One of my favourite bits of cracking open a new book is being swept up in the story and carried along on an enjoyable ride to the end. Sometimes there are hiccups and it can be hard to get into, or get back into but generally, being a fairly easy to please reader, I go quite well. However, one recent reading experience left me pondering what to do when the author goes somewhere you don’t particularly want to go? It was nothing bad, just something I don’t have a lot of interest in reading and it went on for 95 pages, in fact the first 95 pages of the book. Now, I believe, that this is quite a lot of pages to devote to a character (male, vampire) having a tantrum about sex (m-on-m) that he wasn’t getting. Some readers will no doubt be nodding and know exactly who the author is. Later on this character does have his wishes met, in a kind of bee-dee-ess-em way (which again had me thinking if I really wanted to read this I’d seek it out on the internet) and what do you do when the author basically says like my characters, then you have to like where I take them? This book is about number 15 or so in a series which I have read most of and it was always heavy on the sex (in some cases extraordinarily so) only out done by the “OMG what sort of person am I?” agonising that went on (yes I am starting to wonder why I have bothered to read so many of them too) but in between that lots of interesting stuff about vampires, raising the dead, were-animals and so on. So I guess it was that that I stuck it out for. But now, I’m not sure that I really want to venture any further into the murky recesses of this author’s mind. I don’t want to know, really, what is imagination and what’s not. I don’t give a fig if she does it, I just don’t want to read about it.
And it seems that this dissatisfaction with The Author [eta ~in general, not the author mentioned above specifically] is a bit of a mini-meme around the internets at the moment. Thirdcat talks about how she disliked ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Frantzen and Deborah has this great quote by Elaine Morgan on her Friday Feminist post:
The longer I went on reading his own books about himself, the more I longed to find a volume that would begin: ‘When the first ancestor of the human race descended from the trees, she had not yet developed the mighty brain that was to distinguish her so sharply from all other species…’
So, how long do you go on reading and how do you know it’s time to give up? Have you ever been back and found reading the same book you gave up on a completely different experience? Is life too short to be reading bad books? And the question I really want to answer is why is this bugging me so much?
ETA: Hi, my name is Mindy and I read trashy books by L.K. Hamilton. Mostly I’m talking about the A Blake series which are very interesting when she’s doing her necromancer stuff, not so good when she is angsting endlessly about how many partners she has had. Or when someone is in danger and needs help and she’s too busy fighting with Richard about sex to actually do anything useful until it’s almost too late.