Reading Reboot

What to do when your summer reading has been a dud? For months, my room was littered with half a dozen partly-read books.

The poet Chairil Anwar and I did not get along. Some choice poems from his Complete Works I enjoyed but I gave up halfway through. Despite being widely praised for revolutionizing Indonesian poetry, I got the feeling that the man became (in)famous more for his lifestyle than his poems. The bio pages at the start of my Complete Works copy described a man who was pale, unkempt, and wild, with a devil-may-care attitude and is syphilitic to boot. And what is up with all the blood and pus imagery?

To be fair, though, I’m simply not knowledgeable enough about poetry. Sure, I took poetry courses at uni and learned the technicalities but when it comes to poetry, I’m left with whether the words made an emotional impact or not. Chairil Anwar will affect others deeply, I’m sure. Others of the brooding, nicotine-stained persuasion.

Other books on the pile weren’t even bad. I had been rereading my favorite Indonesian novel ever: Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk and for some unidentifiable reason, two-thirds of the way, the pages stopped turning. I read a hundred pages of The Time Traveler’s Wife and just stopped. Other books suffered the same fate. And because I’m an “endure ‘till the last” reader, I kept them languishing on chairs and sofas, hoping that I would get the inspiration (that never came) to finish them

What to do when your summer reading has been a dud? You do a reading reboot.

In a flush of epiphany, I decided “Screw this!” and shelved back all the half-read books with a vow to read them properly when I’m in the mood for them. I don’t think I’ll ever be in the mood for Anwar, though, so he went to the ‘Maybe Donate’ pile.

Perhaps I’m growing older and less patient but the “endure ‘till the last” method is clearly not working. My reading habits should change. I purchased so many new books during the summer that I’m excited for and I don’t see why I should delay my enjoyment of them. After my room and my conscience were cleared, I picked up the book I had been looking forward to the most: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.

Reboot successful. I have only 90 pages left of Revolutionary Road to read. It’s exactly the type of book I needed. A page-turner, yet gives you a lot to think about. Despite being marketed as this grand tragedy, I found Rev Road pretty funny mostly. More on that on the review that should be up soon.

Anyway, I should ask you: have you ever had to reboot your reading?


8 thoughts on “Reading Reboot

  1. Haha, sometimes I don’t want to read at all, much less writing reviews :p. So yes, I think we all need some reading reboot at times. Oh well, I see that Anwar is not your taste :p.


  2. I think the problem is that you want to finish them all, then they become a burden for you. The same goes to me when I have so many reports to be done. The thought that there are so many reports haunted me each seconds, and I ended up not doing anything much. The reporting started to run quite well when I decided to focus on 1 project and clear up other awaiting tasks from my mind. I remember I finished them all and thinking that “well, it is not that hard”.

    Btw, knowing that you have so many books to be read, it might not works for you :p


  3. I think you’re right. I always want to finish whatever I’m doing but something snapped and I thought ‘You know what? Reading is supposed to be pleasurable. I don’t have to torture myself reading something I’m not in the mood for.’ Now that I’ve focused on Revolutionary Road, everything’s going well. In fact, I think Rev Road will be finished tomorrow.

    Hahaha, you know I’m a book hoarder 😛


  4. Hi, this whole year has constituted a reboot for me, due to a year off completing a diploma & learning about my new job. This left me with little time to waste on books that didn’t happen for me. Also made me reevaluate what I want from my blog, as what started as an enjoyable hobby nearly become a ball & chain type of chore/responsibility. I changed the name of my blog to reflect my perceived new direction & only blog what & when I want with no commitments/deadlines

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why hello there, I need to reiterate how much I enjoyed your review of The Devotion of Suspect X.

    I do love your philosophy and I do need to change my reading habits. My student days are over and like you, I’m starting to realize that I have “little time to waste on books that didn’t happen for me.”

    Agree with you that blogging can be such a chore sometimes even though I love writing. Which is why I go on really long hiatuses. But I’m back and hopefully this time the drive will last a long time. Looking forward to participate in the Japanese Book Challenge.


  6. Yeah my summer reading wasn’t that great either. I had so many things going on this summer that when I had spare time, I didn’t end up reading as much as I normally would. I was also picking up and putting down books.

    Here’s to more fruitful reading in the autumn!

    Liked by 1 person

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