Saturday, October 3, 2009

Letting go of a baaaad book....

Okay, fellow bibliophiles... at what point do you let go of a book you are not enjoying (read: LOATHING).  Are you the type that HAS to finish every single book you read no matter HOW torturous?  Or are you able to, say, half or a quarter of the way through slam the book shut in disgust and tear it to shreds?  Or maybe that's just me.  (cough)  ANYway, recently I went into a Chapters (shock and awe all around) and a book literally flew into my hands and dragged me to the counter and under duress I bought the thing.  I had no particular hope for it being good or bad, maybe due to it's inherant bossiness, but I was kind of hoping that it would, at the very least, be NOT JAW SPLITTINGLY DULL.

The offender in my tirade is a book called, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson.  I am almost half way through, and to be frank, pretty much nothing has really happened thus far.  Mikael (our hero) is under indictment and set to go to jail for slandering a big time Swedish industrialist, but while waiting to carry out his sentence he is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate a decades old mystery in the dissappearance of his beloved neice Harriet.  The opening of the book is what had me intrigued.  Henrik (an 80 something year old man) recieves another single bloom on his birthday.  It is framed as are all of the others.  Each flower showing up anonymously on his birthday every single year for the last 40 plus years.  Sounds interesting, right?  WRONG.  This is basically where the story loses all intrigue and nuance for me. After this tantilizing tidbit NOTHING seems to HAPPEN.   Now, it should be said here that I didn't HATE the book, far from it, as I was reading it I was actually silently rooting for it. "Come on, Dragon!  Get better!"  Around each preverbial corner I was waiting to get grabbed with interest.  I wanted to really LIKE Blomkvist, and I didn't DISLIKE him, I just had no feelings for him whatsoever.  Kinda tough when the book is essentially ABOUT HIM.  Sigh.

So, yesterday I sat down to try to plow through the thing and I sat there and looked at it for a few minutes.  You know what I mean.  You sit and stare at a book and have a kind of inner dialogue with yourself:  will it get any better?  I hate to give up on it, the author put so much work into it... I have already put "x" amount of hours reading the thing... what if it really DOES get better and I miss out on a really really great read?  And then it starts to slide into:  but it is so painfully BORING... and why do I CARE about the pages and pages of geneology like it is a book from the bible with the pages and pages of "this Vanger" beget  "that Vanger" and so on and so on.  And then eventually I say to myself, "Self?  My life is too short to read super boring books!"  And that's that.  So I put it on my to-give-away shelf and I will never ever look at it again. 

Thankfully this has only happened a few times.  And I am actually grateful that I CAN put a book away if I am really not enjoying it after I have given it a serious effort. 

Soooo, what about you guys?  CAN you put a book down?  And DOES this particular book get any more exciting?  In my curiousness I googled reviews of Larsson's book and found pretty much a consistant conclusion that other than an exciting bit in the middle the book pretty much is as it is.... unfortunately fairly dull.  I have heard, though, that the second book "The Girl Who Played with Fire" is significantly better, but I may just put my name on the list at the library.

Now I am reading "Hugh and Bess" by Susan Higginbotham and halfway through I am LOVING it!!!!  I mean serious LOVE.  Like I-can't-put-it-down kind of love. 

Love.

Did I mention that I loved it?

Likely I'll finish it by the end of the weekend and I'll have a review for it next week. 

Have a GREAT Saturday!

9 Blabs:

Michele said...

I can put a book "away" at any time. I have no problem with it. I always give it an honest try, but if it sucks, well... it just sucks.
Same way with movies, can walk out with no regrets.

I thought about picking that one up the other day, but decided to wait and see what you thought first... was gonna email you about it, then "Poof" here it is.

Once again, you have saved me from literary boredom. Thank you, thank you!!!

Love you, Love the blog, love your writing style. YOU ROCK!!!
Michele

Lisa said...

Yeah, me too with movies! Like "The English Patient". Despite everybody and their dog telling us we had to LOOOVE it, Regan and I walked out of the theatre about half way through. WALKED OUT, I SAY! Then we saw the Seinfeld episode where Elaine when pushed to sit thru the movie a SECOND time by Mr. Petermen screams, "I HATE IT! JUST QUIT TELLING YOUR STUPID STORY IN THE DESERT AND DIE ALREADY!!! DIE!!!" Needless to say we felt vindicated. Smug even. See? ELAINE didn't like it!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I used to feel like I have to finish a book I didn't like but now my list is so long that I give myself 100 pages (which sounds like a lot but...) and if it doesn't grab me then I drop it.
There are some that I know that I'm not in the mood for and may come back to but then the others I know are just bad and I won't like them any time.

deborah said...

I feel your pain. I always think that I should give a book a fair chance and keep ploughing through. Sometimes I convince myself that the book will get better...then I kick myself for wasting time finishing it!
:)

Marg said...

I find it incredibly difficult to put a book down unfinished. I feel guilt, and then I wonder if maybe I should have given it a bit longer, or maybe I should retry!

I actually liked this book a lot, so we have different opinions there, but I did thoroughly enjoy Hugh and Bess too!

Diane said...

The older I get, the less I tolerate a bad book. IMO...life is just too short to waste time on some book you don't care about. I tend to make exceptions with authors I've loved in the past--hoping that maybe there is something...a killer ending etc that I might miss if I don't finish. But, that too rarely happens.

Let it go :)

Alita said...

I have a really hard time putting down a book, no matter how dull it is. I keep hoping that it will get better and that the ending will be so wonderful it will make up for the rest of the book. Yes, I can be delusional.

However, earlier this year I did send a book back to the library only half read. That was because I hated the main character. I couldn't relate to her whatsoever and couldn't understand any of her actions (mainly, (graphically) sleeping with random guys to get over someone that I didn't understand her attraction to in the first place). After I put it down, I thought I would regret it and would wonder how it ended. Did that happen? Nope. When I realized I didn't care what happened to the character I knew I made the right choice in not finishing it.

Whew, it's good to get that off my chest! Don't worry, it's okay to put down a book if all you can think is "Why am I wasting my time with this?" Glad you found a book that you are enjoying! Did you say something about loving it?

Anna said...

I just stopped reading a dull book and posted about it on Friday (Nella Last's Peace), but I'm thinking it might have been the mood I was in.

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Hugh and Bess. I loved that book.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Carol said...

I have trouble putting down a book. I'm always hoping it'll get better. And once in a while, it actually does.

I liked Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by the way. I remember getting caught up in it and just reading for like four hours one afternoon wihtout even noticing the time passing.

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