Free week here at 4F, 1H and I have been trying to figure out where all my reading time had gone, and finding out that I may be wasting the time I now have.
Waiting for grandkids gave me a lot of reading time. Waiting outside of school, in carpool lines, at bus stops, at soccer fields gave me loads of time, but I am doing much less of that now.
Waiting in doctors’ offices gave me a long time to read. I carry big purses that books or a reader can slide into, but my medical people, especially those in my GP’s office, have been quite good lately about getting me in and out. Even the lab in the building never makes me wait long any more.
With the kids not around much and fewer people in at all, my daily housework has been cut, I have had time to do long-term cleaning and am still in the decluttering battle, but with certain energy/joint limitations, the only upside is that I have more time to read.
I often read YA and have mentioned that my grandson and I recommend books to each other. I picked up an interesting one some time back at the perpetual sale at my local library. I started to read it, and it was quite good. The hero of the book was a boy just my grandson’s age, which always helps to keep a kid interested. However, I realized that the book was the second in a series, so I put it aside and reserved the first installment from the library.
And have I been disappointed!
It contains two stories: how the boy’s unusual situation came to be, and how his stories continue, and both are complete snoozes.I have no idea why, since the premise is really good.
In the first book, both situations are drawn out and repetitive. I can often see where plots is headed, but with this one, if a kid can’t see what is happening, I don’t think the kid is ready for a chapter book!
The book has a few anachronisms, as well. It drives me crazy when a writer doesn’t do simple research. and The main story is set in the English countryside. The boy is well-traveled, but from a country on the Continent. However, the village and its way of life suggest a small American mid-west town and most of the people ‘talk’ like late 18th-early 20th century Americans. A very few characters are confusingly written with bad Cockney or Scottish accents, yet they still refer to ‘miles-per-hour’ and use other non-European phrases, with the exception of a few choice items or colors with no reference point. I had to go running to a dictionary myself to find out to what the writer was referring and I doubt any kid is going to simply not skip over the word and have no idea as to what was being mentioned, even though most clues, personalities, facial features, animals, etc., are monotonously described over and over.
I will read the second one, but I don’t know how this one was published as is, and why indeed, the author was given the chance at the second one. I am glad he was, however.
When I was young, I felt that I needed to finish a book no matter what. I still usually plod through, but do you give up on books? I have put some down that I felt the need to finish because they were written by people I knew, and forced myself through them. But a few, I simply could not, even after several tries. When I do plod through them, I scan-read.
My husband took a speed-reading course before we met. He gets through things quickly, and I can see his head move slightly, back and forth, while he reads. Fortunately, he reads non-fiction. I detest scanning or speed-reading, since I do love to savor the way a great writer creates worlds and writes in prose or even just cleverly. When you scan through and just pick up the story, you lose the writer’s style. Unfortunately, that is exactly what I wanted to do with this one, and some others.
[Do you know the Woody Allen lines: “I took a speed-reading course. I finished ‘War and Peace’ in 3 hours. It was about Russia.”? My mother, not a Woody Allen fan but a big reader and sometime writer, loved this!]
With all there is to read, and with such a long TBR or wish-list, (books in bad taste, against your principles, etc., not included), do you still stick out an annoying book to the end?
Have you read a series that you are surprised that further installments far out-shine the first book?
I think there’s only been one time when I stopped reading a book because I couldn’t handle it. The heroine had heard she was born in Texas, so when her job in urban area ended she moved to Texas, called herself Tex, and got a job on a ranch because she believed she was a “natural cowgirl.” From that ridiculous premise it got worse. I’ve discontinued reading others, but it’s usually because they’re boring, or I get wrapped up in other books, especially by people I know. I started reading a mystery that centered around members of an orchestra. Naturally, I thought I’d love it – until a scene in the second chapter showed me that the author clearly had never witnessed an actual orchestra rehearsal!
Oh, that is terrible! Why do some people insist on faking knowledge when it is so easy to find out the facts? All she had to do was go to a rehearsal and somehow found a couple of orchestra musicians to speak with, (outside of rehearsal), and she would have had it., Do the writers really think that no one knows what goes on behind the scenes? I have had several books on restaurants suggested or given to me and I go insane with the ignorance and assumptions that the writer exhibited. Don’t get me started on Boy Scouts, ethnicity, religions, regions and so many other topics where the author knew nothing of that they were writing,,,and only had to do their “homework”.
Normally, if I start a book, I’ll finish it — eventually. Sometimes a title will languish, waiting on me to return to it, however. One example: I was carrying a particular novel to my chiro appointments… and that’s the only place I read on it. So, it was getting between 10-15 minutes per month. Difficult to keep the characters straight when you dabble to such a minimal extent.
Another example of reading that lapsed were the few books I was reading before I relocated from LA to KY. Not only did I have to stop abruptly, but now I can’t even FIND the titles I was working on.
Another book with a long lapse — but I finished this one — was Michenor’s Tales of the South Pacific. I was reading that one at my Mom’s house on my daily visits. I got pretty well into it before some other book caught my eye. Well, it was a couple of years and many many other books finished before I finally got back to the Pacific. By then, I’d forgotten the names of the characters. Not too much of a problem in that particular book, because there’s a big shift in the story at about the spot where I had my long pause.
All that said, normally, I’ll finish a book that I start. Even if it’s disappointing… because (as when I watch a terrible movie sometimes) I keep thinking “it will get better”.
That was my attitude, Jeff.Unfortunately, more often than not, they don’t get better! I stick it out, also more often than not.
I have two cozy mysteries that were given to me I started while waiting for my granddaughters; They are somewhere, but that is OK; maybe I will get to them again, but I wasn’t enthralled with any part of the books, (plot, characters, style), and I had THEM confused!
I prefer to have two going depending on where I am.If I can find an anthology to take with me while I wait, all the better! One story at a time!
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My driving thought has often been: hey if this story was good enough for one of the NYC “Big Six” publishers to release it, then it MUST be good… eventually.
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I do plod along through books. A few I have given up on because they ended up being near erotica when there had been no indication of that.
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That’s why I added the part about being against your principles, etc.,Angie.Some have blind-sided me that way, too. I have also quit on books that were supposed to be about other topics,but ended up being anti-Church, anti-Christian or just slams against other religions or people.
I give up on more books than I used to. Some I stick with because I wonder where the author was going with it. But often, like Jeff said, I’m reading in short chunks and its hard to pick up on characters that I’m not really connecting with.
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Right! And, as I said about cozy mysteries, I have trouble with the plots blending together. I used to consider it a failure if I gave up, but now I realize it is sometimes simply a waste of my time to force down a book with all good things there are to read.