Friday, October 26, 2007

Booking Through Thur...Friday

Due to the fact that Snow Falling On Cedars, though shaping up to be an excellent book, is rather a long and involved read, I'll have no choice but to entertain my readership (*crickets chirp*) with a sequence of memes and introspection at random. Hey! Wait! Come back! I promise it'll be interesting! But as my cousin sagely recommends, "People should never make promises they can't promise!" Ah, the simple genius of it all. But anyway, on with the show!

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Hmmm, this question appealed to me because I tossed a book aside early this week. Like a lot of people, I used to be the sort that was rather unable to give up on a book. Then I joined BookCrossing and that all changed. I have roughly a zillion books. Rather, the total, I believe is hovering in the 900 range. Books come in a good deal faster than they seem to go out. That and I've undergone a pretty major shift in my reading preferences. I used to be wild about mysteries and horror novels and even the occasional romance. Now, literary fiction is my bread and butter, but I like to keep the others on hand as well for those many moments when I just want to breeze through something quickly. However, I've become a lot more critical of them, so if they aren't calling out to me right away when I start reading them, I usually don't hesitate to let them go. There are so many books in the house that I'm excited about reading, so if books don't grab me in pretty quick they get thrown by the wayside. I try to give everything a fair chance and try to divine when my mood is what's keeping from like a certain book rather than the book itself so I can save it to try again later. That's a few that have remained unfinished...

Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali - I dug into this one earlier this week. It didn't even last long enough for me to put it up in my Books I'm Reading thing on the sidebar. I have to admit, I read Brick Lane by the same author, and despite all its critical acclaim and the fact that I've been to Brick Lane in London (which made me all the more excited about reading it)... I found it to be kind of boring, which was so unfortunate because I thought I was going to love it. I don't know why, but I thought the premise of Alentejo Blue sounded good, and maybe I'd enjoy her sophomore effort. Not so much. I tried twice...forced myself through about 30 pages, failed to get a sense of where it was going at all and upon reading a very unpleasant scene involving a dead cow and a truck decided I'd had just about enough. I have a really hard time with stuff that is just straight out gross and if I didn't love the book to start with, I'm so much more likely to put it down after something truly unpleasant.

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles - Please don't write your books without using quotation marks when people speak. Unless your book is absolutely spectacular, I think it's a big stumbling block for readers...or maybe just for me...

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. This was a book I had to read in high school. I was always the kid who liked to read and would dutifully read all my summer reading (even if I didn't like what was chosen and was irritated at having to read something assigned during a portion of the year where I should have been allowed to read whatever I felt like...but that's another story). This is the only one I ever deliberately said, "I really can't stand this. I'm not going to finish it." and then consulted some Cliffs Notes to know the end for class. I was bored from the first page and couldn't understand the main character and his willingness/need to continually return to the ugly and self-serving Mildred (I think that was her name). He certainly was enslaved to her - as perhaps the title makes reference to - but I certainly had no interest in being enslaved to this.

The Stand by Stephen King - This falls into the category of books I didn't mean to abandon. I started reading it while on vacation, was really into it, then returned to school (or maybe I had to finish my summer reading, the cursed Of Human Bondage) and got distracted. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to get back to it I had forgotten so much of what happened I knew I would have to start it over in order to enjoy it at all. So back on the shelf it went. And there it remains.

Hmmm...well, that's all for today. Tune in tomorrow when it's possible that I'll discourse on my newfound verbosity (I'm sure you haven't noticed) and argue that it's okay to continue buying books regardless of the amount of books you already have, your total lack of funds, and the amount of friends and family members crushed by your collapsing book shelves.


  1. Enjoy 'Snow Falling on Cedars'! My dad loves that book, and I've quite enjoyed what I've heard of his audiotape.

    I was the dutiful English student, too! I have to say, though, if we didn't read 'Heart of Darkness' in class, I would've never finished it. Life's too short.

  2. I completely understand the effect bookcrossing has had on your patience with dull books, because bookmooch has had the same effect on me. Books definitely come in faster than they go out, and it's harder to stick with a book that's less than enthralling when so many other enticing reads are waiting!

  3. I completely understand the frustration of reading Of Human Bondage. Also, The Stand was disturbing on so many levels. King once commented that the whole idea of world destruction seemed rather appealing to him and was, in fact, the subject of much great literature. (man v. man, man v. himself) I can certainly understand the desire to see certain aspects of human culture destroyed, but the idea of mass destruction/death is difficult indeed.

    Thanks for the great ideas,

  4. I also understand about bookcrossing. I had a similar feeling about books when actively involved in a bookswapping group.

    Snow Falling on Cedars is great - enjoy :)

  5. Bookcrossing has also given me the freedom to release books that don't grab me right away.

  6. PS I did this meme too. Take a look at the books I've abandoned here:

  7. I'm another who has so many more books since joining bookcrossing, but also I find it easier to pass them on nowadays too