Friday, July 27, 2007

Abandoning Books

Lately, I've been having some reading apathy. I keep going to the library and looking for something interesting only to later return these books completely or partially unread. The past few weeks, I've dropped three books (Migrations and Other Stories, New Amsterdam and A Good and Happy Child) and am thinking of dropping another (Demian). I'm usually not this bad about book dropping, and I'm a bit frustrated that it's so hard to find something that'll hold my attention.

Yesterday, I resorted to the ever-successful fallback of finding something from an author I already know and love. I can always count on Pratchett to entertain. Maybe he'll be enough to get me interested in reading other books again.

I'm curious, what's your policy on abandoning partially-read books? Do you often find yourself abandoning a book part way, or do you finish every book you start? What'll make you put down a book and never pick it up again?


D.B. deClerq said...

I find myself abandoning quite a few of the mysteries I've picked up for research. The biggest reason has been one-dimensional characters and really stilted dialogue. A recent example had a woman telling her mother (who lives with her) that the maid, Mary Smith, would be in to clean later. Now the maid has worked in the house for years. She is the only maid working there. The mother has also lived there for years. I would assume that the mother knows the maid's name, but the author apparently couldn't think of a better way to introduce the maid's name to the reader. Lazy.

Matt said...

It's been years, literally years, since I've read a fiction book that held my interest from beginning to end. Gates of Fire was the last one, back in the summer of '03. Pressfield's other works have held my attention, though I didn't finish them. Non-fiction books I've managed to eat up, but something about fiction writing just doesn't hold me as often. We're also cursed as writers, I think, because we study the craft and know too much about it. In the end, more often than not, we write what we want to read. Now that I do most of my writing at work, I'll try to read more at home to keep up with current trends.

Jenny said...

Recently, I find myself in a similar slump, dearest Ali. I knew I was going to read HP7 and did. After that, though, I couldn't seem to pick up a book and start turning pages.

So, instead of fiction, I picked up two non-fiction books. (OMG, I'm parroting Matt a little...) But, sometimes it's better for your brain if you have to adjust to something other than a new world--better to see this one from another perspective. One of the books is about profiling serial killers (a subject of endless, morbid fascination with me) and the other is a book called The World Without Us. It's about how long man-made things last after humanity suddenly disappears from the earth.

Maybe you might like a history book or something. Philosophy, a la Adam? