Monday, December 21, 2009

Partial Credit for Partial Readings?

I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that there are many, many books that I have not yet finished for one reason or another.  Some I've dropped because they were badly written, boring, or offensive.  Others I stopped reading simply because I ran out of time or got distracted.  Still, I firmly believe that I--or anyone--should get partial credit for the partial readings, if only because reading part of a book is better than reading none of a book.  (Of course, as has been already discussed, partial readings do not equal full readings.)

Here are the books for which I could  retroactively claim partial credit:

, by George Eliot
This is one of the best-written books I've ever read.  Eliot's characterizations are amazing, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time reading it.  However, as previously discussed, the book is about the size of three books all stuffed between two covers, and the sheer length of the novel is not only intimidating, it is also a very powerful de-motivator. 
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I've really been meaning to get around to finishing this book, to the point that I made it my New Year's resolution this year to finish it.  I'll give you three guesses as to which book I not only didn't touch but didn't even think about touching this year, and the first two guesses don't count.
Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The scene: 10th Grade American Lit, 2002.  We were given the option to read The Red Badge of Courage, Huckleberry Finn, and The Scarlet Letter.  I chose to read parts of all of them, instead of reading all of any of them, mostly because all three of them were incredibly boring.  Huckleberry Finn was my favorite of the three options, but only because it was easy to fake the answers on the test because all of the chapters included Huck and Tom arriving via raft, doing something cool, and then leaving via raft.  Easy peasy.
Ahab's Wife, by Sena Naslund
I have tried to read this book on at least three separate occasions, when I found the book at the library and thought it sounded interesting.  Each time I cracked it open with full intention of reading it and realized partway through the first chapter that I have already tried to read the book several times.  For those who are curious, I do not claim partial credit for this book, as I remember so little of the book that it is not until I am five pages in that I realize that (a) I've already read those five pages, and (b) the pages were incredibly forgettable.
The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
I really enjoyed the first half of this book, but I became convinced partway through that I could already tell what would happen.  Either it felt predictable or I am psychic, because I had no desire even to flip to the end to see if my predictions were correct.  Needless to say, I am only able to recommend the first half of the book, and I would also recommend that you take that recommendation with a grain of salt.

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