Sunday, 20 July 2014

Books I couldn't finish for various reasons.

If you follow me on Instagram you've definitely seen some serious stacks of library books come and go lately. I don't know why I got back on borrowing physical library books, I guess just because I take so much pleasure in browsing the stacks. It's like shopping for ideas.

Anyway I've read some good and I've read some bad. Sometimes I'll just straight up judge a book by its cover. Sometimes I'll choose a book because the title sounds good or I'll remember hearing something about it somewhere, or I liked something else the author has written. It's very hit and miss.

And this post is about the misses.

Here are some books I've started and totally hated, and quit, recently:

The Burnt Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen

In nearly every summary of this book I've read it's described as "poetic", which is probably why I didn't care for it. I guess it was translated from Norwegian, which could also be part of the problem. Anyway I found it extremely slow paced and boring, and quit after only two chapters.


Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

This one was the biggest disappointment of the bunch, because I really liked the story. But the writing style is CRAZY. There are hardly any paragraph breaks and the punctuation is all wrong, practically nonexistant.

Here's a small excerpt so you can understand what I'm talking about. 

He could have left the matter there, which, considering the difficulties of the situation, would have been a cause for gratitude, but the well- known impulse to urge people to keep calm about everything and nothing and to remain quietly in the fold whatever happens, this tropism which, among politicians, especially if they’re in government, has become second nature, not to say automatic or mechanical, led him to conclude the conversation in the worst possible way, As minister responsible for health, I can assure everyone listening that there is absolutely no reason for alarm, If I understand you correctly, remarked the journalist in a tone that tried hard not to appear too ironic, the fact that no one is dying is, in your view, not in the least alarming, Exactly, well, those may not have been my precise words, but, yes, that, essentially, is what I said, May I remind you, minister, that people were dying even yesterday and it would never have occurred to anyone to think that alarming, Of course not, it’s normal to die, and dying only becomes alarming when deaths multiply, during a war or an epidemic, for example, When things depart from the norm, You could put it like that, yes, But in the current situation, when, apparently, no one is prepared to die, you call on us not to be alarmed, would you not agree with me, minister, that such an appeal is, at the very least, somewhat paradoxical, It was mere force of habit, and I recognize that I shouldn’t have applied the word alarm to the current situation, So what word would you use, minister, I only ask because, as the conscientious journalist I hope I am, I always try, where possible, to use the exact term. Slightly irritated by the journalist’s insistence, the minister replied abruptly, I would use not one word, but six, And what would those be, minister, Let us not foster false hopes. This would doubtless have provided a good, honest headline for the newspaper the following day, but the editor- in- chief, having consulted his managing editor, thought it inadvisable, from the business point of view as well, to throw this bucket of icy water over the prevailing mood of enthusiasm, Let’s go for the usual headline, New Year, New Life, he said.

Yeah, that was a conversation you just read. Um. No. Like I said, disappointing. I made it around halfway through this book but had to stop, I could only do like a page and a half at a time before I got frustrated. 


Irma Voth my Miriam Toews

Holy moly this was a snoozer. I liked A Complicated Kindness by Toews, plus she's a Canadian writer which means I should have just soldiered on through because of a sense of solidarity with my canuck brethren buuuut no. I couldn't. I quit after three chapters, and was just forcing myself to read that third one. Pass.  


The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Another one I just couldn't get into. I feel like this one was also translated from another language because the cadence was choppy and the references and cultural jargon felt strange. Oh wait, I just Googled it and he's an American author. So ... what the hell, man?
Anyway there was too much action per page for me, and not enough description. I didn't care at all about any character and got lost in the "Wait, but ... why?? Where is he??? What's going on??" too many times. I quit after a couple chapters. I give it a meh out of five. 


The limit of books you can take out of the library is incredibly high and my eyes are always bigger than my reading prowess. I take out an armload when I know I realistically can only read maybe three novels in the two weeks I have before they have to be returned.
Over the past couple months I have taken out and then returned six freaking novels (Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welsh, Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, Frog Music by Emma Donogue, Inside by Alex Ohlin, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones) completely untouched, just because I ran out of time.

I will probably try and find e-pub versions to read on my Kobo Mini. It's WAY more convenient to borrow e-copies and return them on my home computer rather than actually walking down to a library location to drop off the book...I've accrued some late fees due to sheer laziness.

Are there any books you've read recently and totally hated?
Tell me in the comments so I don't waste my time.

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