Reading in Defeat

A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.
Richard M. Nixon

I quit.  I’m a reading failure.  I’m slow, distracted, and lazy.  Yes: lazy.  I surely set out towards defeat with this Summer Reading Challenge set forth by my friend Simone.  I need to back out.

Simone is already finished her third book.  I’ve finished the 50 remaining pages of my first book, one complete book, and given up on my third after 23 pages.  I’m at a pace of about 14 pages a day.  Not the 39 I need based on a completely made-up average calculation I did in my previous post.  That’s 14 a day, when I read.  More like 14 every three days…  Simone wins this round.

A reformer is one who sets forth cheerfully toward sure defeat.
Lydia M. Child

But maybe, as Lydia Child says, I’m a reformer!  I’m accepting my defeat cheerfully because I am changing my own rules.  I won’t purposefully run myself into the ground with unrealistic book-reading goals, I’ll embrace what I want to do and what I’m good at!  After all, I’m facing off against an English and Writing student, and if I top 5 books it’s all that more successful!

“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you have tried.”

I thought of this, delete all mention of the reading challenge and play deaf or dumb to whomever asked me about it, but why do that?  I can read a set number of books this summer; I’ll just do it at my own pace.  Instead of defeat, I will reinvent victory and make this my new challenge: Read 5 books, whatever the genre, by September 1st.  I say this because I recently picked up Dr. Peter Clarke’s new book, Mister Churchill’s Profession, which is the first book to look at the famous Prime Minister’s career as an author.  It is a revolutionary work of history and research if only for the fact it is the first book about focusing on the literary works of a man who won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1953)!  But it reads like a history book, so 10 pages a day on my lunch break is a pretty decent pace.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
Marilyn vos Savant

Forget that last sentence.  I have only been defeated temporarily (even though I have given up too in a sense, but not really – see above).  My success will not lie in the amount of books I read, but in the secondary element to Simone’s original challenge.  Simone wanted to write 15 poems along with her 15 books, which I adapted to 15 blog posts.  I thought this would be easy, considering I was planning on reviewing all 15 of my books, but even without those reviews I’ve already cut that challenge down to half by the beginning of June!  I am more a writer than a reader, and while I wish I read more, I must embrace this creativity and grasp the learning opportunity to practice my potential trade.  Heck, I’ll even push for 30 blog posts before September!

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”

George E. Woodberry

I have tried, and like the saying “better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all,” I count myself in the loved/trying side of that equation, the victorious failure side.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Ok…so maybe I didn’t put my full effort into this challenge, but rest easy Gandhi I am satisfied with this result.  I will enjoy my reading more without it being like school and rushing to meet a deadline.  I will also allocate my effort to my writing, photography, and networking, and when I read I will read what I want when I want.  I will embrace my love of dry, long historical volumes and I will, yes I WILL WIN my own challenge!  I will achieve satisfactory attainment at last!

I have defeated this earthworm with my words. Imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists!
Charlie Sheen

Well said, winner.  Well said.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Ben has
read 2 books toward his goal of 5 books.
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2 responses to “Reading in Defeat

  1. Pingback: Summer 2012 Book Reading Challenge: Conclusion | @befaster·

  2. Pingback: Book List Summer 2013 | @befaster·

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