The Mind of Bluesleepy

Quitters never win 19 November 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 10:25 pm

I am going to admit something to you that I’m not very proud of.  I am sad to admit I think I am going to give up on a book.

I don’t give up on books!  I just don’t!  I don’t know what my deal is, but I can count on one hand the number of books I have forsaken partway through.  (One was The Hobbit — and now I duck as SJAT throws something large and heavy at my head.)  I will read and read, regardless of how painful it is to me, because what if halfway through it turns into a fantastic book?  Or three-quarters of the way through?  Or near the very end?  How can I possibly give up so soon?

But alas, I do believe this one has done me in.  It’s a book about Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted during the Third Crusade, and that’s part of the reason I am so sad about this development.  I have always been fascinated by the Crusades (in fact, as I compose this post, I’m listening to the soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and I’m at the beginning when Robin is still in Arab lands — the perfect background music for this post).  The beginning of this book likens the Crusades to the Holocaust set in motion by Hitler, and I never thought of it that way.  But it makes so much sense.  The Christians set off into the lands ruled over by Muslim Arabs in order to win back the Holy Land for the “right” religion, and they slaughtered the Arabs en masse for their beliefs.

If that isn’t a Holocaust, I don’t know what is.

I was also looking forward to this book to come away with a better grasp of why that area has been such a bone of contention for so many years.  Yes, it’s the Holy Land for three different religions, so it’s not going to be a land of peace and tranquility with three religions claiming it as their own, but why all the wars?  Why the violence and suffering?  This book promised to give me an inkling of how it all started.

But I can’t get into it.  I really can’t.  It’s soooooo dry.  The reviews made it seem as though the book would grip me from page one, but I find myself reading and re-reading a paragraph because I have read the words without grasping the meaning.  And then I try all over again, and it’s just not working.  I’m 77 pages into it.  I hate to give up now, though.  I only have 300 pages more to go.

Should I stick with it?  Or should I give up? There are some passages that make me want to keep reading, like the chapter about Richard’s beginnings.  That part went quickly, and learning about Muslim tradition is quite interesting.  Apparently Saladin had captured two Crusaders, one being the King of Jerusalem and one a local lord, and the Sultan sat down with them in his pavilion.  He gave the King a bowl of rose-water sherbet, and the King passed it along to the lord after he had taken some.  Saladin became angry because in Muslim tradition, a man who had taken another prisoner is required to show him mercy if he offers him food and water.  Even so, the lord was executed within the hour due to the atrocities he had committed against the Muslim people before his capture.

See?  It’s interesting.  But only in parts.  The bigger part of me wants to chuck it and read something interesting, and fun, and gripping, like the November book for Books & Snacks, which was The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.  That book was amazing.  I was sucked in within the first twenty pages and kept turning one page after another to see what was going to happen next.

Maybe I’m not cut out to read non-fiction.  My goal is to read something educational every once in a while, just to keep my brain in shape after so many years of being a stay-at-home mom.  I don’t need my mind turning to mush!  Although I guess I should cut myself some slack; at least I read, and that in itself is keeping my brain exercised.

I know I’ve said it before, but I don’t get people who don’t read.  I love love love to read, and I will make time to read.  My father says he likes to read, that he enjoys it, but that he doesn’t have time for it.  Well.  I don’t know about you, but I always make time for the things I really enjoy doing.  The laundry will sit in the dryer for five days, but I’ll sit down with my book for twenty or thirty minutes.  I cannot fall asleep unless I’ve read for at least ten minutes.  It’s the only way to shut my brain off from all the worry and stress and concern I have going on.  Otherwise my mind just goes round and round and round and round with all sorts of random crap, and one thing feeds into another, and it goes on and on as I toss and turn all night.  It’s not pretty.  I need my beauty sleep!

I’d much rather read than take a sleeping pill, any day.

Hmm.  Maybe I’ll read some more and see if this book gets more interesting.  Wish me luck.


