I’m not good at sports. So when I get talked into participating in one and I inevitably get hit in the face with a football or I bruise my tailbone falling on the ice while missing the puck, it doesn’t break my heart. I know from the outset that failure is a very likely outcome, and with those expectations, my self-esteem is buffered.
However I am, or so I like to think, a “good reader”. “Good” in the sense that I enjoy it, I read a variety of books and can usually retain and discuss their content with some degree of intelligence. Hence, my ability to read well is linked to my self-worth in a more critical way than sports (or crafts, or dancing, or training my cat not to bite people…).
And so, the 3rd Plight of a Bookworm is…The Book Fail.
If you’re not really into books, just reading this blog because you know me or find me mildly amusing (thank you!) than you probably don’t really understand what I mean. You probably don’t “fail” at books. You stop reading them because they are boring or too long or difficult or complicated or you find another book you’d rather read. You can stop reading a book for any number of reasons, and feel no shame. Good for you!
However, if when you read the phrase “Book Fail”, you immediately and uncontrollably clenched your fists and whispered “Anna Karenina”* or “Les Miserables”, then you’re with me on this.
It’s a pretty major blow to the self-esteem to fail at something you think you’re good at. To put a book back on the shelf or bring it back to the library unfinished? SO Disheartening!
Especially one that you felt so smug about reading in the first place. Looking down on the people around you on the subway with their Maeve Binchy’s while you’re looking so smart with your tome of choice. Then to fail? Devastating!
Then when people ask you about it later, like “Oh, was Les Miserables the musical anything like the book?” And you have to own up to your failure or lie about it? The Worst!
(also, no judgement if you lie. None at all ;))
But let’s try to practice a little self-forgiveness this year, fellow bookworms.
If we never failed, it would mean we were living a life without challenges. Which would give us nothing to strive for, which would make for a very boring life indeed. So keep reading those tough books! Some of them won’t be for you, and that’s ok. The fact that you’re failing means that you’re trying your best.
Others maybe deserve another try when you have more brain-power to spare, and when you finally finish them, you’ll feel so much better than if you just re-read “Shopaholic Ties the Knot”. The bigger the challenge, the sweeter the success!
Although the Book Fail might be a plight of a bookworm, it’s also a sign that you’re doing something right.
*In my defence, ALL of the names in that book were SO similar, and they were Russian. I’m already bad with names, so turning back every few pages, going “Which Alexi is she talking about?” is the least fun ever.