Reading (Or Lack Thereof)

Sometimes, I get on reading kicks where that’s all I want to do. I don’t watch television, play on the computer or any of my other usual forms of entertainment. Other times, like now, I don’t pick up a book at all.

A friend of mine just sent me a message asking my opinion of a book I read over on Goodreads, so I cleared away the cobwebs over there and answered it.

According to Goodreads, which is how I keep track of what I’ve read and what I thought of it, I’m currently reading Breakfast Of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut and have been since December 22 of last year.

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Sadly, this is technically true. That is the book that I’m “currently reading” even though I’m not currently reading it. It is sitting in a drawer in my bedside table, most likely with a receipt for something jammed into one of its pages as a bookmark.

I barely remember the plot at this point. It involves an author and the owner of a car dealership who is going crazy, but I don’t remember where I left off in the story. Of course, twenty years from now, probably all I will remember about it is Vonnegut’s drawing of an asshole:



Male gave me this book to read after we had a conversation about Vonnegut. The only book I had read by him before now was Slaughterhouse-Five, which I absolutely hated. Male said, but there’s so much more to him than that and started quoting me Vonnegut’s words off the internet:

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental.

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.

OK, OK. Fine. I try never to base an opinion of an author on one book anyway. The exception to this rule is Cormac McCarthy. I know all I need to know about the pure blue flame of disgust that now burns his words in my heart from reading just 140 pages of The Road. Actually, it really only took one page. The other 139 pages were just to make sure.

Anyway, I read Slaughterhouse-Five so long ago, I can barely remember why I hated it now. All I really remember is aliens outta nowhere! Bah.

So, when Male started going on and on about Vonnegut, I said I’d give him another try. So, here we are, reading Breakfast Of Champions for going on three months.

I’m not quite sure why I stopped reading it. Did I get bored with the book? That happened with All The King’s Men. I started reading it, got almost to the end and let it sit there for months before I finally begrudgingly finished it. It’s a good book, but my heart just wasn’t in it at the time. Did that happen with Breakfast Of Champions?

Or did it have nothing to do with the book at all? Nowadays, instead of sitting outside reading while my dog is doing her business of running around the yard acting a fool, I sit outside and play mahjong on my phone:

The best game ever.

The best game ever.

That game kind of cuts down on my reading time; maybe it has nothing to do with the book at all. I don’t recall purposely putting it down with the intention of never picking it back up again.

Perhaps it’s just the fact that I haven’t read a really astoundingly good book in a long time. The last six books I read got three-star ratings. Three starts means I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t love it either.

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Well, whatever the reason, tonight when I get home, I’m going to excavate the book from its permanent home and read more of it. This not reading anything bit isn’t good for the soul.

There are 17 comments

  1. draliman

    Hang on. “Good Omens” only 3 stars? I give it 6 out of 5 at least :-)
    I can’t even think about going to sleep without reading regardless of how late it is. My credit card’s not so happy about it though. A Kindle is a dangerous thing…


    1. goldfish

      Perhaps it was all the hype I was subjected to about how awesome it was, but for whatever reason, I didn’t love it. I think I was expecting Hitchhiker’s Guide funny and it definitely is not. It had its moments, but overall, it gets 3 stars.


  2. theloneshewolf

    HA! I picked up Slaughterhouse Five @ my library, I started reading it and immediatly thought “Wait a minute….” I read a few chapters just to confirm I had read that book before. It made such an impact I forgot I had cracked the cover and read it before. LOL

    Now that I have the above titles to work with I’m willing to give him another chance!

    Reading it the second time around is almost harder than the first, in the evenings I think “Oooh I think I’ll read” then remember what is on my bedside table (SH5) which makes me turn on the PS3 & start gaming out. A strange time where I DON’T want to read, remarkable! I never knew there was such a feeling!


    1. goldfish

      I like re-reading books that I liked the first time around to find out whether I still like them now that I’m old and wise. Wise-ish. OK, just old.

      I rarely re-read books I didn’t like the first time, though. Perhaps I should.


      1. theloneshewolf

        I’ve given books a second chance, sometimes I am surprised at how wrong my first impression was (rare) and then there are the “I was right! This shit stinks” after which I mentally high five myself.


  3. Kozo

    “So it goes.” My favorite line from Slaughter House Five. The only thing I remember from Breakfast of Champions is the asterisk asshole as well.


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