Tuesday, 22 September 2009

#BookFAIL

I have suffered two cases of #BookFAIL this week and this has surprised me somewhat. (By the way, do you like my Twitter-esque title? I've never used it before today.) As I've explained before, I have a hangup and finishing every book I start. On rare occasions, this hasn't been possible. A friend of mine says she won't persist with a book that she's not enjoying. She argues that there are so many millions of other books in the world that she doesn't have time to read (but wants to) and could be reading instead of something that doesn't work for her. I can see her point, but ...

My most spectacular case of #BookFAIL was with The Hobbit. While Peter Jackson was still concentrating on The Frighteners (1996), I was told that JRR Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy were some of the best books every written. Gosh, that's pretty high praise! I sought out the prequel to the trilogy and attempted to read it while my class were themselves engaged in silent reading.

#BookFAIL. Not being particularly enraptured by the fantasy genre to begin with, I tried to stick it out, thinking that it would get better and I'd come to see what everyone else already loved. Besides, there would be not one but three opportunities to prolong this wonderful reading experience once I got through this initial book. And, apparently the trilogy is even better than the prequel.

I got to the chapter entitled "Flies and Spiders" three times before finally giving up; I simply couldn't see the point of continuing. #BookFAIL. (The same goes for the movie series: I saw The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), couldn't believe how it ended, and shamefully haven't seen the next two movies. Yes, I know I live in Wellington and that they are spectacular, blah blah blah.)

This week, I eagerly began reading The Last Concubine by Lesley Downer. I'd seen this novel in bookstores and was really pleased to find it in my local library. Set in 1861 Japan, it's appears to be the kind of epic drama that I usually enjoy. This is Downer's first foray into fiction after writing a number of non-fiction works. She is very knowledgeable about her subject; this is clear. However, I struggled through the lengthy descriptions in first twenty pages which, I feel, prevented any sense of narrative developing. I searched online for reviews and blog posts about the book; most echoed how I was feeling, but few waxed lyrical about the novel itself. I pursued for another twenty pages but don't think I can continue. I'm disappointed to say: #BookFAIL.

To tide me over to my next library visit, I picked up a "light read" from a pile of books I have borrowed and occasionally enjoy dipping into. Sheila O'Flanagan is an Irish author who has been recommended to me by two people who have enjoyed her novels. Two chapters into one of her books and here I am again at #BookFAIL. Twice in one week - that's a record for me!

Have you had any major reading disappointments? Does it bother you if you don't finish a book you've started? Have you experienced #BookFAIL recently?

7 comments:

Kellee said...

I'm seriously suffering #BookFAIL at the moment. Since starting my list, I was really on a good roll reading a book a month. Until in May I started on Dirt Music by Tim Winton, & despite really trying to get into it as its a prize winner...sorry #BookFAIL...& I haven't touched another since, mostly due my head wanting to finish first before I start another, but my stomach simply wont allow it.

Kelly said...

Oh I am just like you and have a compulsion to finish every book I start, no matter how dire it is.

No #bookfails of late but very nearly gave up on "To Love Honour and Betray - til divorce do us part" by Kathy Lette the other week. This one just grated on me but I persevered (not sure I am better for it but oh well!)

Corien said...

I had the exact same problem with the Tolkien series, started with the Hobbit, and quickly ended about 3 chapters into the Hobbit as well. Never read the rest, never saw the movies.

I used to finish every book, but now I go by "there are too many good books to keep on reading a bad one".

Donna said...

I'm right there! Let's see there is #bookFAIL while trying to read 101 Things to Do Before you Diet. I'm sorry she lost me after "Buy a Corset" and then #bookFAIL when I started on Water for Elephants.

Café Chick said...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is coming dangerously close to #BookFAIL. I'm still about halfway through, more than one year after I started reading it. I will finish it because it is the last book in a series I have greatly enjoyed over the past ten years. However, if this were not the case, I doubt whether it would have made it this far.

Donna said...

Keep at it! Harry is worth it once you get past the first part!

Crawfish Boil said...

Ohh yes. I am currently experiencing #BookFAIL with The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom.. A friend recommended it, and while I found it atrocious, it wasn't in a good way. I closed the book and felt confused and slightly violated. Not one I will pick up again...