It’s happened again! After several months on the library waiting list, it was finally, finally my turn to get my hands on the book I had heard so much about: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was so excited! I had heard so many good things. That it was one of the great works of contemporary literature. Moving. Award-winning. Incredibly done.
But I had also heard that I was going to need to take my time, and not just because it’s 720 pages long. I heard the content was sad and dark and hard to experience in extended doses. Which I am okay with. But my library waitlist is not.
That’s the problem with the system. Because this book is new and popular, I am 1 of a 100 people on the waiting list for it. There are a few copies in the system, but every copy can be checked out for 3 weeks. 3 weeks is NOT enough time to read a complex, emotionally fraught, 700+ page novel. But it is long enough, times 100 people, the mean it’s going to be a long time before it comes around to my turn again.
Recognizing at the outset that it was an exercise in futility, I started reading it anyway. And really liking it. But it was due two days ago. I still have it. And I’m 60 cents poorer for it. And not even halfway done. Not even a quarter done.
Good problems to have. A good book I’m sad to give up. Other eager readers waiting in the wings. But unless these other Yanagihara-reading hopefuls have nothing to do in their designated 3 weeks, or don’t mind paying pretty damn near the cost of the book in late fees, none of them are going to finish it in their first, or even second time around. That’s frustrating.
I just need to add it to my personal library, my own private copy. There are other great titles that fit this mold. I just need to bite the bullet and do it. Sorry I didn’t finish you, A Little Life. Hopefully I will figure out a good compromise soon.