a little and a lot

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

That's a Deal-Breaker, Ladies

Any fellow 30 Rock fans out there?  

Speaking of deal-breakers, I have just abandoned another book without finishing it.  

I can't describe to you the emotional turmoil I feel when I abandon a book.  I am a project-finisher--I gain the most pleasure from the "ending" process of a project.  As a result, I will stay up all night with a good book just to have the pleasure of finishing the dang thing.  So when I have invested time and energy into reading a book and I decide it's not worth finishing...SUCH a disappointment.  

Here are a few of my deal-breakers over the past several years:

1. Most recently: "Netherland" :  It was hailed as a modern "Great Gatsby" and received many wonderful reviews.  I found it to be aimless and all about cricket (the sport).  Yawn.  (It does make it worse when a book is so highly reviewed/recommended--it makes me feel like something is wrong with me for not liking the book!)

2. "Searching for God Knows What" : Yeah, I kind of got the feeling he was searching for God knows what for the content of his book, because I certainly didn't get it.  This book was part of a phenomena that that involves loving the first book you read from an author and feeling like the others don't measure up.  (Loved "Blue Like Jazz")  

3. "Wuthering Heights" : I kept this in my car to read when waiting on Memphis trains.  (That time adds up, people!)  Yeah, it is not a "waiting for trains" kind of book.  What the heck is this book about?  I finally thought, "This is not assigned for school.  No one is making me read this.  Why bother?"  (Another disappointment, as I would love to be a smart person who loves classics.)

4. "Angels & Demons" : Wait, I just read "The DaVinci Code"--why am I trying to read it again?  I chalk this up to the "first book phenomenon" but Nick read it after "Davinci Code" and liked it even better, so who knows?  I will also recognize at this point that a huge factor in a person & book
 relationship is the timing...timing is everything.  Even a thriller can be boring if you are too busy to read it.

5. "A Tale of Two Cities" : Ok, I know...take me out for my public flogging.  I know so many people who absolutely love this book and tell me I would love it too (my husband included).  Perhaps this is one of those things where we were "meant to be together" but I was distracted in grad school and then it was "too intellectual" for beach reading and then I just felt burned by the whole relationship so I figured "why bother trying?"  

Tell me your deal-breaker books, friends--and please include the embarrassing ones that everyone will respond to with "WHY didn't you finish that book?  You are insane!"  Any tips on returning to or getting through a book you've been stuck with?


ashley said...

i stop reading a book when it is sad... i like fairy tail endings so when it gets too sad to handle i quit reading and make up my own ending. i do the same with movies. i didn't finish little women (that's my public flogging). i walked out of armageddon. the list goes on... on a more serious note - i didn't finish "purpose driven life"

Jane said...

I know what you mean. As an English major and lover of all words written, I feel AWFUL when I don't want to finish a book. I continue for a while and try to slog through but eventually...it has to go.

I can't remember the title...but I bought a book that sounded really good and it was awful...man, I wish I could remember the title. I've also taken them back to the bookstore when they are that bad. If it is something I'd be ashamed to have on my shelf, I will take it back or throw it away. I don't want anyone else to have to read it either! :)

Teale said...

I didn't finish "Wicked" - the book about the play (or play was about the book I think... anyway). I was really looking forward to reading it... LOVED the play, and it was just too dark and just plain WEIRD. Oh fooey.

I did like Angels & Demons, although it took me making myself sticking with it until over halfway through the book and several "huh?" moments before I was sucked in.

Lance said...

I've been trying to trudge through another Charles Dickens classic... David Copperfield... and I don't think I'm going to last much longer... I keep putting it down for weeks at a time and coming back. Maybe I should throw in the towel.

Unknown said...

umm i was reading your deal-breaker books, and numbers 2-5 YOU SHOULD FINISH ALL OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm serious! Every single one of those books! Angels & Demons is so much better than DaVinci Code and I read it 2nd. Tale of Two Cities is a spirit-compelling book with a clear portrait of the Gospel. Searching for God Knows What... just had a conversation about that book today and a major concept found in it. and Wuthering Heights...are you kidding me? I wish I could perpetually be reading that book. Sorry to be such a ______ (i dont know what) but all four of those books I am VERY passionate about and you MUST FINISH!

recently, i found myself in a book that was taking FOREVER to finish: Saturday by Ian McEwan (who wrote Atonement). I kept going and drudging through and it was awesome. The ending brought it all together.

One book i will admit I have bought but not finished (or even come close) is the Beatrix Potter biography.

But those others... YOU WILL THANK ME

Martha said...

Must... Read... A TALE OF TWO CITIES!!!!!!! Come on. It's definitely not beach material, so jump back on and read it. you MUST.

Mandi said...

I love 30 Rock... great episode! My biggest deal-breaker and maybe most embarrassing is "New Moon" from the Twilight series. I seem to do better with finishing books while I am at the lake. So maybe on your trip to Atlanta you can finish yours?!

Jesse Faris said...

Ok, Guinn girls, I KNEW you were going to have a hissy over my unfinished books. I love books too! I know they are probably really good! But that's why it kills me that I couldn't get through them. I just...couldn't!

Perhaps I need a Book Jubilee of sorts...after 7 years, I'll give a book a 2nd chance?

Unknown said...

Sounds perfect! So if i had to pick one from that list for your Jubilee that I freaked out over, it would be Tale of Two Cities. martha has said that is her favorite book, and she would also probably say that she likes to read about 1/10 of how much i do.

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

Dude, I am WITH YOU on the finishing projects thing. I (used to) sit and watch the end of a show just to see what happened cause i wouldn't give up. then I got over it and time became a valuable thing. so I totally feel you on the giving up the books lately. life is too precious to spend your head buried in the pages of mediocrity. ;) at least you're ATTEMPTING to read. I gave up on that venture months ago.

Laurel said...

Ugh, Wuthering Heights. I had to read that for school. Thank you Cliff Notes! I could not get through it, and I'll read just about anything. I also couldn't do Great Expectations. It was not great.... at all.

clay said...

i definitely agree about "wuthering heights". my feelings towards that book could only be described with one word: hate. what was she talking about in that book? it is THE definition of boring. we had to read it in high school.

i do have to disagree about "a tale of two cities". it is one of my all-time favorites. i can see, though, how it would not be everyone's cup of tea.

Jesse Faris said...

Reminder, friends, these are not books I necessarily DISLIKED. I just had to abandon them for various reasons. (And I will admit that one of the various reasons may or may not have been boredom. BUT that is different than dislike!)

Tesney said...

Twilight series. I made it through the first one but just couldn't take it anymore after that. There was no depth there for me.

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more