Monday, 26 December 2016

I Can't Read!

The Internet has no shortage of embarrassing confessionals and I’ll throw another one on the pile - in the past two years I have been only able to finish reading two books. Two! At first I was going to make this blog post a year ago, but then I decided to wait and report on how promising 2016 was. The promise never materialized. I wasn’t able to come back and say “Well, 2015 sucked for reading, but I made up for it in 2016!” 2016 was just a “don’t” kind of year in so many ways!

My trusty Kobo confirmed that I had given 2016 a pretty good shot, but the number of unfinished books kept piling up. I used to be proud of sticking through to a book until the end, even if I didn't like it. But hey, what if a book I didn't like was keeping me from a book that I do like? Hmmm! Anyway, here are five books that I gave up on last year:

The Perfect Order of Things, David Gilmour
Canadians often find themselves with a conundrum - consuming the media of too many other countries and not supporting homegrown talent. I bought this book because it appeared on a list of award winning Canadian authors, but I just couldn’t get into the talky style of the narrator.

Maddadam, Margaret Atwood
After breathlessly reading the first two books and much patient waiting for the Maddadam, I bailed right in the middle. I can pinpoint the exact phrase that made me hit the home button: At first Zeb thought Chuck was gay and was about to start some trouser nuzzling, but it wasn’t that.

Trouser nuzzling? Zeb is one of the most interesting characters in the series and his back story fell terribly flat and felt out of of sync with the book up to that point. I may go back and skip over this part so I can find out how the story ends.

The Princess Bride, William Goldman
I watched the movie years ago but didn't understand why it was so popular. Maybe the book would change my mind - but again I just couldn't get into the talky style.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1), Stieg Larsson
I bought the eBook bundle on sale in 2014 but haven't watched the movies. The premise was interesting and totally up my alley - but I found it too clinical and couldn't go on after Chapter 5. Perhaps it was a problem with the English translation?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louise Stevenson
Just to prove it's not a case of modern literature not floating my boat, I reluctantly add this classic to the list. Classic books are free from Project Gutenberg, so at least I didn't have to feel bad about spending money. That's the trouble with eBooks - you can't give 'em away, trade 'em away or sell 'em away! My first surprise was that this was a story by Robert Louis Stevenson and I was impressed with how much of the story I didn't know. I almost finished this one too - but bailed on the lengthy confession letter at the end. Readers and watchers are pretty sophisticated these days and don't need everything explained to them - but a hundred or so years ago I'm sure it kept readers on the edge of their seats!

Will 2017 be better? Dare I have hope? At least I can hope to have good intentions :-D