April 25, 2017

So many books and so little time

I'd like to talk about a few books that I've picked up and ultimately decided not to finish. For most of our lives, we are told to always finish what we've started. This message is especially hammered into our heads by teachers who tell us that what we read will be used on exams or on papers. I think this is why it has been difficult for me as an adult reader to let go of guilt when I decide that a book isn't right for me. Maybe the book isn't written with me as the reader in mind. Perhaps I had expectations of the book that weren't being met. However, I think the biggest reason why I put down books (and this is what's happened to me recently) is that I wasn't in the mood for them. That's it. There's a chance (pretty slim in some cases) that years down the line I'll grab these books and devour them. There's also the chance that I'll never feel any level of interest in them. And that's okay, ya'll.

Let's talk about some of the books I've recently sampled and ultimately quit. The first one really cut me to the quick because I had waited nearly a year for it to become available at the library. The book in question was Justine by Lawrence Durrell (Yes, it is that Lawrence mentioned by Gerald.). It is maybe the most pretentious, misogynstic book I have ever had the displeasure of holding in my hands. I don't care that it was written before these things were called out. Ugh, I hated it. I made it until part 2 and then I rather happily quit reading any further. The second was Watership Down by Richard Adams. This book came highly recommended to me especially in light of how much I enjoyed Moletown which uses animals to discuss social changes in society. I got about 75 pages in and found that I was looking for anything and everything to do except pick it up and read it. There was nothing inherently wrong with the book. The writing was done well, the characters were diverse, and the storyline was unique. I just didn't have any interest whatsoever.

What's always annoying is when you highly anticipate a book and then it falls disappointingly flat. That's what happened with The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle. This promised to be a highly interesting science fiction novel about a group of people who are chosen to conduct an elite ecological experiment. The goal of the experiment is to see if it's possible to recreate these conditions off-planet and survive. I read 150 pages of this hoping that it would turn around from being overly sexualized, inane chatter about the people hoping to be chosen for the experiment. That didn't happen. I wanted high level sci-fi and I got tawdry romance instead. *crying piteously* That leads us to the fourth book and most recent: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which was translated by Lucia Graves from the original Spanish. This was another recommended read (these are always the hardest to let go because you feel obligated) and so I really did try quite hard to get through it. As some of you may know, I'm not a fan of explicit sex scenes in books because I don't see their point. In this book, there's one very near to the beginning and it involves an 11 year old. That was the warning bell. The inherent mystery of the book didn't feel overly complicated to me and because the writer kept harping on sex (it seemed overly gratuitous to me) I lost interst very quickly. I don't even think I made it 75 pages in before I ultimately gave up the ghost. (I looked up the synopsis afterward and I was right about the mystery's solution so I don't feel overly guilty about quitting this one to be honest.)

This has been a rather strange reading year thus far for me. I've reached about halfway to my personal reading goal and yet it feels like I haven't read that much. I think a large part of that are these books which I diddle daddle over because ultimately they hold no interest for me. Meanwhile, I'm wasting time with these non-starters when there are literally hundreds of thousands of other books out there just waiting to be enjoyed. That's the key right there. Why feel guilty over a book that doesn't strike your fancy when there are SO many books in existence? The biggest takeaway is to HAVE FUN. I hope you guys are having a great week and I'll be back on Friday with a review of a book that I did enjoy. XD

**If you're interested in buying this book or any books really, you can click here or here. The first will re-direct you to AbeBooks and the second will re-direct you to The Book Depository. These are great websites for purchasing books (AbeBooks carries inexpensive used and out-of-print books and The Book Depository ships free everywhere in the world). Full disclosure: I will receive a commission on all sales made by following either of these links. I wouldn't recommend a site that I didn't use and you are under no obligation to purchase anything. :-) **

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