Why We Don't Read the Books That We Buy


I wonder why I have no free time, no peace of mind, very little expendable income and live in a state of confused delirium.

I figured it out: I buy way too many books -- all with the intention of reading them avidly, underlining the highlights and becoming the most enlightened person on this earth. Not to mention the most enticing and sought after conversationalist.

OK, my aim is a little lofty, I admit, but I've got a lot of space for self-improvement and I'm all about filling those huge and embarrassing gaps in my knowledge base.

Books nesting on my family room credenza that I am hoping to read, currently reading or hoping one day to finish are:

Sue Grafton's newest novel, X. I have the entire series, beginning with A is for Alibi. In spite of that, with this book, I stopped at page 62 -- which doesn't say much about the compelling content. But I had to buy it to continue completing the whole set. A little compulsive, perhaps?

Ditto for a little book called Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last. If I did, I'd be broke, obese and saturated in wine. Or a few good margaritas.

My selections are heavy on inspiration. That should tip me off right there on how far from the ideal existence I have strayed.

Brene Brown's book Rising Strong - What It Takes To Get Back Up After We Fail is simply terrific, but unfinished too. My bookmark is stuck on page 141.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, an oldie from 1999. I could not resist the thick colorful pages and whimsical drawings. And, I do relate to her message: I love myself (maybe too much) and I do recognize prosperity. In fact, I'd like a little more of it myself.

Imagine the Life You'd Love to Live, Then Live It... that book has lots of WTF phrases in thick black magic marker strokes in the margins, penned by me with a vengeance. It may have something to do with the subtitle: 52 inspired habits and playful prompts. Really? I will add it to the list of other 52 annoying things I should be doing.

The Doctor Is In by the infamous and famous Dr. Ruth: So far the only thing I have read is the back cover... and what back cover doesn't sound fascinating? Here's a snippet: "Learn to deal with tragedy and loss, challenges and success, all while nourishing an intellectual and emotional spark, and above all, having fun!"

The Joy of Half a Cookie : touted as helping me to forget willpower, guilt and deprivation. Love every bite. Tap into my body's fullness signals. Tee hee. Who are they kidding?

I am very proud to say I am not all fluff. One book in the stack is actually about professional development: Ted Talks' The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking. I know that book well. It's the perfect size for steadying my hand while I apply a quick coat of nail polish.

Orchids for Dummies: Did I mention my grandfather was a florist? I was too busy ogling the boys on Saturday afternoons at the mall than hanging out at his flower shop to learn a few tricks of flower care and cultivation.

Undaunted, I'm still determined to broaden my horizons with Humans of New York, truly extraordinary storytelling by photojournalist Brandon Stanton. As a treat, I limit myself to only a few stories at a time so my enjoyment has a long shelf life.

One day in a foul mood, I impulsively purchased Why Am I Still Depressed? Discovering the Causes of Your Agitation, Anxiety, and Other Mood Problems. I can answer the cause of my distress without even cracking the cover. I don't finish one thing I start. Maybe I should return the book?

What can I surmise from this list? What can I surmise from my inability to consistently read what I purchase?

That I am a woman who is compulsive, neurotic, never satisfied, too curious for her own good, scattered, out of touch with realistic expectations, impulsive, and in need of a good therapist


That I am a woman who is curious, engaged, thoughtful, seeking and fun loving, who gets up every day with joy, zest and boundless energy to once again savor what this vast world is offering

Obviously I prefer the latter conclusion.

Happy Reading.

If you want more information about Iris's forthcoming book Tales of a Bulimic Baby Boomer, or to sign up for her weekly newsletter, visit www.irisruthpastor.com or follow her on Twitter @IrisRuthPastor.

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