On Reading More Fiction

I wish I were a more avid reader of novels and short fiction. When I
walk into bookstores, I gravitate towards the shelves of nonfiction
books, where I am able to dive into particular books and size them up
quickly for their content, style, and enjoyability. When I look at the
fiction section, I am lost. I’ve recently forced myself to take up
reading a novel or two. Some weeks ago, I borrowed Anansi Boys: A Novel
from the Berkeley Public Library. I forced myself through the first two
chapters but finally decided to return the book unfinished. I didn’t
have to finish what I had started, Laura reminded me. Two weeks ago,
while browsing the new books at my church library, I decided to borrow Gilead: A Novel. Reading about Marilynne Robinson’s book in The New York Review of Books
had made me receptive to picking the book up in the first place. At
about fifty pages into the novel, I’ve decided that I would like to
push towards the end. I can’t say that I’m excited about the book;
rather, I’ve grown mildly affectionate for the narrator and now want to
see how the story turns out. As I read more fiction, maybe I’ll turn
how to more quickly size up a work. So far, I have had to withhold my
judgement, giving myself over to the author more than I would usually
do for any work of nonfiction, just to decide whether to read the whole
book. Is this an issue of commitment?