Have You Finished That Book Yet?

Portrait of a Woman (Portrait de femme)

  • Have you heard of the Hawking Index?

It’s an attempt at an estimate of how far into bestsellers people read, and it’s named after A Brief History of Time, apparently one of the least-finished books ever written.

I’ve recently read suffered through a book by an acclaimed contemporary author, whose earlier novel I found very interesting. The experience got me thinking, and I’m not alone.

“…you should stop reading when…you aren’t impressed, lulled, entertained, lightened, depressed, remoulded, whatever you go to books for.”

— Tom Lamont, Observer writer

When I started the book I’m referring to I felt it was not my kind of read pretty much from the very beginning: it was doing nothing for me. I didn’t want to quit, though, and kept thinking, what if the next page, chapter…brings some kind of revelation?

“…if you give up on a book the minute you don’t like a character, twig a plot development, see quite where the author’s going with it all, have a sudden yen for a game of Candy Crush – then you’re going to miss out.”

— Alex Clark, writer and literary critic

The revelation never happened. I finished the book, and I felt two things: relief, because I was finally done with it, and regret, because I could have spent my time differently. Not once since I closed the book have I thought about the story, the characters…

Should all books be read from cover to cover? What say you?

Image: Paul Cézanne. Portrait of a Woman (Portrait de femme), c. 1898. Oil on canvas, Overall: 36 3/4 x 28 7/8 in. (93.3 x 73.3 cm). BF164. Public Domain.

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How’s your February, Kids?

Tasha and Kolya, Nino

Kids, busy living,
have no use for our
big grownup words —
they know a better way
(the best there is)
to spend this precious hour,
so bite your tongue
and let them fly away.

Let them be children,
though it will not last.
Just let them be.
They’re in that magic place
where time is stalled—
no future yet, no past—
just happy now
shines on the old clock’s face.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2013 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Marc Chagall. The Promenade (La promenade).

HAPPY

I’ve no weight, I’m a kite,
Fly me high, hold on tight,
Don’t let go of my hand,
Bye-bye, land!

Keep your feet on the ground,
Planet Earth’s small and round,
With its oceans and all,
Like a ball.

Limitations disperse,
You are my universe,
Standing firmly, and bound
To the ground.

I am air, I am light,
I am day, I am night,
Watch me how I go whee!
Fly with me?

Burning bright, burning clear,
From this world disappear
In the blink of an eye
You and I.

 

© 2013 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: Marc Chagall, The Promenade (La Promenade) 1917-18; displayed under Fair Use.

Submission Alerts for Poets and Writers

Fruit and Bonbonnière

  • Are you a poet residing in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Michigan?

Submit your previously unpublished book-length collection for a chance to win The Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry.

The prize awards $10,000, publication by Milkweed Editions, and other cool things.

Deadline: February 15, 2019.

  • Are you a writer with a track record of publishing creative writing in the UK or Ireland?

Don’t miss your chance to win £30,000 (!)

Submit your writing to The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award — the world’s richest and most prestigious prize for a single short story.

Deadline: February 15, 2019.

Good luck!

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Fruit and Bonbonnière, c. 1915–1917. Oil on canvas, Overall: 9 7/16 x 12 5/8 in. (24 x 32 cm). BF39. Public Domain.