12:20:14 Three Whys I Quit Reading a Book

I don't always finish books. Because I work at a public library, I find plenty of books to start reading, but sometimes I quit.

Of late I've quit three books mid-read & the reasons, I'm sure, might be applied to other books.

[quit reading]

In the Department of Bad Fact Checking, I'd nominate Fred Kaplan's 1959: The Year Everything Changed, which I quit on page 112 where he reprised the well-known U-2 Incident from the Cold War in which Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Russia and triggered an international uproar.

After relating events in 1959 to what followed in 1960, Kaplan states "The U-2 took off on May Day (1960), with orders to enter Soviet airspace from Greenland, fly over Murmansk ..." A fictious statement. I quit reading.

I've read original source material (namely, Powers' memoir, Operation Overflight) with the May Day flight details. Powers' U-2 left Peshawar, Pakistan, with a final planned destination of Bodo, Norway.

Mr. Kaplan was about 180 degrees from the truth! How could I trust Mr. Kaplan for the rest of the book? He'd broken his contract with me as reader, so 1959 was an easy discard.

Second on my recent quit-read list and in the Department of Smarmy Con Man, I'd nominate Eric Metaxas' Miracles, which I read mostly out of curiosity. How can anybody take a miracle as more than the inexplicable? Well, Mr. Metaxas can and draws on a whole passel of miracles from none other than his circle of friends.

Miracles are but a vehicle for Mr. Metaxas to sell a variant of evangelical Christianity--he's got a personal relationship with God and it's there for the reader for the easy price of belief. So, Mr. Metaxas is like Jimmy Swaggart--if more preppy palatable--in a GQ-model, Yale-educated, Manhattan-domiciled wrapper.

But where did I quit Miracles? In one chapter, Mr. Metaxas asserts divine intervention saved an abandoned baby squirrel who stopped eating and was failing to thrive. And for me, not too slight a reason to quit reading.

Third, and in the Department of Dreck was Ellen Langer's Counterclockwise. The author and her research assistants at Harvard recreated a 1950s environment as a retreat for aging seniors. Several weeks' stay gave positive outcomes for all.

An article in an academic journal, but a book? Plus, the writing is best characterized as academic in verbose mode. Not unlike chewing concrete. Counterclockwise was a relatively quick quit.

So Bad Fact Checking, Smarmy Con Man, and Dreck: three good reasons to quit reading. I'm sure there're more.

Read more ...
(click to enlarge image)

The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.

more posts

12.12.14 the life-changing magic of tidying up, a book review
11.12.14 Oil Changes
10.29:14 Grapefruit
10.17:14 Doomsday Preppers, a TV series review
9.30:14 The Trigger, a book review
9:10:14 Clipboard People
8:23:14 Ukraine Diaries, a book review
8:21:14 My Home Darkroom on a Shoestring
7:29:14 Right Speech
6:28:14 Pacific Power's Wily Ways
6:20:14 My New Clarks Sandals
5:31:14 Portland's Water Woes, Again
5:10:14 Faster Dial-Up
4:11:14 Update on Stockpiling Light Bulbs
4:10:14 The Next 100 Years, a book review
3:15:14 A Cruel and Shocking Act, a book review
3:8:14 Ukraine: Another Revolution Gone Awry
2:9:14 The Flight (and Fight) of the Hummingbird
1:25:14 My Frugal Byways
1:20:14 Walden on Wheels, a book review
1:2:14 Growing Up Amish: A Memoir, a book review
12:27:13 Micro-Apartments
11:28:13 The Moneyless Man, a book review
11:23:13 The Lost Art of Walking, a book review
11:10:13 The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a book review
10:23:13 The Biker Angel
10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon
9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:26:13 Camera-rama
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping 
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
1:6:13 Alleys
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
3:18:12 Rothko
3:9:12 The End of Money, a book review
3:1:12 gutenberg.org
2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
1:11:12 String Beans
12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
11:20:11 Camus' Insight
11:13:11 Old & Worthy
11:7:11 Life Is Tragic
10:31:11 A Matter of Death and Life, a book review
10:25:11 Dead Letter, Email Fatigue
10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
10:1:11 The Sisters Brothers, a book review
9:26:11 The Great Stagnation, a book review
9:16:11 Coffee, The Affordable Luxury
9:12:11 The Genius of Value
9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review