I have just over a month left on my 5 Before 50 Challenge and the most surprising challenge has been the books.
I set a goal to read 5 significant books before my birthday. One of those I quickly decided was going to be the Bible. I’ve read many portions of the Old and New Testaments but I’ve never read the Bible from cover to cover; despite it being a goal several times. I’m almost 60 percent of the way through so there is hope I’ll finish it this time.
Maybe choosing such a daunting book for one of the five is part of the problem. It’s not the actual reading. I LOVE to read. Yes, all caps, shouting..LOVE to read. I’d rather read than watch tv anytime. In fact, I had already set a goal of 50 books on Goodreads (@tsitra) and I’ve blown past that to 73 books so far.
Like most people who can sit and binge the latest Netflix show in a few days, I binge light fiction. If you scan my list, you’ll find mainly chick lit and beach reads (one and the same?). I have a weakness for anything set on a southern beach. I do read newer non-fiction like self-help, memoirs and a few diet/health topics. What I don’t read these days is classics or, evidently, significant books.
It’s not that I’ve NEVER read them, I just don’t prefer them these days. This is why reading a bit deeper of a book became part of my challenge. Easy peasy, I thought. Hah! Knowing the Bible was going to be a process during the whole challenge time, I picked my next book to get started on, Plato’s Republic.
Oh.my.snooze.fest. I felt like I had teenagers living in my house again. Let’s argue and then argue again. And you didn’t quite get every nuance of my argument, so I’m going to do it again this way. That’s definitely a book to dissect in a classroom…with a guide…and maybe some Cliff Notes (do they still make those?). I think I may have actually dozed off reading it one morning. Anyway, barely into the book, I gave up.
I moved forward into time a little bit and chose Dante’s Divine Comedy. Again, like the Bible, one of those books I’ve read passages of but never cover to cover. It was definitely more interesting than Plato’s Republic but very dark. I was also deep into the Old Testament post Moses at this point which is also very dark. During a walk with my husband, I was moaning about the two books and he encouraged (insisted?) that I stop. I guess it was affecting my usual Pollyannaish disposition. So, good-bye (for now) Divine Comedy.
I jumped genre’s at this point and decided to read a favorite of fellow nature lovers, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. I’m still reading it. I can see its merits but, again, it’s a bit of a snooze fest. It’s another book that needs to be studied rather than just digested in a reading. Mainly, because so much of the book is just a lot of self-indulgent rambling and heaps of condescending judgment on everyone not living in a cabin eating beans. I’m about three-quarters of the way through and have gone into ‘grad school’ mode where I’m skim reading as fast as possible.
Next in the queue is Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols. This one seems to be promising. I was going to read a Dr. Freud book but my wise husband (who is the only one around to listen to me dissect these books) suggested I may not be in the best frame of mind for that. Jung’s name has appeared along with some other subjects I’m studying at the moment so it seemed like a better fit.
That would leave two more books to reach the ‘significant’ goal. Not sure if I have it in me to finish. I honestly thought this would be the easiest part but I didn’t realize how much reading affects my thoughts and mood these days (hence the happy beach reads?). If I can find two shorter significant reads, I’ll plow through. Otherwise, catch me on the sand with a light read on my Kindle and a smile on my face!