Monday, July 4, 2011

Musing Monday...Surrender Is Your Only Option

This week’s musing (courtesy of the BookCrazy Yahoo! group) asks…

Below is a link to an NPR discussion about the simple fact that there’s no way you can read, see and experience all the things that are available to be experienced. The two methods for dealing with it are culling (i.e., cutting out certain genres that don’t interest you, etc.) or surrender (i.e., just making peace with the facts and enjoying what you can in the time that you have).

So, do you cull, or do you surrender? Or do you do both

As they say in the interview, I assume that I, like most people, practice a mix of the two. You know one of my favorite sayings, "So many books, so little time." It is rather shocking if you think about..and since it is Musing Monday that seems appropriate, to think about it. There are thousands..thousands of books...published every years. Add to that the books that have been published in past years,tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and heck that is a LOT of books. In fact,  I came across an actual figure "How many books have ever been published in all of modern history? According to Google’s advanced algorithms, the answer is nearly 130 million books, or 129,864,880, to be exact." Divide that by how many you can read in a year,a hundred, two hundred,times the number of years you will live and what can you possible read? Let's be generous. Let's figure you read 200 books a year and you read for 80 years. That would only be 16000 books out of 130 million! So you must figure out some way to be selective.

Of course, I, like just about everyone, has favorite,go-to, genres. I love mysteries, suspense, thrillers. It is not the only thing I read,but it does make up a fair proportion of my reading matter in any year. I enjoy them, they entertain me and I make no apology for it. But I also totally agree with a point they make in this interview. What I think is important is that you don't hold a hostile opinion of genres that might not be your favorites. I think it is important to not get up on your high horse and think "Oh fiction is better than now fiction" or "Fiction is a waste of time" or "I would never never read science fiction or's all junk"
No, I think there are good and bad books in every genre and while we have to cull down to what we will pick to read in some way, don't get too rigid or you might miss some great, enjoyable books along the way.

Ultimately though, I think, you have to just surrender to the idea that it is a hopeless task. So many little time. An excellent reason you should not waste you time on a book that you are not really enjoying.

But of course, it does not only apply to books.
Think about it.
There are billion of people in the world. Some of them, many of them, may be fascinating people...and there is no chance in the world you will ever meet them. There are so many places in the world that would be great to see, and chances are you and I will only experience a handful of them. I am never going to see the top of Mount Everest or dive to the bottom of the ocean. I am never going to Mars. If I am lucky enough to see a couple of new places a year for the rest of my life like I was this year, going to Venice and Greece and Turkey, still I will only see a couple of dozen, at most, in the rest of my life.

Really, most of us live very limited lives. We live in the same house every day, we interact with the same small group of people, our family, friends, the people at work. We do the same things over and over, punctuated by the occasional new experience. Compare that with all the stuff out there in the world, all the things you will never know, never do, never see or hear...We are the first group of people in time to have that hit home even harder by the existence of the Internet. The Internet make us even more aware of all the possibilities out there, possibilities that, at best, we might read a tiny bit about but never really experience. It is all right out there for the taking...if only we had the time. Millions of books we could be reading in seconds, picture of places we will never see in person, ideas we will never have the chance to understand...It just goes on and on. It could drive you mad!

I find medication helps.
You must surrender!

Art is long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  1. Great post. I'm a mixture of both, too. My answer is here

  2. Great post! I surrender, too. New follower. :)

    Jessica @

  3. Love that your answer is so informative and thought provoking!
    Here’s My Musing

  4. I vote we add a couple extra hours to every day. There's never enough time!

    Here's mine

  5. Hah! I've been waiting to use this word: it's all torschlusspanik, which is German for (roughly) "fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages." Very sad!

  6. Great topic and answer, Caite! This is one reason I would rather read than clean. Wow, rhapsodyinbooks, that is some word- I love it. I really feel it now at my age although I can't say I "fear" it, I'm resigned to that's just the way it is.

  7. again, it is all about use in getting all upset about things you can not 24 hours in a day and the fact that we are all getting older..every day.

  8. Yep, I've pretty much accepted that I'll never be able to read all the books that I want to read. By the way, I still want to hear your Northern Ireland story.

  9. LOL...Great post. Well stated except you didn't name the medication that will solve this disorder.

  10. Medication helps sometimes if you have OCD like me. Still part me is hopeful that I will read them all one day. That more crazyness though. ;->

  11. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Great musing! It does sometimes make me feel sad and often restless to think of all the things I would never see or get to experience. The world is so big and our lives are too short. But thanks to the internet I get at least a taste of the wider world. Otherwise I would live and die an unknown entity. So, I am thankful for it.

  12. I don't think there are any genres in particular of which I think actual ill; I think the romance genre is a little silly, and have never enjoyed dystopian -- but I don't find them to be "a waste," really. Just not my cuppa tea. I try to keep an open mind, though, and reading blogs (as well as writing for my own) helps me do just that. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and happy reading!


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