Thursday, March 22, 2012

Risk

How I spent the last five hours...

I think this may have to be a new blog series for me.  You know how some people wear those pedometers that keep track of each step they take?  At the end of a day they are able to see their progress or sad slug state.  I need something like that, but instead of monitoring steps, it monitors how I spend my time.  I could look at it each night and say, Oh, fantastic, three hours was spent watching reruns on Netflix again; or Seriously, only fifteen minutes of exercising? (It felt much longer!); or One hour on Pinterest--not that bad today.  I feel it would be quite motivating.

Today, such a device would have logged hours and hours of looking online simply to find a few new books I want to read.  Yes, I was reading about reading.  I read blogs about books, book reviews, author websites, debates on fantasy literature, professor's sites, Amazon lists.  My purpose was two-fold: find another fantasy series that might hold a candle to LOTR and HP; and find a blogger who has my taste in reading.  This has worked well with cooking.  I know now not to waste my time with people's random recipes.  I stick to America's Test Kitchen or Alton Brown for the most part because I like the recipes they cook.  Surely there must be a similar site out there for books?

I can't say I struck gold.  I found countless reading blogs (I didn't even know these existed) -- people who are voracious readers and describe their current reads.  I found book review blogs, but I had a few quick litmus tests to see if I could agree with their assessments.  In my hunt for books with Christian themes, I found conservative anti-Harry Potter sites and some interesting pop-culture and Christ sites and everything in between.  As far as fantasy suggestions, it seems this genre can be a bit icky, at least in its modern state, or immature copies of the greats that have already been done.

Stephanie (who is just reading like crazy this year) said to me recently, as I was explaining my ongoing dilemma about what to read next, Just go for it.  Pick a book and read it!

Why can't it be that easy for me?  She's gone for it and has liked a good amount of the books she's read, many of which appeared over and over as I "researched."  Then finally, it dawned on me.  She's liked most of what she's read, but not all.  And there was the problem:

Reading involves risk.

I want to find a person out there who reads just like me and likes just what I like because then I won't have to read something and be disappointed, disgusted, or angry by the end of it.  I can know I'm investing in something that is good, something that is worth a place on my bookshelf, and I won't be the one wasting any time and energy only to be abandoned by the author in the end.

I realized that this is cowardly, though.  Sure, it's helpful to read a few reviews and know a bit of what you're getting into before you do, but at some point, I'll have to take a chance.  Someone had to take a chance on every good novel ever written, right?  Even after editors and publishers decided a book was good enough for a shelf, someone still had to pick it up and give it a try.

In fact, couldn't we say that all good things involve risk?  Even in our Bible study this past week, we spoke of the risk (okay...the word is actually cost) of following Christ.  It's risky not because He ever would let us down but because we are deciding to do something and be people who are counter-cultural, different, and--to some--even threatening.  It's risky not because He will abandon us but because He may lead us into things that are uncomfortable and painful.

And then I thought of my mom who this week asked us about our next steps in having a family, and I shared our hopes of having an IVF in the next year.  She asked, "But what about the disappointment?  What if it doesn't work, and you have to go through all of that?"  I felt myself freeze with anxiety just at the thought.

Risk, right?  But a risk worth taking, I hope.

So, my search for a good book to read went a bit deeper than I had planned.  That's what I love about Christ.  He is everywhere, and His spirit is constantly guiding me, even when I think all I'm doing is finding my next read.

By the way, I did buy a couple of books, but if you've read all the way to the end of this post, you deserve to be released.  I'll share more of my book decisions later.

4 comments:

  1. I've heard that The Hunger Games is really good.

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  2. 2 things-
    1) That post turned into something I was totally not expecting, lol! But great nonetheless :)

    2) I read through that whole post and still don't know what you plan to read next!?

    Hopefully you won't be disspointed in your new reads, and even if you are, at least you know how you feel about it and don't have to wonder anymore :)

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  3. Soooooo, I've seriously seen thinking about risk ever since you posted this....and my thinking explains my lack of a comment...funny, huh? About risk, the only thing that keeps coming to mind is that risk isn't easy when you are poor. :-) Even risk in buying books; I don't want to waste money on a crap book. About reading, let's read Ender's Game. It is supposed excellent and it is of similar concept to the Hunger Games only well thought out. Basically, it's what Collins wished she was capable of...or so the geek at the book store told me.

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  4. Kelly, Ender's Game is more than one series, and they do best in the right order. When you read Card it helps to know he is Mormon. I am not sure about the literary value, but I found the thematic elements interesting. I have not reread them, but I would.

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