TSS: Cheating, and New Books

sunsalon1This week, for the first time ever, I thought about cheating on reading a book. You see, I am supposed to read Three Cups of Tea for my book club this Tuesday, and I’ve read a scant thirty pages. Someone else in the group had seen a show about Greg Mortenson on the BBC (and therefore does not plan to read the book herself), and on Friday afternoon I found myself cruising the Internet, looking for a streaming version of the show. Usually I would never cheat on a book—I would either read it or not read it and confess. But with this one…well, I think the conversation could be quite interesting, but do I really need to read about it to join the conversation? But then again, it is a book club. And I admit—I thought about cheating on last month’s book, Twilight, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie. No. (Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to read the book, either, but that’s another story.)

No matter. I couldn’t find the video—although I did find a slew of interview clips and articles on this site—and I told myself that it was a sign that I should not cheat. I should try to read the book over the weekend. Problem: we had a couple of parties to attend, and I have my “novel” to work on, so I haven’t managed to pick up the book. I have decided to read the articles and watch the clips. I may still read the book, but not by Tuesday.

What about you out there? Have you ever cheated on reading a book for a book club?

So remember my stacks of books from last week? Well, I got three more books in the mail last week. Here’s what I added to the pile:
lacunaThe Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. A review copy from Harper Collins. I’ve already read a few reviews of this, and it sounds like it’s going to be a great read.

My Antonia (Oxford World’s Classics), by Willa Cather. This has been on my TBR list as long as I can remember. I won this lovely Oxford Classics edition through a giveaway on dovegreyreader.

The Next Queen of Heaven, by Gregory Maguire. Through the Concord Free Press. I gave to NPR as my charity, and when I’ve finished the book, I must pass it on to another lucky reader. Will it be you?

As for challenges, I finished another book, Postcards from the Edge, so I will soldier forth this week with ZZ Packer’s collection, and then move on to the final two books on my list for 9 for ’09, The Red Tent and Norwegian Wood. When I’ve finished those, I move on to those wonderful, tempting stacks of books. Half the fun of reading is all the possibility between those covers, no?

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9 comments

  1. I’ve always been dedicated about not only reading, but finishing book club books, but after reading a terrible book a couple of months ago that I knew was terrible by around page 30, I’ve decided to start applying my 50-page/10 -percent rule to book club books. (I read at least 50 pages or 10 percent of a book, whichever is greater, before I give up.) I’m thinking that’ll be enought o give me something to talk about. (And I’d fess up to not finishing, my group is pretty understanding about that.)

    On Three Cups of Tea, I liked learning about the project, but found the book to be overlong and a little flat. Reading about the project would be just as worthwhile, IMO.

  2. I’ve never cheated on my book club books. I will, however, not finish books for book club if I don’t like them. I always give them a fair shake, but if I find the writing really awful or there’s some reason I can’t continue on with a book, I figure that I can always share those feelings with people in my book club and it could still lead to interesting discussion.

  3. I either read the book or don’t. I either am interested enough to read it, or so not interested that I don’t even want to watch the movie.

  4. I didn’t even read Sparknotes for school books in high school- the idea of “cheating” on reading a book is blasphemy to me 😉

  5. I admit to cheating on books a few times in college. (I still haven’t read Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native all the way through!)

    I have some friends who’ve raved about Three Cups of Tea, and others who found it hard going.

  6. Sagan, I also never read Cliff Notes (which must be the same thing) when I was in school. What’s funny is that a lot of times, those things have errors in them. When I was teaching at university, we could always tell when students had used the Cliff Notes, because they would invariably have some wrong information in their essays. 🙂

  7. Becca, in college I definitely read everything. The further I got into graduate school, the more I realized I could not read everything, so I generally read as best I could to keep up with discussion and focused primarily on reading (and re-reading) the books I knew I was going to write papers about.

    We had the book club last night, and the women who had finished the book said it was interesting, but that it did seem to drag through the middle. For me, I guess it really came down to the fact that I had other books I preferred to read.

  8. I absoluetely despised Three Cups of Tea, so I’d say don’t bother. It’s so poorly written and Greg comes across as rather ridiculous, if you ask me. But do find about the project: it’s very inspiring! Or got to bookclub and learn about it that way.

  9. Rebecca, my book club was last Tuesday, and interestingly, only one person (out of seven) finished the book. The person who picked it only read half of it, and the rest of us relied on articles and so on. Interesting, though: the people who got further into the book also said that they didn’t care for the writing, and it made them not want to keep reading.

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