I read a book!

Here's how.

As a follow up to Saturday’s missive — I finished a book yesterday!

It was Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga and I read it for the #ReadTheWorld21 challenge. February’s theme was East/South Africa, and I was very excited to learn that given I already had Triangulum on my shelf. I checked it out from the library approximately a year ago, before lockdown, and CPL has been rolling renewals throughout the pandemic.

Several times while reading I thought “I’m not smart enough for this book.” (At least one other Goodreads reviewer had the same reaction.) Triangulum is a science fiction book that traces fifty years in South Africa, from the end of apartheid to a new future. The book is a collection of recordings, journal entries, and memories. There were many pieces and I wasn’t totally sure how to fit them all together. As soon as I finished I was googling reviews and scanning the Goodreads page to try to determine what the hell I just consumed.

I don’t think I will rate the book, because I didn’t feel like I had the cultural context to understand much of it — it is a book deeply embedded in the history of South Africa, and there were many references and organizations I didn’t know how to interpret. I’m not going to ding a book because I’m not the intended audience.

Separately, though, the book was set up as a huge payoff — the prologue is a researcher explaining the urgency of releasing this manuscript to the public, a matter of Earth’s fate — and we never really get there.

How did I finish this book, after lamenting I could no longer read?

  • It was part of a challenge I felt obligated to complete, so my enjoyment of the book wasn’t a factor.

  • I sat down and determined to read it. At a certain point, I told myself I would read until I finished it.

  • I thought about how happy I would feel after I finished, how accomplished I would feel and how excited I would be to share my thoughts on the book with my Instagram community.

I’ve been reconsidering visualization as a productivity technique. Right now my thoughts are “this sucks right now, but you will feel soooo good when it’s done.” Sometimes it’s hard to spin that; will I really feel good after I do this task? I don’t always know, but I can surmise that I will have a sense of accomplishment and feel like I didn’t waste my day. And that’s enough for right now.

Take care,