Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Abandoned book

I’m not sure if it’s a first for me, but it hasn’t happened for a long time. This week I abandoned a book half way through it. I used to feel compelled to finish every book that I started – however long it took. But a while back I read a blog entry by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing. His time-saving tips includes this one:

Cultivate the habit of non-finishing. Not every project you start is worth finishing. Sometimes we get into it and realize, “This is a waste of time.” Fine, then give yourself permission to quit.

I do this all the time with reading. It’s why I am able to read so many articles and books. Here’s publishing’s dirty little secret: most books are not worth finishing. Most books could be cut in half and you wouldn’t miss a thing. The key is to read as long as you are interested and then stop. There are too many great books to read without getting bogged down in the merely good ones.

This obviously stuck in the space between my ears (I have actually adopted a few of his tips).

I was slogging my way through “Life conquers death” by John Arnold, and was not enjoying it – so I bit the bullet and followed Michael Hyatt’s tip. Life conquers death is now in the pile of books waiting to be filed away (although I’m not sure why I’m keeping it).

There were two good things directly from this book. Firstly it prompted me to dig out “The Oak and the Calf” by Solzhenitsyn, which is now in my ‘I must get around to (re)reading that’ pile. Secondly, Arnold quotes a Russian saying - “All drowns in Pharisaism”

This is worthy of further reflection.

Apart from a feeling of release, the biggest bonus from dumping this book, was the opening words of the one that I picked up in its place.

“I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.”
(Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller)

This fits perfectly with the contemplative pathway of prayer that I’m exploring just now. I’m already loving this book.

Abandoning was a good choice.

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