Help! I’m stalled!

I truly hate when this happens. I choose a book that is reputed to be wonderful, sometimes even by people I know and whose taste I usually agree with, and then it leaves me cold. I can’t get myself to read it, and so I fritter away time I would spend reading on other things and get really frustrated. Why won’t I just abandon the book? Because I feel like there might be something later in the book that will turn it around for me. Or I feel I can’t really judge a book without reading the entire thing. But I remain stuck as a result. Last year it was Zorba, the Greek, absolutely the favorite book of one of my best friends, and my number one successful book recommender. I eventually finished it, but never came to love it. This time it is Voss, a 1001 Books selection by a Nobel winner. I’m 175 pages in and still not all that captivated.

I probably wouldn’t be this far except that I have put my behavior therapist skills to work on myself. Some other Goodreads folks are reading The Poisonwood Bible this month and discussing it, but I had not added it to this year’s reads. I decided to join them since I have the book. I started it and got immediately hooked. “Ah ha!” says I (pirate voice), “I’ve found me a treasure I can use!” So I am not letting myself read more than a few chapters of Poisonwood Bible until I read 50 pages of Voss. I need to get back to it now, since I just had a couple delicious chapters of PB. Let’s hear it for behavior mod. You should see much more of me again soon!


About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
This entry was posted in 1001 Books, Around the World 2012, Books, Nobel, Orange and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Help! I’m stalled!

  1. Pragya says:

    Beth, seriously!! You are using Behavior mod to make yourself finish a book you so obviously don’t want to read? That’s taking Behavior mod too far. LOL. 😀

    Good luck!

  2. I want to check it off the list, and I don’t feel I can if I haven’t read it cover to cover (although, I did with Vanity Fair, which I started and didn’t finish in HS). And it’s one of my 6 Oceania reads, so I feel like I would want to replace it if I don’t finish it, and so I kind of feel like I might as well gut it out….

    • Pragya says:

      Wish you the best. I know that thing, I too want to finish books no matter how boring or bad they may be. It’s just something about an unfinished book..perhaps a Zeigarnik effect. :p

  3. Yup, that is it! Nice use of psych research!

  4. Sue says:

    I’m all for behavior mod (says the smartie who suggested dinosaurs as bribes for toilet training a reluctant nephew! He really liked those dinos.
    I’m really liking Poisonwood Bible too.

  5. Somehow it’s comforting that even a champion reader like you gets stuck sometimes. 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on!

  6. Jenny says:

    I’m stuck in Peru myself, and not the book people are reading in a group. I keep taking breaks for books unrelated to the challenge but if I never get out of the jungle, I’ll never get anywhere!

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