Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why I avoid challenges

I am 65% of the way through Ma Jian's Beijing Coma which translates to 468 pages out of 720 and I really wish now Kindle would just put little page numbers on here in addition to the location and percentage stuff. I need at least 3 different indicators of how far along a book I am when I don't have the weight of the book in front of me. Anyway, what I'm saying is, I'm not going to have a review of this anytime soon. I know I tend to post multiple times about a book while I'm reading it, but believe it or not, I do tend to do that only if I have something to say. Or at least I think I have something I want to say. Whether you think I did is really a different matter. I have lots I want to mention but so far it mostly has to do with how little I know about this period of Chinese history, even though I was alive for most of the time period described. Don't worry, I'll go into how pathetic I am in that post. Right now though what I'd like to do is take a little break from Beijing Coma so I have a new, less-depressing book and maybe something I can post about. I don't have a problem breaking up a book like this. I did it with Strange & Norrell and that book wasn't even depressing. Just ridiculously long.

Here's my problem though: I'm doing this China Rican reading challenge. But I don't really want to break up Beijing Coma with another book for this challenge. See I haven't really been able to find, well, any books I can use for the Puerto Rican part of this challenge. I only have the 2, the one I already read When I Was Puerto Rican and I heard about another one called The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. I read about the "snow" one on someone else's blog and honestly, they didn't have great things to say about it. It was OK but not really worth it. I added it to my list in the hopes that I'd find something better. But I haven't yet. And When I Was Puerto Rican was alright but a bit of a let down as well. So I don't really have another challenge book I can use to break up Beijing Coma, at least nothing I'm looking forward to reading.

To top that off, I do have a pile of books that I really do want to read, just staring me in the face with these Disney eyes, asking why I'm ignoring them. I know lots of people have insane TBR piles, but I don't. When I say my TBR pile I'm referring to an imaginary list that I'd like to maybe get around to reading at some point. I don't typically have an actual, physical pile of books. This time however, I do have that stack*. And I want to read them, but none of them qualify for this challenge. Yeah, I know I made up this challenge. No one actually would care if I finished it. Hell, Boyfriend doesn't even really care. At one point I asked him what he thought of me doing this and he just laughed. Granted that was most likely his reaction to watching me run in circles while playing L.A. Noire** which really just means he ignored my question. Because I think that he likes that I'm doing it on some level, but really it doesn't matter to him all that much. He doesn't want to say it doesn't matter, hence the change in subject. Even though he doesn't care, and really precisely because no one cares, I don't want to cheat, because then I'm just cheating me. OK, so I'll stick to the challenge, but now the challenge is starting to feel like work. And I hate that.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm glad I started this challenge because I read some books I very likely wouldn't have picked up and I have a whole bunch of Chinese authors on my TBR pile (the imaginary list one) to check out and I do think I'm learning slightly more about the countries and cultures. And I've cemented why I normally avoid challenges and that I'll most likely be avoiding them in the future.

*If you're curious, here's my current stack of books that is just waiting for me to finish up with this challenge so I can get to them:
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Hogdoggin' by Anthony Neil Smith
Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

**OK, the last game I just finished playing (replaying) was Luigi's Mansion so obviously I am a sporadic gamer. I've watched people play the GTA series but I've never done it myself. So what I'm saying is the controls are all new to me and quit laughing at me just because I get stuck between like every door and gate there is in this stupid game and omg did the suspect get away AGAIN because I still can't figure out how to read a map. Dammit.