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There are certain things that comfort me. Coffee, macaroni and cheese, my dog, and books. Paper books and e-books. I recently received a Nook as a gift from my loving husband, and giddily spend time on a weekly basis perusing the online bookshelves of Barnes and Noble. This post is not about the e-reader vs. book debate, but if you’d like to read more about that topic, click here to read a fellow blogger’s thoughts.

Books (whether paper or electronic) give me the greatest comfort of all. I love to mentally disappear into a book, getting lost for hours exploring, imagining, creating. But I have a problem. When I first received the Nook, I was e-book slap-happy, and I was crazed to download any book I could get my mouse on. My husband and I had an agreement that while adjusting to my Nook, I’d only download the free books offered. When I was better equipped to properly use the Nook, he gave me the go-ahead to purchase the regular priced books.  Now I have a large library of books I feel obligated to read. Somehow, I’ve created an emotional attachment to the books I’ve downloaded, even if I don’t intend to read The Scarlett Letter in Russian. I don’t speak Russian. Or read it.

My obligatory feelings go deeper. Once I have started a book I do not like, I cannot stop reading it. I feel the need to finish, out of respect for whom? The author? At their attempt to write a satisfying book? The characters? What if I miss something of actual interest by quitting early? The location? What if I have a connection to the location of the story?

I am currently stuck inside the world of a fictitious professor at Arizona State University, who is in a relationship with the hottest (popularity and looks) celebrity. They make out a lot. That’s it. Incredibly boring, juvenile, and repetitive. I feel like banging my Nook against my forehead every time I pick it up. I want to stop reading that book, but cannot get my finger to lightly tap “My Library”.

Maybe I’ll spend some time wandering through the online bookshelves of Barnes and Noble today. If I buy a book that really (and I mean, REALLY) grabs my attention, I might be able to quit the celeb book early, (no, I’m not going to miss anything exciting) and start over fresh.  And yes, I’ll probably feel just as obligated to finish that book, too.

Reading should be about pleasure. About time freely spent enjoying whatever book I’m currently reading. I shouldn’t feel pressured to read something I do not enjoy.

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