When do you give up on a bad book?
I'm sure there are such things; I've run into two in recent weeks. (No, not "Moby-Dick" -- I'm going on with that.)
I started a book called "The Pain Chronicles," but gave up on it. Call me suggestible, but it made me feel rotten.
Then I tried Ewan Clayton's "The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing." I thought there might be something there to write about, but I never dreamed it'd be this kind of post. The book is a history of the development of the act of writing, looking from carvings to books, without much sense of character or impact on people. I love looking at things historically, but it was just too much for me.
The experience of two duds, two bad books in a few weeks left me thinking of a quotation and looking for it:
"This is not a book to be thrown aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
But my Bartlett's Familiar Quotations didn't have it. Neither did a book about the person I had heard credited with this cleverness, "The Complete Dorothy Parker" (Viking, 1972).
I gave in and tried Google. I located a site, Quote Investigator, which Bartlett would have loved (or worked for). The writers of the site indicate that the quote seems to have appeared originally in Reader's Digest in 1960, and attributed to Parker at a later date.
So I'll go on with "Moby-Dick" and return these other books. I think I'll have enough to read anyway. "Moby-Dick" has intriguing characters, and interesting adventure is beginning. I think it's my Sustaining Book for now.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
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