To be honest, I always struggle to give up on a book. If I have gone and bought a book I do so because I want to read it. Something about the blurb on the back, the first few pages, the cover, the reviews have made me pick it. I would be doing someone, the author, the publisher, the copy editor, the bookseller (?) an injustice if I did not read it, wouldn’t I?
But, there comes a time when you have to know when to give up on a book and it is not going to work for you at that particular time or any time. And it is so that in the last few weeks I have put down two books which I know were not working for me and for one of them I committed what some people in the reading world could be a cardinal sin. More of that in a bit.
The first book, that I tried to get into was Farundell by L.R. Fredericks. The blurb on the back –
In the golden summer of 1924 Paul Asher, still shattered by the trauma of the Western Front, comes to Farundell, an idyllic country house set deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. There, he falls under the spell of the rich and eccentric Damory family: the celebrated Amazon explorer Perceval, Lord Damory, now blind and dying, whose story echoes Paul’s own strange dreams, brilliant thirteen-year-old Alice, on the cusp of adulthood and, like Paul, a seeker of knowledge and, most fatefully, the wild and beautiful Sylvie, with whom he falls passionately in love. Before summer’s end, there will be tragedy, comedy, resolution and, for Paul, a revelation that will change his life forever.
It had many of the qualities I look for in a book, the historical setting, the big house, rich characters and romance. However, it was just not to be, there was something to floaty about the book, too much of the sub conscious talking for the main character and I was just not captured by it. It was a struggle to keep turning the page to read what happened next. I put it down. I tried again but no it will remain unread and now languishes on the ‘to charity shop’ pile.
The second book and here I confess my sin – I read the end chapter after reading about 50 pages of the beginning of the book is Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella. I am not keen on Sophie Kinsella novels, I read The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic and was not moved by it, more annoyed by it and have not picked up another one. But when the publisher kindly sent through an advance copy of Wedding Night, I thought should give it a go as it was not related to the Shopaholic series of novels. I dived in and was reading and it was okay, but it was not capturing me really, I seem to be going through the motions with it. I flicked to the end pages or so and read what happens in the end. Was I surprised?. No I don’t think so. Was I disappointed? No I don’t think so. But the burning question was could I carry on reading from 50 pages in when I knew what was going to happen in the end? No I don’t think so. So this book has been placed to one side and will remain unread. I am not sure if I will read Sophie Kinsella again.
It really left me out of sorts, trying to start two books within a matter of days and not getting on with either of them. Luckily the next book I picked up got me and I am storming through it. However, it has shown me that it is not worth worrying about, although I will still continue to feel bad about starting books and not finishing them. I know I have plenty of books to be getting on with and a vast array of choices on my own shelves as well as the lovely copies that come through the post. But I recognise that perhaps life is too short too put yourself through the torture of reading a book you are not enjoying.