When Good Books Are Frustrating

I’m reading a good book right now.

Product DetailsHeap House by Edward Carey (who also illustrates it) is weird, bizarre, creepy, odd, fantastical, grimy, and weird. Have I mentioned weird?

It is also a slow read. Every word matters. Every description is a clue. Nothing is throw aside, or added just for the sake of being added. You have to read this baby page by page.

This is a quality of a good book, no question. But it’s also kind of frustrating. Because I’m spending a lot of time reading this book. I want to, it’s time well spent, but I’m not reading anything else while I’m reading this. And I’ve been reading this for a couple of weeks now.

In my attic, I have my TO READ bookcase. It is only three shelves tall, but it is full. With books lying on their sides on top of the books on the shelves and books piled on top of books on top of the bookcase, which more or less constitutes a fourth shelf. I also have satellite collections of TO READ books on a shelf in the living room, as well as on a shelf in another room. In all, there are probably upwards of 100 books on my current TO READ shelves.

I’m not reading any of them right now.

Some of these books, I know, I will never read. Every so often, I go through my TO READ shelves and quietly, solemnly, remove books that have simply been pushed so far down the list that I’d have to live to be 237 to get to them. This is a sad day for me, because I’m sure these are all really good books. But I have had to face the fact that I am mortal. Some day, I will die. At that time, I will cease being able to read books. Therefore, I only have a finite amount of time to read books left in my life. I hate to waste that time.

Which is why Heap House is so frustrating. I want to read it. I am enjoying the book immensely. But I am also well aware of how many other books I will never read because I’m spending so much time reading this one. And if I get anxious, if I get impatient, if I try to skim through a section–I’m lost. I have to go back and re-read whatever I skimmed. Which takes up even more time.

So damn you, Edward Carey! Damn you for writing such an odd, weird, strange, cool, freaky, weird book that I must read but at a glacially pace.

And damn you for getting me to purchase books two and three of the series.

Author: neilsendavid

Author of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom.

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