Almost a decade ago, I attended a conference called SLU, a program meant to instill leadership and activism in Christian students. I don’t remember many details, but I recall someone spoke that week and bragged that he finished every book he ever started.
He was trying to make a point about keeping true to your commitments, and I respect that. There are so many things in this world that are hard but worth it. For example, I don’t always want to go to yoga. Sometimes, it hurts. But I am always glad that I went. Krav Maga is the same way. Relationships, your education, the life you want to live: these are all worth committing to and fighting for.
But life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.
(On the other hand, if they’re for school or a book club, those are different circumstances. There’s a different endgoal and you may want to fight for those too.)
This week, I picked up The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, a book that caught my eye while I was working as a librarian. I like children’s books, but this one was too juvenile for me. Plus, the main characters’ excuses for kissing another girl while he supposedly liked his friend left a sour taste in my mouth.
It’s not an awful book. For Juvenile Fiction, it’s good writing. The short chapters are easy to get through and the core plot (where Jackson returns to his cons to take down a corrupt class presidential candidate) is entertaining, even though the side romantic plot makes me wince. It even addresses racism and privilege more overtly than many books I’ve read.
But the romantic side plot does make me wince, and none of the characters have endeared me to them yet. It’s not exciting to me, and I gave it a hundred pages to change my mind.
(I mean, any book is better than none and it was all I had at work that day.)
Sometimes I don’t know when to quit, but I’m calling it: The Great Greene Heist is not for me, and there is nothing wrong with that. Now I have more time (and shelf space) to devote to books I’m actually going to enjoy. Life’s too short to do otherwise.