Labels Matter Sometimes

Having now fully recovered from the loss of my post on Monday, I’ll try to tell that story again.  Fortunately, the story is complete now.  No cliff-hangers for you.  Aren’t you relieved?!  I’m sure you would have been on the edge of your seat.

I have a little problem with assigned reading.  The labels “assigned” and “required” can take any book that I wanted to read and turn it into something I avoid like the plague.  If it’s going to be discussed in class, why read it and hear about it again later?  If it isn’t going to be talked about it in class, it must not be that important.  That reasoning served me pretty well in school settings.

A few years later, it seems that problems of your youth don’t disappear once you hit the “real world.”  Required reading is a significant part of my current job, and I still resist it with every fiber of my being.  I even get to help choose the books now, but adding that dreaded “required” label does the same old thing it did when I was 16.

Case in point: a book that I’ve been excited about reading for at least a year and a half was the very same book I was supposed to lead a discussion of today at work (love that I get to pick book club choices!).  As soon as it became an assignment, I couldn’t make myself pick it up.  Every other book on my shelf suddenly looked more appealing than that one.

I know this isn’t college.  I can’t get away with making a few semi-insightful, vague remarks in a discussion.  I have to ask the questions that lead to the insightful answers.  So I tried to read it, I really did.  Six hours after the book club meeting, I’m still 65 pages away from the end of the book.  I did read the last 5 pages this morning, however.  I had to know whether it was Miss Scarlet in the observatory with the candlestick or Professor Plum in the hall with the rope. It’s a mystery book club, and you can’t really discuss the mystery if you don’t know what happens in the end.

And how’s this for a twist ending?!  Totally to my surprise, the last pages of the book reveal that the main character is in fact married to his daughter.  When he figures that out, he promptly jumps out a window.  After digesting that for a few minutes, it’s on to the assignments for next month.  Books to read: 2.  Pages of both books read so far: 7.

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