I’m currently exactly half way through Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, which weighs in at a hefty 624 pages of small type. I’m hardly complaining—I love Tartt’s writing and I picked up this book without even paying much attention the jacket copy, enamored as I was with her first novel, The Secret History. Creepy and beautifully written, both of these books are completely engrossing.
I’m not here, however, to gush about Donna Tartt several years after she’s produced anything new. No, I’m talking more about the time it’s taken me to get even this far into a book I am enjoying immensely. I don’t know the exact number of days (I know it’s more than a week), but it’s embarrassing me. Not that anyone else in the world cares how long it takes me to read anything, unless I’m on a deadline or they’re waiting for feedback, but it’s a little pet peeve of mine that I can’t shake. It might have something to do with the teasing from my family when I was growing up if I took more than two days to read anything or it might just be that I’m used to doing things quickly—though I’ve been hearing consistently, from teachers and others, since I was eleven years old that I finish my work too quickly.
Obviously, I’m busier now than I was as a child, and if I get down to it, I can read just as quickly as I was ever able to, but it still irks me. There’s no rhyme or reason, and it’s actually quite nice for a novel that’s as compelling as I’m finding this one isn’t over so soon after I start, so I really should get over myself, right? As my sixth grade teacher scolded me, once, “just because you finish first, Rachel, it doesn’t make you the best.”
I suppose the only logical excuse is that there are so many other books out there waiting to be read, and if I don’t move quickly enough, I’ll never get to them all. That’s the excuse I’ll go with, and we’ll pretend I don’t have this silly hang up. What about you? Is it all about leisure or, do you begin to feel the pressure when a book has gone on for too long?