See over on the left where it says I'm currently reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra (unless you're using google reader)? That's kind of a lie. Truth is, I'm completely failing at reading it, and it might be time to give up. I took a break to read Ta-Nehisi's last book club book (What this Cruel War was Over...it was decent), and the most recent Sookie Stackhouse book, which I've already mentioned. I powered through another 10 or 15 pages of it, trying to regain some kind of rhythm, or at least push myself through. It's not really working though. I have absolutely no desire to read it and no sense that I'm really getting anything out of it.
This is kind of a big admission for me. Reading difficult material is something that I would generally claim that I'm fairly good at. It's not just a comprehension thing, but a mindset. I always felt like one of my advantages in school is that I would keep reading even when 50-70% of the information was going over my head (or the entire book was in French or Russian and only a small fraction was making any sense to me at all). You'd be amazed how valuable understanding 30% of something can be if you don't give up in the first few pages. Of course, you have to pair that with humility...you need to be careful about using something you've read as evidence when you know you didn't understand it completely. Maybe I don't always do that as well as I should. I think there is a place in the world for imperfect knowledge though, and I see my ability to navigate that place as one of my strengths.
I can't really even identify the 30% that I'm picking up from Zarathustra though, or the ten percent, or the five percent. I feel like I'm picking up about as much as I would sounding out words in Finnish. Part of it is that I'm not putting as much effort into as I could. I couldn't read Hume on the bus, but I made a point of finding quiet time at home to concentrate on it because I really wanted to understand it. I'm just not excited enough about Zarathustra to do that...I am reading at home, but not under the kind of "try to talk to me and die" conditions that I might make for another book. More like "hey is that a distraction? yay a distraction!!!" Apparently I have some scholarly cover on this, even the prologue to the book mentions that it's not always highly regarded by Nietzsche-ists, so that cuts into my motivation even more. But mostly, it just seems like it's time to give up. And find something else to read. I'm not really sure what yet...Ta-Nehisi & Matt Yglesias have both mentioned some interesting sounding books lately, but then again maybe I need to branch out. Also, George R.R. Martin book is coming out in a month or so...am I actually going to have to pay money for that?
Anyways, there you have it.