I’m giving up on my Blindfold Challenge.

My wife reads a lot, and one of the things she said when she put down Walt Whitman was, “Why should I force myself to read something I don’t want to read, especially if I don’t have to read it”. Recently, one of my coworkers said he was especially proud of himself for developing the ability to put down a book he’s not interested in anymore.

I’ve decided to follow suit, but doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything, or that the Blindfold Challenge hasn’t been valuable. In fact, it’s been extremely valuable, and it’s done a lot to help me shape my tastes.

  1. I learned that I don’t like romance novels, Christian romance, teen romance, or any of the literature that is stereotypically targeted at women. Also, women, do what you can to change this stereotype, so that less of that garbage gets published.
  2. I learned that even if I have a full plate, and more books to read than I can handle, I will make time to read social science books that look interesting. I’ve picked up and postponed at least 4 social science books during the Blindfold Challenge, and I read Whistling Vivaldi, which was phenomenal.
  3. I learned that I don’t enjoy philosophy.
  4. I reaffirmed that I don’t know French.
  5. I learned that if I can read 100 pages in French, I can read 100 pages in English that I don’t understand.
  6. I learned that I will probably never get all the way through a Louis L’Amour novel, despite what I said above.

Most of all, and this is the point that I was kind of trying to make in the first place, I learned that browsing is a really effective way to find new books that nobody else knows about but are really good. I found myself peeking and cheating as I chose books recently, and just a quick glance at the shelves at Pioneer Book was enough to find something that might be interesting.

So I’m back to reading whatever I want to read, and loving it. I’ve got a pile of books that have all been translated to English from foreign languages. I’ll start reviewing those as soon as I’ve read a few.

Books I read but never reviewed.

Kon-Tiki: Amazing adventure story of a Norwegian man who gets a crew of 6 men to float on a balsa raft from the coast of Peru to the Polynesian Islands. True story, fascinating read.

The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Mediocre history of a biography of a boring person.

Pike’s Peak: Literally a book about the mountain, Pike’s Peak.