It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for Carnivalesque: Our Travelling Blog Show! There’s a topic question and five of us give our take on it. Then we open up the comment section to continue the discussion and invite you to join in! Sounds like fun, right? So come join Janet, Hayley, Joanne, Jana, and I on stage and let’s the discussion begin. Jana and Hayley are on their way to a spring writing retreat and will try and join in. Here’s hoping you get lots of writing done, gals!
What is the one book you wanted to love but couldn’t finish or couldn’t like?
~ Jana ~
When I was in a book club a few years ago, one of the selections was “The House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III. I read half to three quarters of the book, but I couldn’t go on. Please don’t misunderstand; this is a wonderfully written book with believable, flawed characters and I pulled for all of them. Both of the main characters needed to own the house in question. But as I continued to read, I just knew this wasn’t going to end well, and I couldn’t go on. When I attended the book club meeting, I got the Reader’s Digest version of the ending and my fears were confirmed. I think almost everybody dies in the end. Given the story, this was the inevitable conclusion. But I didn’t want to go there.
I’ve had similar experiences with other books. If I get that horrible feeling that the ending is going to be depressing, sad or somebody’s going to die, sometimes I just can’t go on. I know every story can’t have a happy ending, but I reserve the right to pick and choose the endings I want to hear.
~ Joanne ~
I suppose the one book I wanted to love was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. At the time, I wanted to read some of the classics, so I asked for it for Christmas. I started the novel with high hopes, and read probably 100 pages, but I just got bored. I’m afraid I am afflicted with the same problem as the rest of the world right now: the need for instant gratification. I have precious few minutes for leisure time, and so I find myself demanding a lot from my leisure activities. If I’m not immediately hooked and constantly entertained, forget it.
~ Janet ~
Life of Pi – everyone said it was the best book ever. Everyone said I had to read it. The reviews were amazing. But there was no way I could get through that book with that tiger and that boy! No.Way. I’m a firm believer in abandoning books – even taught my students in elementary school to do it (yes, there’s an art to doing it that needs to be taught – there needs to be a reason you can’t continue…besides, if I gave them that out without the lessons behind it, some of them would never have read a complete book). Life is too short and there are too many books out there that I want to read to waste precious time on stuff that just isn’t doing it for me! But, when people recommend a book with such enthusiasm, I feel the need to go beyond my Page 50 Rule hoping that things will pick up, the story will get better. Life of Pi did not! I can suspend all kinds of belief when it comes to fiction – for that book, I could not. I still get “The Look” when I tell people I couldn’t finish Life of Pi – you know the one where surprise, awe and disbelief are all rolled into one glare? Someone has suggested I go back and try again…um…NO! Again, too many books, not enough time. I guess I should be used to “The Look” by now as I’m constantly given ‘it’ when I tell people I read the last page (sometimes chapter) first. Hey, to each her own – for some The Life of Pi was all that and a bag of chips, for me…meh!
~ Karyn ~
My pick is…wait for it…Wuthering Heights. OMGosh, I know! I’m going to hell. Even Edward and Bella have read it. And my apologies to Emily Bronte. I’m reading Jane Eyre this summer! Does that make up for it. Oh wait, that’s the other sister, Charlotte. I admit I tried to read it many years ago, maybe now I’d have more success. Back then I was confused from the first Chapter onwards. I was impatient to read about this great love story between Heathcliff and Catherine and instead got this crazy narration style point of view from some Lockwood fellow. Obviously, I had no idea what this book was really about! Heathcliff was not only unlikeable but nasty, Catherine doesn’t make an appearance, and it soon became apparent that it was going to be depressing from beginning to end. Not my kind of book. Is it crazy that I still want to finish it?
I’ve read many books for book club that I would never have picked and some I’d have preferred not to finish. If you don’t finish the book you get penalized and have to pay the pot ten dollars. I don’t know about you, but if you’ve already paid for the book, that extra ten bucks hurts! Plus you don’t get to complain about the book. Kinda like voting and politics. But here I am anyway, complaining about a book I haven’t read. I guess I’m going to have to choose Wuthering Heights as one of my book club picks so I can say I’ve read it.
~ Hayley ~
More than any book I’ve ever ranted about or given up on, one book frustrated and disappointed me the most…but I don’t like spreading bad book karma so I prefer not to name names. Suffice it to say, I wanted SO badly to like this book, and I tried SO hard to make it work, but I just…
I thought the premise was intriguing. I was so ready to like the protagonist, and for a while, I really did like her. Then everything kind of went sideways, but I didn’t notice it at first. I kept reading along. I started complaining a bit to a friend who’d been reading the book as well. I kept plodding on. The story got worse, the plot got ridiculous, the situations got excessive and offensive and condoned things I just do not want to read any character deciding is okay, and all her compelling character traits just went right out the window for me. I read every last blessed word of that damn book, and I tried SO hard to like it, to find something to redeem the whole atrocious/dull mess that was the bulk of it, but right to the final sentence it just left me fuming and eviscerating it, and every time I get talking about it I go on a rant — oh look I’ve done it again.
Bad writing doesn’t tick me off. Horrible characters or awful situations don’t tick me off. This book had promise, and it was supposed to be better, and everyone I knew loved it, and I gave that damn book so many chances. If I’d gone in planning to rip it apart or have a laugh, maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter.