Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Genre: Fiction/ Literature
Length: 458 pages
When I was a kid I had a poster of a chimpanzee on my wall. Underneath in a font that was surely intended to motivate a young mind it said: “When I Work, I Work Hard. When I Play, I Play Hard. But When I Think, I Fall Asleep.” The monkey had his chin resting in his human-like hand, eyes drooped down.
Although I’ve read more books that my norm this year, I’ve just *mostly* finished my 93rd title, it’s been a lot of fluff. It’s been a lot of things that digest easily and go down like lemonade on a hot summer day, or cooled hot cocoa in winter. The heavier stuff that I tend to enjoy has bored me. I’m too tired for all this thinking. My energies are spent writing. I want to just download books into my head, Matrix style, when I sit down to read.
One Hundred Years of Solitude has been sitting on my shelf radiating all this promise for years. I’ve put it off because it was going to blow my mind. It was going to be too wonderful for words. Then, when the words came, it was supposed to be the most intelligent thing that had ever come from my mouth – or been typed by my fingers. Because it’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Because Garcia is wonderful. Because this is his magnum opus.
I was bored.
There’s a lot to take in. There’s a lot to quote. I could never write anything so wonderful in all my life.
But around page 300 out of the 458 pages, I caught myself skimming. The drama was annoying me. The people were unfriendly. I couldn’t relate to anyone, nor did I want to. This probably says more about my mood than anything else, but I started flicking through the pages speed reading to a level that even I know I’m not really reading anymore.
“Not finishing a book that doesn’t move you is a sign of reading maturity,” I just told a co-worker at the bookstore tonight. “It’s knowing that there are so many wonderful things out there that you shouldn’t waste your time with things that aren’t wonderful.” I waste my time with things that aren’t wonderful all the time. Even more so, I waste my time with things that are wonderful even if I’m not feeling wonder at them at all, I’m just reading it because I’m supposed to feel awed.
Around page 370 or so, I took a deep breath, skipped to the last chapter and read it. Yes, I skipped pages. Lots of them. And just read the end. I still started nodding off. I’m not even that tired (ok, I am that tired, but good books are supposed to keep you awake!), just that unmoved by this family and their crap. Sadly, I didn’t feel like I missed anything at all. I was just relieved that it was over, that I was going to mark this one off my list. Then, I felt the annoyance of the knowledge that I was not going to write my one solid literary essay of the year, at least not on this book. (Once a year or so, I write an essay. A proper one, as though I’m still in school. It’s lame. And nerdy. But I feel like I have to do this to stay in practice. You know, in case I ever go back. They get worse every year. I’ve stopped sharing them. Now, it looks like I’ve even stopped writing them.)
I’m further annoyed that this is a favorite book of my best friend. I hate that I can’t share that with her.
Maybe I’ll read those pages I skipped one day. Maybe. For now, I’ll admit defeat and enjoy my sleep.