For Now, My Nightstand Sits Empty...

I have had this problem as of late. I start a book, read it for a few chapters and then grow bored of it. The epiphany of the title or the punch of the opening paragraphs wears off and it no longer holds my interest. It sits at my nightstand, the bookmark holding my place and it stays there, silent and untouched, for a few days, a week, even months. I used to find the idea of starting a book and not finishing it to be something akin to a failure.

I have had this problem as of late. I start a book, read it for a few chapters and then grow bored of it. The epiphany of the title or the punch of the opening paragraphs wears off and it no longer holds my interest. It sits at my nightstand, the bookmark holding my place and it stays there, silent and untouched, for a few days, a week, even months.

I used to find the idea of starting a book and not finishing it to be something akin to a failure. Maybe “failure” is too strong a word. But if you start something, oughtn’t you finish it?

It took me a long, long time to give myself permission to not finish a book. Well into my mid-twenties, to be honest.

Even now, there’s a bit of a twinge of guilt—I suppose that’s the word to describe it—that comes when I shut a book and acknowledge that I won’t be opening it up again anytime soon. But—just in case—I leave the bookmark in my spot, so that if I do come back to it again, I can pick up where I left off.

Today, while I was picking up, I took two books that had been lingering on my nightstand and re-shelved them, perhaps the final admission of something I had known for weeks now but hadn’t really wanted to admit.

I’ve always had a thing for memoirs; the year that I fell in love with both Girl Meets God and Here’s to Hindsight (among a handful of other memoirs, too, including one of a Catholic nun) was the clincher for this favorite-genre-of-mine.

There’s always a common thread that runs through the titles I love best: Christian girl talks about finding her way along the journey, growing closer to God in the ups and downs of it all. Other memoirs that fall into that category include One Thousand Gifts (which I’ve written about here) and Cold Tangerines and Grumble Hallelujah (which I reviewed here).

The books that show you what a faith-lived-out kind of life looks like, rather than just preaching at you about how to do it. There’s a humility I so appreciate in these tomes as they peel back the fa├žade and reveal the real-life aspects of this faith-walk of ours, the glories and grit and gruntwork that comes along with it.

But there’s something lately that has fallen flat for me in this pursuit of learning from other women’s journeys. I’m not quite sure how to put words to it, but I’ve noticed that it hasn’t quite gripped me as much as it has in the past. I even picked up Here’s to Hindsight to read again, to whet my appetite, and even it did nothing to reignite the flame. I closed it up—bookmark in place—and nestled it back on my bookshelf again.

And for the moment, my nightstand is empty.

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3 comments:

  1. I've been hearing about the one thousand gifts and def want to check it out. My problem is I am reading too many books at once. I have about 7 on my nightstand now ;) My current favorite is battlefield of the mind!

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  2. I have the exact same problem. I need to alternate between Christian books and what I like to call "fluffy books" aka fiction. After a good dose of fluff I'm ready for another memoir! The last really good fiction book I read was The Help. I finished it in less than a week!

    Another good option is a book that sits somewhere in the middle for me between "memoir" and "fluff" It's a true story, but fluffy more so because of it's humor and readability. It's called "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" I'm in the middle of it right now and am loving it!

    Good luck filling up your nightstand again!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Since Evan was born 6 months ago, I've read...one book? And started at least 2 others. I don't know how to get back into it.

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