I’m still looking for that trick or key technique to make quick reading a habit. In my library–which is really a jumble of cheap, over-stuffed book cases scattered about the place–sits a copy of an old book called Rapid Reading in 5 Days designed to help me with this very goal. A book I never finished.
This is not to say I fail to finish most books I pick up; maybe about 35 percent? Okay, 40. I think I may be a strong candidate for needing a formerly sci-fi, soon-to-be true science neurotech implant capable of uploading and instantaneously processing those Matrix-style digital files. A raging inferno of super, bionic brain activity for Kindles, Nooks, and USB drives to feed.
There’s just so much to be read, so much that seems to need reading. Says the die-hard idealist buried in the back of this East Coast-educated brain who believes that learning these important things will somehow lead to doing something that “makes a difference,” an impact for the good. And why? For my glory? For the good’s own sake? Out of love for humanity? Poppycock. (Well, maybe a bit of all three, actually.)
So many windmills, so little time.
Don Quixote, current reading status: page 436 of 1050. Due Feb. 4. Hey, I’ve made better progress this week than any time since early December! Despite having had double the amount of time in which to read (a full two months), I guess I want credit for small victories.
I need that. Because it’s looking very much as though I’m not going to finish Don Quixote by the time my classics book club meets. Is that so bad? In and of itself, no. Not every member finishes every book every month anyway, and I’m sure I won’t be alone this month. It is a 1,000-pager, after all.
Unfortunately, though, the existence of a deadline I know I probably won’t make signals yet another unfinished reading of the classics, of a novel, of a long-form piece of fiction. Another finish line uncrossed. Another incident imprinting on me a sense of personal and professional failure. Failure to fulfill my promise as a scholar, writer, teacher, and citizen.
Then again, I could just need a new eyeglasses prescription and to focus more squarely on whatever makes me happiest. The truth is often a complicated mixture. And that is, oh, so classic.