There’s something I miss about reading only physical books. I can’t throw eBooks or audio books at the wall when I don’t like them (Well I could I guess but I’m not prepared to hurl several hundred dollars worth of gadgetry at a wall to make a juvenille point).
Although I am willing enough to stop reading a book I am not enjoying it doesn’t happen that often these days. This year there had been about 10 incidents before yesterday but as I have read over 150 books this year it’s not a bad rate (and half of them were books I tried for the Eastern European Reading Challenge which has, I admit, stumped me). But I stopped 2 books this weekend. Is it my mood I wondered? Or coincidence? And whose fault is it anyway?
The first book was a debut one by an Australian author and I picked it because it is set in my home town (partly at any rate) and is very topical. Billed as a thriller about the escape of some inmates of the one of the detention centres in which successive governments have chosen to house people who arrive on our shores seeking refuge from turmoil in their own countries I was looking forward to the book. It actually started out fairly well, introducing a few credibly Aussie characters and setting the scene for something interesting. But at page 121 (of 343) I realised absolutely nothing of interest to me had occurred. And the book was getting clunkier by the minute. Large tracts of preaching disguised poorly as exposition had started to make my blood boil by that point and so I gave up. I should point out for the record that I agree wholeheartedly with the political leanings of the novel (I am deeply ashamed of the way we treat these refugees) but, by crikey, if you must lecture me while I read at least have the decency to entertain me as well. I figured the author had definitely lost me when I realised I was only engaged by counting how many of my home town’s major roads would be named (we were up to about 11 by the time I threw in the towel as the two main charactes drove randomly all over town doing nothing that could be remotely interpreted as thrilling).
The second book I gave up on today was also Australian. Or sort of. The author has lived here for years but this book is set partly in his native South Africa, partly in England and partly (I think) in Germany. Or maybe Austria. Or somewhere else in Europe I really wasn’t sure. Which is the point. I was at 17 of 42 relatively short chapters of the audio book – so near enough to half way – when I realised I had virtually no idea what was going on. Not a clue. I had listened to the opening 3 or 4 chapters three times and had replayed other parts twice but if you held a gun at my head right now I could not give you a sensible synopsis of the plot. My non-sensible synopsis is that there were two blokes in two different story threads. One was a bodyguard who lost all his clients on one particularly bad day (which happened in the first 2 minutes) and then he went to England and made some phone calls. The other bloke had been a hostage (?) for a long time in Beirut. And he wasn’t happy. Some might say the problem is with the audio format but nearly one third of the books I read are in audio format so by now I’m a pretty good listener. The book just didn’t make much sense.
If you are a non-finisher of books do you blame yourself for not being smart enough to get the meaning? Or do you blame the author for not writing a better book? Or do you just chalk it up to chance and move on to something else? Want to share your latest non-finished book and the reason you didn’t finish it (you don’t have to name the book or author if you don’t want to).