm reading for whatever reason, to the back of the shelf it goes. Life's too short for bad books, or books with bad covers, or books with characters named Ashley, Chloe, and Zoey. If there's a character named Chris, he has to have an Evans for his surname.

So not all books are good, and not every book that we'll finish will be mind-blowing. Some will just be, ummm, okay, and that is an okay thing, no? But some will still be crappy and will let us hate ourselves for being suckered in. Some will have stories that will remind you of other stories you've read before, and you'll compare them, and you'll decide which one's bull and which one's shit. We persevere with our reading as many books as we can because eventually, we know that we'll find those treasures. The very few ones that we push on our friends' faces, the books that we fall in love with, those shiny few that outweigh the countless books that suck.

Anyway, just to give you an idea of those book-in-my-bag posts, here are a couple of them.

I've read 3 out of these 4. But I didn't finish them all during the weekend. It took me a while to read Ed Yong's nonfiction book about microbes, I Contain Multitudes. But I read this through because it appealed to the biology major in me. Lumberjanes is still my favorite ongoing graphic novel series recently, together with Monstress. So that was over in one sitting. I thought that I'd really like this year's Newbery, Hello, Universe, especially since it was written by an author with Filipino roots. But I was underwhelmed by it. Perhaps it had something to do with my huge expectations about this children's novel. It does help to have no expectations whatsoever, no? As for Wuthering Heights, I die of melodrama. It's a template on how not to live your life, as a friend said.

None finished in this set. Let's break it down. I don't know where Virginia Woolf is going with To the Lighthouse. Made me want to climb a lighthouse and just fling this book from the top. I've always had a problem with Pride and Prejudice. All those gossipy women aren't doing a thing for me. Everything's just gossip and more gossip. If the characters just spoke directly to their intended audience, this'll be finished in 3 chapters. The Mysteries of Udolpho is as Gothic as a Gothic novel can be. So the main character, a woman, faints a lot. I deduce that by the novel's end, she wouldn' be thinking clearly anymore. All those concussions can't be healthy.


Jeane said...

Ha ha, yeah, some books are terrible. I don't force myself to finish those kind, anymore. Move on to something better!