Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, March 27, 2017

Unfinished Reading

Books you don't finish reading
are like mountains you don't
finish climbing or comparisons
like this that don't seem quite right.

They are like acquaintances who
don't become friends. (This seems
better.) You have been told or
think you see what's up ahead,
but a weariness sets in. Let

the book be great for others,
you think.  Just leave me out of it. 
I've resigned from the reading of
The Fairie Queen, Clarissa, The
Castle of Crossed Destinies, 
The Charterhouse at Parma, 
countless portly mystery novels.
I pretended to finish Paradise
Lost but, as with the film,
The Titanic, I had guessed the ending.

I forced myself to climb Mann's
Magic Mountain. It took
decades, and it wasn't worth it.

When Sam Johnson (who
said of Paradise Lost, "No one
wished it longer") got tired
of a book, he threw it across
the room. Bolder than I,
he didn't resign from reading.
He fired the book.


hans ostrom 2017
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