I blame Toy Story for my guilt about mistreating inanimate objects. I use the term mistreat lightly. You see, like toys that have not been played with, I feel like if I abandon a book midway, that it will spend the rest of its bookish life crying on my shelf, or crying in a second hand book store. I don't know if I could have that on my conscience.
I know I've talked before about how I have to finish a book once I start it, unless I just can't. Which is a rare occurrence. I actually admire people who can stop reading a book because they just didn't like the story.
I suppose I shouldn't feel guilty over not finishing a book that I don't like, it's not like it's required that I like every book that I begin. And yet I can't shake that childhood belief that the book will miss me and wish it had been read the whole way through.
There's nothing more sad than seeing something abandoned. There is a beautiful book by Tarquin Blake, called Abandoned Mansions of Ireland. It uses photography to show the ruins of old (and not quite so old) Irish mansions. I love to look through the images and imagine what they looked like at the height of their glory. Something about seeing the great fall is kind of tragic I think. And I'd hate to think of my bookshelf like that, like the hallowed halls of a once richly furnished house.
I think if I look on it more like a quest it would help. See, I like to think of my bookshelf, not as a housing for my books, but as a universe in which thousands of worlds exist. And if I catch myself sailing towards an area that I don't want to explore, I should be able to turn my wheel and move on to a new adventure. Right? I mean, if I were on a literal ship I would turn away from dangerous harbours, or look for the most beautiful spots to disembark on, why should my fictional coastline be any different?
Though there are some books that I'm glad I've never finished, I'm glad I was able to break from my OCD and shut the book and sell it. Some things I just don't want to go there.
I suppose every universe will have its abandoned corners. The areas that are neglected amidst the brightly lit, frequently visited worlds. Is that always a bad thing? It adds just a dash of mystery.