I'm never quite sure what to do about the books I start but for one reason or another don't finish. I don't feel it's fair to say a book is good or bad when I haven't read it all the way through, so I've decided to list them here with a sentence or two about why I wasn't motivated to keep reading to the end. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and other readers may think these books are wonderful.
The Last Supper - A Summer in Italy by Rachel Cusk
I got about a quarter of the way through this one and decided this is the wrong time to read it. I love the genre and she's an excellent writer, but it's going to take more effort than I can give it right now. You know those times when there's almost more going on in your real life than you can handle so you need an easy read with a story that will take you away? Yeah, that's where I am. I'm going to keep this book though because I suspect I would really enjoy it another time. Rachel Cusk writes intelligently and lyrically about a wonderful country; maybe at another time I'll be able to give it the attention it deserves.
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
Great cover and title, and good reviews, but I was so bored I just couldn't keep going. I was hoping for a story about
olive growing and was hoping to learn something about it, but in this
book the olive groves are only the wallpaper in front of which the story
plays out. There was nothing in the writing that made me want to keep
going, I never got interested in the characters and the story didn't
seem to be going anywhere. And that was halfway through the book, so it
was time to move on.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
a great title and such good reviews. I was hoping for something along
the lines of Cold Comfort Farm. It was not to be. Right from the first I
didn't like the main character, then I got to the masturbation scene. I
stopped there and decided to drop it, but I talked myself into trying
one more chapter. It didn't help. I wasn't enjoying it, I didn't like
the characters, the language, the setting or the storyline. Life (at
least mine at this point) is too short to read books you don't like so
I'm moving on.
The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
Too. Much. Swearing. It actually became boring.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
liked some of the characters but when I got to the third rather
detailed sex scene I decided to skip this one. He's a good writer
though, and I loved his earlier book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in
the Night Time".
Watching The English by Kate Fox
read reviews that said this was a funny look at the idiosyncrasies of
"Britishness". I read maybe 30 pages and didn't find it funny at all. It
is a very detailed look at what makes the British unique, written by a
serious social anthropologist. Very detailed. The details have details. I
was bored and decided to move on. It's very thorough and well written
though if you want to give it a try. You might like it.
Ulysses by James Joyce
I've wondered for a long time what all the fuss was about and now I
know. And I am unimpressed. This is one of the most ridiculous things
I've ever seen. I realize it's considered art by some, but I'm not one
of them. I started out ready for anything and keeping an open mind, but
the sheer foolishness of it finally got to me. I read over half of it,
and by that time I swear I could hear the authour laughing at me. At
that point I was reading just for the sake of personal vanity; I wanted
to be among those who could say they'd finished it. I finally stopped
before losing all respect for myself and I hope never to pick it up
again. I may read something else by Joyce some day; I think he could
tell a good story. His writing ability comes through at times in spite
of the cartoonish made-up words and pretentious drivel, but you'll never
convince me he thought this book was art. Any enterprising individual
can write gibberish, keep it obscure to befuddle the masses and round up
a few "smart" people to call it art; the rest of us will accept it as
art that we simply lack sufficient literary sophistication to
appreciate. It's mind boggling conceit on their part and inexplicable
submission on ours. Enough!
who is there who anything of some significance has apprehended but is
conscious that that exterior splendour may be the surface of a
downwardtending lutulent reality or on the contrary anyone so is there
unilluminated as not to perceive that as no nature's boon can contend
against the bounty of increase so it behoves every most just citizen to
become the exhortator and admonisher of his semblables and to tremble
lest what had in the past been by the nation excellently commenced might
be in the future not with similar excellence accomplished if an
inverecund habit shall have gradually traduced the honourable by
ancestors transmittedcustoms to that thither of profundity that that one
was audacious excessively who would have the hardihood to rise
affirming that no more odious offence can for anyone be than to
oblivious neglect to consign that evangel simultaneously command and
promise which on all mortals with prophecy of abundance or with
diminution's menace that exalted of reiteratedly procreating function
ever irrevocably enjoined?".
I rest my case.
The Push and The Pull by Darryl Whetter
I'm beginning to wonder if this page of unfinished books is such a good
idea. I find I don't like admitting to giving up on a book. I know it's
not a failure on my part as a reader; it's simply a matter of personal
taste. We will never all be interested in all books. I'll
keep telling myself that. I only got about 15 pages into this one before
I realized I wasn't the slightest bit interested in the story, I didn't
like the language (the writing/the swearing) and I wasn't responding to
the characters. Even the setting, which alone has carried me through
some books, left me cold. Also, I am in a place where I want some
simple good stories about simple good people. I've been reading a lot of
angst in the past few months, war, hardship, tragedy, moral conundrums
and death, and I need a break. I want a mental holiday and this book
doesn't fit anywhere into that plan. So I'm off to look for a 'comfort'
In The Beauty Of The Lilies by John Updike
I found the book slow. It was my first experience with Updike, and I will try another eventually. There are a lot of good things written about his books so I'll try again to see if I can get out of them what others seem to.
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I found this book to be very, very dark. It was a fascinating story but it delved into a level of darkness that I am not comfortable with so I decided not to finish it.
Shanghai by David Rotenberg
I read only a few pages of this thick paperback. I'm not sure why I didn't like it; I can only say that I think it's more of a man's book. What I read of the characters and setting didn't appeal to me but I think my father would have read it. He was an avid reader of mysteries and....well....books like Shanghai.
Island Walkers by John Bemrose
I am a lover of islands so any book with "Island" in the title tempts me and I seldom resist. Unfortunately it didn't deliver what I expected and I just couldn't get into it.