Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Books I couldn't finish
Yesterday I confessed to putting aside a book I started but couldn't finish. As recent as two years ago, that would have been unusual for me; I used to finish every book, even one that I was tempted to throw at the wall multiple times. But giving up half way has become a more common occurrence these days. I don't know if it's a trend for me or if I'm becoming intolerant and critical in my old age.
Here are some reasons for the few books I put down midway recently:
Gorgeous, lyrical writing that leaves me contented just to bask in the language. The story unfolds slowly, breaking my heart bit by bit. I couldn't finish because some of the descriptions come too close to home, not necessarily in the actual events but in the characters' emotions. Will pick it up again when I'm feeling more robust.
International bestseller. Cool protagonist. Supposedly an intricate mystery but my mind wandered repeatedly.
Also internationally well-received. Narrator has a way of describing his setting and social situations in a way I can relate to even though the actual cultural setting is foreign to me. But as I read, I discovered that I liked the narrator less and less. It's not that I don't like flawed characters; I love 'em because they're real. But for me to go along for the ride, I need to find at least some little bit of the character that I, if not like, then at least understand or can somehow relate to. Maybe if I can get over that particular prejudice I have against the narrator, I may read it again because I do like the writing and am intrigued so far by his view of the social/human condition.