Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Letting Go on "The Guardian"

A copy of my post on "The Guardian" blog about books I've left and let go:

I struggled through and finally gave up on Jared Diamond's "Collapse." I loved "Gun, Germs, and Steel" but I found "Collapse" entirely too dry. It seems as if Diamond made absolutely no attempt to interest his readers in what, at least in theory, should have been a compelling subject. Also, sigh, I never finished "War and Peace." One day I will though. I loved Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre." It's on my top ten list, in fact. But I was absolutely unable to make it through "Villette." I absolutely hated "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Freidman and left it unfinished with no regrets. Also never finished Nick Hornby's "How to Be Good." I love Hornby as a critic but I have my reservations about his novels. And finally "Love in the Time in Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Prose was great, subject (unrequited love for a woman who absolutely doesn't deserve it) wasn't.

That's all I can think of so far but I'm sure there's more. My only defense is that I've finished plenty more than I've given up on and it always leaves me feeling a little defeated when I just have to move on, which I think is a good thing.

And here's the response I got from Carefree:

Blimey, LitChild [that's me], I loved Collapse by Jared Diamond, and I'm usually a strictly fiction reader, but I've always been fascinated by the myths of Easter Island and the Viking sagas, so I devoured this - and subsequently leant to a friend about a year ago and desperate to get it back so I can read it again one day!

On an off-topic note, I think EVERYONE should read Collapse to try and get some historical perspective on what we're doing to the planet. And then act on it - it was an inspirational read for me.

Blimey?! Ha, ha! Oh, you gotta love those Brits. But come on, surely, despite its noble purpose, I wasn't the only one who couldn't wade through Collapse.

Oh, You Lazy Reader, You

Alright, I admit it. I haven’t been reading as much as I should be, or even as much as I’d like to. I’ve just been so darn tired lately. As soon as I get off work, all I want to do sleep. Even on the weekends when I have absolutely no commitment to be anywhere else other than in my apartment all I want is sleep. This past Saturday I did manage to clean and wash clothes and stay awake long enough to see “300" (it’s what you’d expect if you don’t expect too much) but Sunday passed in a narcoleptic haze. I couldn’t stay awake even when I tried, and I did try.

Of course, now I’m beginning to feel the symptoms of reading withdrawal plus I’m getting incredibly behind. It’s also taking me an incredibly long time to finish anything, even for me. Even I know I’ve been working on the same four books for entirely too long. So I’ve promised myself to put some pep back into my biblioaddict step. So, my friends, inspired by The Guardian’s list of unfinished books (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/), I’ve decided that there are a few books on my own reading list that I just need to let go of. The two that will be biting the dust this week are David Eggars’ You Shall Know Our Velocity and Michael Chabon’s McSweeny’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales.

You Shall Know Our Velocity wasn’t a bad book but I found it entirely too depressing. If I want to feel that depressed, I’ll throw myself off a cliff. As for Chabon’s Mammoth Treasury, well let’s just say, I didn’t find the tales very thrilling at all. The concept, like that of Collapse, was great but the execution was underwhelming. I won’t toss it into my Bookmooch pile yet but it’s going on the waiting list.