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Like a Treadmill

Musing Mondays2

What is the last book you struggled to read through to the end, even though you weren’t really enjoying it? What made you keep reading?

About two weeks ago, on top of my regular workout and yoga, I began a self-paced program called 100 pushups. The goal of the 6-week program is to achieve doing 100 pushups. The key is to do small sets of incrementing repetition to build strength and endurance over time. I fall into the middle in the diagnostic test—to do three reps of 6 to 7 pushups over 10 minutes. Anyway, this mirrors the same approach to read the recent Ex-Libris by Ross King, a historical novel set in 17th century England, just on the heels of the Cromwell upheaval and civil war. Although well-written, it’s soon after I opened the book that I realized the twists and intrigues were larger than the story itself. What little dismay that the book is no more than the author’s solicitude in background history doesn’t put me off reading it. The fascinating history, in fact, the constant conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics, Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s satellites, Spain’s colonial expansion, nautical charts and map-making—lures me to read on, but in measured portions. Somehow I get lost in reading digression in history, knowing the bottom of the so-called mystery probably won’t amount to a significance. It’s like turning up the grade on the treadmill, challenging myself to a more arduous run. The whole reading experience is like trekking briskly uphill to reach a destination that I incrementally demand better-be-worth-it with each trudging step. The history is far more engrossing than the story, and I enjoyed every moment. It’s like the treadmill: no pain, no gain.

5 Responses

  1. That’s quite a good way to get through a book that seems daunting. Good tip for a former athlete and current runner. ;O)

  2. I don’t know about the book, but I’m astounded and impressed by the whole 100 pushup thing!

  3. That’s a really good analogy!

    I’m currently reading a book that I’m dying to leave unfinished. However, I’m still sticking to it simply because my husband got it for me and I’m hoping it will prove to be worth it at the end!

  4. I won’t comment on how many (or how few) pushups I can do. 100 might as well be a million with me! As far as books, and working hard for the ultimate goal of finishing? I’m not lazy, but if it is that painful, I would probably cave before it was all over. I don’t like to work too hard.

  5. I was never any good on the treadmill – as soon as it gets too hard, I give up. With books it’s a little easier because I am already sitting or lying down, but if reading is starting to feel like pushups, then it’s definitely time for me to start skimming.

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