Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm annoyed with myself. I just finished reading Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks and it was a colossal waste of time.
The book sounded good : a story of an English village which was struck by the Plague in 1662 and how the inhabitants dealt with the year they voluntarily cut themselves off from everyone to prevent the spread of the Plague. The book is based on fact and certainly had all the prerequisites of a ripping good story, but the writing was awful, the storyline totally unbelievable and the reactions of the characters were much too modern for the 17th century.
But that's not why I'm annoyed. I resent the fact that I felt compelled to finish the book , even though it was obvious a little way in that there wasn't much substance to it and the writer confused archaic language with 17th century thought and reactions. Why is it that I feel unable to abandon a patently or sometimes marginally awful book ? There are so many wonderful books out there, that you shouldn't feel compelled to spend time with the losers.
What do you do when you realize a book is not doing it for you ? Soldier on in the hopes it will pick up ? Abandon without guilt ? Is there a point of no return - do you finish a book when you have read more than half or three quarters even though it's not getting any better ?

1 comment:

4 Ranges, RKC said...

This is seriously one of my WORST pet peeves. This is also why I rarely read novels: if I'm let down, I'm furious for days.

This is also why when I read novels, I only go with the champs: Joyce, Dostoyevsky, Maugham, Kerouac, etc.

You have my sympathy G. A bad movie you can smell a mile away, and it's easy to turn away from. A bad book...hard to give up on. Even if the writing is lousy, sometimes we talk ourselves into continuing.