9 Responses to “Quitters never win”

  1. cocoabean Says:

    I read every night before bed, and during my breaks at work. Sometimes during the evening… but I have given up on a book too, it was just too hard to focus on it.

  2. I believe that fiction is as educational as non-fiction. Most of the time, anyway. I’ve learned so much about the world just by reading something written by Anne Tyler, Paolo Coelho (have you ever read The Alchemist? If not – do it!) or Barbara Kingsolver. Who needs non-fiction?! (Said the women who has a pile of textbooks sitting right in front of her)

    One day, years ago, I made up my mind that if a book didn’t suck me in by page 63, I was giving up. I almost always follow that. But one time, John Irving’s “Son of the Circus” was making me crazy. I wanted to finish it. Imagine my surprise that I finally got the rhythm of the dang thing at page 163! I will never forget that page and how much I ended up loving that book. That being said, I still give up if I don’t like it enough, at page 63.

    I’m almost done with Guernsey and I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

    I’ll be posting a poll for next month’s book choice some time this weekend. So if you have any thing you want to suggest, go on and do it!

    • bluesleepy Says:

      Oh I agree that fiction is very educational!! I had no idea Guernsey was occupied by the Germans in WWII until I read that book. And I usually read historical fiction, which is usually quite educational, even though it’s not 100% accurate.

  3. SJAT Says:

    Interestingly, I was never a fan of the Hobbit, Blue. Lord of the Rings, yes. In fact, as soon (nearly wrote spoon) as Marcus is born I will be reading him to sleep with Lord of the Rings (or Goldsworthys texts on the Roman military – I am soooo boring.) But I actually agree with you on the Hobbit.

    The Crusades, though, I’d have to disagree with in part. Yes, by the time of Coeur de Lion and Saladin it had turned into a mess, but Religion was by then only an excuse. Most of the nobles that went did it for the booty and to gain lands over there. Greed. Always greed.

    My plan for solving religious disputes in the Holy Land is exciting. I plan to declare Jerusalem a free and indepdendent city (kind of like the Vatican) but make it a secular state with no official religion. I know this is all sounding quite serious, but here’s where all that changes: I will bring in the Inuit to control the city. An Inuit government and army in control with no agenda on any of the three religions concerned. Maybe with attack groups of Polar Bears too (though they’d have to be shaved due to the heat…)

    Might need to lie down now

    • bluesleepy Says:

      Anything, even killing and murder and mayhem, in the name of God, yes?! Even as a front to hide their insatiable greed. I know religion was only the excuse. I don’t believe in killing anyone for any reason, personally. I think my fascination comes from the notion that anyone would start a war based on religion. You would think we could all live on this planet in peace.

  4. I adored the LOTR movies; but have to admit, I had to struggle to get through the books.  (And I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan.)  I’m like you – even if a book doesn’t grab me, I will try to finish it on principle.When you think about it, though, why read something you DON’T enjoy?  Especially when there are more wonderful, fascinating epistles out there waiting to be discovered!  Maybe someone else is dying to read the dry material (hey, it could happen!)  Let them, then go find something that grabs you from the first paragraph.

  5. terri t. Says:

    I hate to give up on books too….when I do, I usually read the last chapter or so to see if it would still be worthy…!

    I think the reason there are so many types of books is so that we all don’t get bored with reading. For example, I enjoy Jodi Picoult books but have had 2 comments from people who don’t….. I don’t care who likes my choices….they are MY choices and I read them because I LIKE THEM! And I often find I don’t like some best sellers…..and I don’t care. LOL

  6. I agree with you, I can’t understand people who do not enjoy reading. Now that I have quit work, there are many days when I should be doing chores and I can’t put that book down for the life of me! LOL! I’m my mother’s daughter. We would go and get armfuls of books from the library, and would have them all read before the 2 week due date.

  7. ExMi Says:

    OMG you haven’t read The Hobbit?

    I’ve read that book like a SQUILLION times.

    You should try again. I dunno about the Crusades book tho. I tried a similar book, and although interesting, very dry.

    good luck with that 😉

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