Should We Return to the Books We’ve Set Aside?

June 2, 2009 at 11:14 pm (Book Thoughts)

Saturday night I attended the premiere of a documentary on Hurricane Audrey.  The documentary, All Over But To Cry, was produced by Jennifer John Block and Jake Springfield. Block and Springfield allowed survivors to share their stories of that terrible night in 1957 when Hurricane Audrey killed at least 500 people and devastated Cameron Parish. 

The documentary was thought-provoking, emotional, and reminded me of a book I need to return to.  The book is called Isaac’s Storm, written by Erik Larson.  It is about the hurricane of 1900 that destroyed Galveston, Texas.  Larson is well-known for Devil in the White City, his book about the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.  It was after reading the latter that I decided I must read all of his books.  However, it didn’t take me very long to set aside Isaac’s Storm because of all the scientific language.  I have to admit, I felt very intimidated.  After having time away from the narrative I think I’ve decided to give it another go.  The documentary changed my reading mood, pointing me back to something I probably should’ve finished.

Once I decided to return to Isaac’s Storm, I began to wonder what other books I’ve abandoned.  I look on my bookshelves and see index cards, envelopes, and post-it notes popping out of various books.  They remind me of all the half-read stories.  Why did I choose those books to stop reading?  Was it poor writing?  Uninteresting characters?  Or did I become a lazy reader?  There are many reasons, but I must remind myself of why I bought each book.  Obviously something caught my attention. 

Thanks to the documentary I received an unexpected yet necessary nudge back towards my own bookshelves.


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