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.