I love to read. I love to be in the middle of a good story – one where it is impossible to put down and you still find yourself reading it long after you should be asleep. I can read a book like that in less than a week.

I get most of my books from the library these days. If I am going to be done with it in a week, why buy the book? If I read a book review or a friend recommends a book, I go to my library’s website and put it on hold. I have a least a half dozen books on hold right now.

The other day, after just finishing another book, I got an email from the library. One of the books I put on hold was available. The next day, I ran over there to pick it up. It was “One Day”, by David Nicholls. I had seen the book at Barnes and Noble and made a mental note to put it on hold at the library. It got a lot of good reviews. The movie had just come out and I wasn’t sure if I would see the movie before I got a chance to read the book.

I almost never read the book AND see the movie. If I do, I usually read the book first. The book is always better. The movie characters almost never look like I had pictured them and the movies usually leave out a lot of details.

I’m not big on books on CD either. I love the idea of them. I can’t tell you how many times I would love someone to read out loud from the book I can’t put down so I can get some work done. I have the kind of job where I can listen to the radio or a talk show. Why not a book? I tried it a few times and HATED it. Maybe I had the wrong book. Maybe I would have hated the story even if I was reading it.

I hate books where the author fills it with too many fluffy details. Tell me that they are up watching a beautiful sunrise. That is usually enough for me. I have seen a beautiful sunrise and I can picture it. You don’t have to fill paragraphs describing the sunrise. That bores me. Unless the sunrise is a main part of the book, you do not need to spend more than a sentence or two telling me about it. Two is probably too much. When I am reading a book, I can skip over that fluff. If I am listening to someone else read it, I am stuck listening to the reader going on and on about the damn sunrise to the point where I don’t remember what we were talking about before the sun came up.

Back to “One Day”. I was thrilled to get one of the books I put on hold. If there is a long waiting list for a book, I take that as a sign that it is good. The book is about a couple that hook up on the night of their college graduation. For whatever reason, they decide to remain friends, despite the fact that they have nothing in common. I thought this was going to be like the play, “Same Time Next Year”, where the characters are having a long affair. They meet at a resort the same weekend each year and tell each other how their life has changed over the past year. In “One Day”, Nicholls shows a glimpse of his characters’ lives every year on that same day, although they are not together. The chapter includes a letter from one of them (they are penpals – at least as far as I got) and a brief introduction of additional characters. Dex and Em, the main characters, are annoying and not very deep. It was way too busy and honestly, not interesting enough for me to read. I was only 50 pages into the book when I returned it to the library – my library receipt still holding the place where I left off.

I usually trudge through uninteresting books, waiting for them to get better. I assume that if it got published, it must be a good story. Sadly, I have finished several poorly written books, with weak characters and no plot. I hope that the ending will somehow help the book redeem itself, but it never does. I simply close the book and mumble about what a waste of my time that was and how the tree they used to make the book would have been better off as a an issue of The Enquirer.

My friend, Nancy, has told me a few times in recent months how life is too short to do things that you don’t enjoy. I have offered her books that I have read and after hearing what the story line is, she will politely pass. I have watched her say no to parties, dinners, and outings that don’t interest her or that will not work with her schedule. She is not offended if everyone else goes. She doesn’t have some hidden agenda about not participating with her friends or family. It just doesn’t interest her, so she doesn’t want to do it. I have taken that to heart in many parts of my life, but only recently started closing books that were not worthy of my time.

Many women still need permission to say no. These same women can be, if you can excuse the term, ball busters for a lot of things, but saying no to the simple stuff is still their weakness. So here it is. You have permission to say no today – Close a worthless book, decline an invitation, and return a gift that you will never use. Find something that is worthy of your time and you will be a lot happier.