So… We finally got the broken windows replaced after that epic hail storm from a few weeks back. We also replaced some of the non-broken windows because they were just really old. The new windows are, well, new. What I mean to say is that the style is different, and the glass looks cleaner (for now, anyway), so these new windows are quite amazing, even if they really are nothing fancy. It’s not just about having new windows, but having a new way of looking out upon the world.
I can be particularly pensive around special occasions and milestones, so, naturally, instead of just appreciating the practical benefits of these new windows, I started thinking about perspectives and what else I’ve come to look at differently this year. I feel like this year has gone so quickly that I kind of wonder if I’ve managed to learn anything in these last twelve months at all.
One of the first things I thought of was that I’ve learnt that I don’t have to force myself to finish every book that I start. This is actually quite the revelation for me since, before this year, I probably never left a book half-read (or less than fully-read). And that’s probably because of a number of factors: Firstly, I’m quite good at accepting different genres and writing styles, so there aren’t many books that I dislike, and even fewer books that I dislike enough to abandon part way. This is likely because, secondly, I’m not overly critical and can be quite patient, so I might persist with a book in the hopes that it will get better, or something will happen in the story to make the whole thing worthwhile.
But I’ve come to realise that leaving a novel unfinished is not just about whether I’m hooked into it enough (although, granted, that is a signifcant deciding factor), but also about whether I do expect the journey to be worth my while. There are so many books out there that I want to read; I shouldn’t be using up valuable time reading something that’s unengaging. It is unreasonable for me to insist that I will enjoy every book that I read. (Conversely, I am worried about missing out on great novels if I get so hung up on crossing things off my TBR list that I stop picking up books at random. But I suppose this is more about leaving a book part of the way through, not rejecting a book before I’ve even read the first chapter.)
I don’t actually want to say which book it was that I didn’t manage to finish this year. Yes, it was only one book, but when I think about it, it did kind of feel like a weight was lifted from me when I accepted that I couldn’t finish it before it was due back at the library (partly because I just wasn’t engaged in the story, and partly because of external factors like not having enough time for reading). I’m actually not sure if I want to re-attempt reading that book another time, or just let the memory of it fade away in the recesses of my mind…
Just have to remember: It’s not admitting defeat – it’s recognising when it’s time to move on.