Books, and how I forgot how to read them

It was not too long ago that I rediscovered my love of reading. And then, promptly forgot it again.

This is how it happened: I had been using the branch library loan online to order books sent to the branch nearest me (on my way to work, even!). The last book I ordered somehow did not order… I never received the email saying it was available. It was some kind of busy time for me (can’t remember why), and I didn’t have time to research what went wrong. Library books dropped off the radar.

Fortunately, my brother-in-law came through here on his way to Chile and left The World Without Us by Alan Weisman for us to read, and at the same time the church gave me a free copy of TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. It turns out that I had real trouble being interested in either of these books. Maybe it had something to do with how busy we got at work (4th quarter is our busy season), and when I got home my brain was so tired I didn’t want to think any more. Both of these books required some kind of mental participation. Either way, I hung onto them both for multiple months. They just sat there, mocking me. I felt I could not move on until I read them, but I couldn’t finish them!

TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch
Whatever the reason, I first put TrueFaced in a prominent spot and stared at it for about a month. Then I picked it up struggled through it for possibly 3 months until I actually started to like it. I would rate it as a good book, along the lines of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (previously reviewed, here). I think part of the reason I liked it was that it basically described the process I’ve been through at Watermark through Celebrate Recovery – coming to terms with a faith that is apart from “doing” things and “putting on a mask” and “looking good”. Learning to live outside the fake by trusting God and being “authentic” (to use a Watermark word) with safe people. OK, they didn’t mention choosing safe people with whom to be authentic, but I want to throw that in because I think it is possible that someone might read this book and think, “hey, I can share all my junk with whoever I want and they’ll be mature enough to handle it”. That is just not true. So that would be my one caveat to this book. Realize that the authors have made the assumption that either 1) the people around you are safe, or 2) that you know how to find safe people.

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Everyone knows I love the green books…and movies, documentaries, web sites. So I thought for sure I would love to read about how nature takes over if the human race just suddenly disappeared one day. But no, that would be wrong. Concepts like this seem, to me, to be best directed to people who have analytical minds, who enjoy engineering, who like to read about things in great detail. GREAT DETAIL. Let me restate – there was a lot of detail. I approached this book in the holiday season, on my vacation, with my mind set to “mush”. I was looking for a nice, imaginative read. What was I thinking trying to read this book? I looked up and found that paint drying was more interesting. I could not get into it. I made it to Chapter 3 before I thought “Why am I torturing myself?”. I accept the fact that I can’t do it. I embrace this fact as part of myself. I do not have to read this book to be a good treehugger. I can dislike it if I want.

With these two books behind me, my plate is clear for 2009. Melanie has inspired me to start trying to read again. Maybe I will start with the book she recommended…