My parents gave me my copy of Les Misérables. It was going to be the book that I read to pass the time in between beginning Maternity Leave and having the baby. Well, Maternity Leave began in April 2019, and my daughter was born at the end of May 2019 and yet I didn’t pick up Les Mis once. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I picked it up now and again to admire the cover (my edition is a beautiful Penguin Clothbound Classics), or to flick through the pages both in awe and fear of the length (particularly with how small the font was!) but alas, I didn’t actually start reading it. Why? I’m not entirely sure, it could have been for many reasons, perhaps the length intimidated me, maybe I was too busy nesting/getting things ready for the baby, maybe I was reading other things. In reality it was probably a mixture of all of them. Either way the book remained on my bookshelf unread.
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Now, fast forward to January of this year (2020) when I put together my books I plan on reading this year list, and of course it made the cut. I’ve wanted to read it for ages, and I thought if I put it on this list then I definitely would get to it because I would have that accountability. I wouldn’t want to finish up 2020 without reading all the books on the list because I’m a stickler for completing something that I set my mind to. It still seemed pretty intimidating though so of course I picked other books up first, and whilst I was making progress on the list overall, this huge title was still sitting there waiting for me. It wasn’t until halfway through the year (despite lockdown and being furloughed) that I actually picked it up and started reading it. Now, I can’t deny that the little I have read is brilliant, and I can certainly understand and appreciate why this book is and has been so popular. I decided that I would read it alongside other books so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed or bogged down by it, I’d just read a few chapters here and there, and initially that worked well. However, before long it seemed like a chore, it was there lurking in the background, and I was feeling obliged to pick it up in order to complete it simply because it was a reading goal for this year. I realised that I wasn’t picking it up because I wanted to anymore, if I ever had in the first place, irrelevant of the fact that I was enjoying it. Does that make sense?
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Anyway, after thinking about it I realised that this title is definitely one of those bucket list, I want to read it before I die books, and I want to actually enjoy it. I can tell from what I have read that I will really like it, and therefore I want to read it at the right time, and not because I feel as though I should. That sense of obligation takes the fun out of reading. Ultimately for me reading is for pleasure, and I don’t want to lose that. So, as a result I’m putting it to one side again, rather than pile on the pressure I’m going to wait for the right time so I can have the experience that I really believe it will give me. Whilst I wait for that time I will allow it to serve its original purpose once more as a beautiful book that I can admire. That’s more than enough for me for now.
Have you had to make the choice to put a book to one side because the timing was wrong? If so, what was it and why? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!