Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reader's Lament

When I was in high school, I was very active in the choir. I was in the women's ensemble, mixed choir, and what we called "Show Choir", which was a precursor to musical theater. I sang alto, which is the lowest voice range for a female. Altos usually since harmony to the soprano's melody, and I still sing this counter part to Christmas music and some musical songs (especially "One", the finale from "A Chorus Line").

With that said, we sang a song during these high school years that has stuck with me, "The Alto's Lament" by William Bowlus. Here are some lyrics:

Why do altos always seem to get
Stuck with all the crummy parts?
One or two or three delightful notes
That we call the counter part.
We have had our fill of
Singing"ahhs" and "ooohs".
By now you'd think the altos
Had paid all their dues.

You get the idea. It's a fun little song, and puts to music what most of us have said at one time or another.

I have now stumbled upon a reader's lament that has come from belonging to a book club: slowing my reading pace.

I know, I know. Sounds like a stupid thing, but hear me out.

I am a fast reader. If I book grips me, and is 400 pages or less, I can read it in two days. It's what I will do with my free time instead of watching television or listening to music. This kind of intentional reading can really knock books off of that ever-growing TBR list.

When you belong to a book club that reads one book every two weeks, but meets weekly, you have some adjustments to make. For example, we are reading "Those Who Save Us" by Jenna Blum. We agreed to read 1/2 of the book for discussion one week, and discuss the entire story the next week.

The book is rather gripping, however, and I had to make myself put it down at chapter 24, the closest I could come to the middle and still finish a chapter. I went through my days thinking of the book and wanting to know what happened next. I had to start another book to keep myself from reading the rest of this one. The issue now is, will I be able to compartmentalize these two stories, since I am not used to reading multiple books at once?

And what is the harm in reading the entire book? After all, they won't know if I don't tell them. Well, to me, it defeats the spirit intended, which is to put all of us in the same spot at the story, the tension, the apex. Also, there is no alarm that a spoiler will be mistakenly announced if no one knows the spoilers.

So, here I sit, trying to remember where I left the action in the first book, while trying to figure out which one to finish: My book club book, or the book I started so I wouldn't finish my book club book.

Oh! The life of a reader!

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