Take Time with ‘The Goldfinch’

By Joe McKenzie Ι April 15, 2016

Here is a personal confession. I often leave one book for another. Or start The Goldfinch book coverreading a good book, find another, start it, and maybe add a third. It can make it hard to finish on time. But, I do like to find myself in the middle of an excellent read. I had the chance to get a running start at reading “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. This story has 771 pages. What was she thinking? That’s the size of 2 or 3 normal books for me, a slow reader. And, 700+ pages is like a small mountain at first and requires a dedicated start and steady progress. I had to ignore other books, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and my dog. My wife was busy sewing curtains for a baby’s nursery, so she was glad I was out of the way. Well, a little unskilled ironing was required. But, I knocked out a slow 247 pages over the weekend.

I read silently with expression, including pauses, sometimes even the unwritten reactions of the characters who are listening, like me. Do you catch yourself doing that? I’m sure you picture the room or hear the unwritten sounds of a busy street. Good writers paint most of a picture and leave slow readers like me the time and space to fill in the rest. “The Goldfinch” has wonderful images to distract me. And, it slows the process down. But, what’s the hurry?

Well, the due date for one. Be sure you are aware of the library options for renewing your books.

Catalog Screenshot with Renew Options

The copy of “The Goldfinch” that I am reading has been borrowed 29 other times in the past 18 months. That’s pretty steady. Think of the time people gave to reading this book. And, if many of those readers have an imagination, they probably read a slightly different story than I am reading. I like that possibility. Same words, different viewpoint. If I wanted to listen to it, it would take just 32.5 hours over 26 discs. That’s convenient, but less fun — for me.

Of course, it’s an incredible tale and that makes the time, if not go fast, worth it. And, it allows no time for a second book to be read concurrently. Or a third.