It’s hard not to get emotional about today’s achievement. All I wanted was to sit on my bed, keep reading, keep pushing, and give this book everything I had. And to make it to that last page—sorry, I’m just catching my breath—is an amazing feeling.
I didn’t know if I had it in me. When I started this book and saw how long it was, I thought, Whoa, I’m not sure I have enough gas in the tank. But I just tried to get in the zone and finish it, because my book-club meeting is this Sunday and I didn’t want to disappoint the gals.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past. There have been times when I’ve got to the end of a page, realized that I had no idea what was happening, and kept reading anyway. In those instances, when I was called upon to share thoughts at book club, I fell short.
This time, I tried to stay focussed and keep my head in the reading game. At the same time, I wanted to pace myself. So, after each chapter, I took breaks to check Instagram, the Times app, and my e-mail. Occasionally, I’d open my spam folder, in case anything interesting ended up in there by accident.
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One night, I put my bookmark in and realized that I was at the halfway point. That motivated me to keep going. I kept doing that bookmark-checking thing each time I completed a chapter. Little by little, the distance between my bookmark and the last page got smaller, and I could feel that the end of the book was near.
By the final chapter, I was hitting a wall, but I told myself that it was the home stretch, and that, when I finished, I would be prepared for the book-club meeting. That was enough to get me to the end. After I read the acknowledgments section, I fell to my knees, tore off my sweatshirt, and swung it around. What sweet release.
Weather conditions certainly helped. It was raining pretty hard some days, so all I could do was stay inside and harness my strength to power through those pages.
My book-club members have supported me on this journey as well. We’ve sustained injuries, like creaky joints from some intense sitting. I’ve experienced wrist strain because I’ve been lifting the book off my bedside table and putting it back down, over and over again. There were nights I read so hard, I fell asleep. Those were actually most nights. But I added stretching to my routine, and my book-club buddies encouraged me to keep pressing forward by sending gifs of cats wearing reading glasses to our group text thread.
It’s an honor to have completed this book with my book club by my side. I think that everyone in the club finished the book before I did, but I’m honestly just glad to have made it to the end. Without these ladies, I don’t think I’d even be reading historical fiction and would probably spend all my time perusing my spam folder.
Sure, I’ve got room to improve—I still could read more before bed—but I’m super happy. My performance with this book tells me that I’m tough and can close out my book-club books if I read the hardest I can. And today’s finish gives me so much momentum going into that next book, which I believe my book-club mates and I will be deciding on any moment now.
But I want to take things one page at a time and enjoy this tremendous feeling. It’s special to share these victories with the folks in my book club on Sundays, and, the next time someone at work asks me what I’ve been up to, I can say, “I’ve finished my book for book club, and I’m proud.”
It’s been an incredible day.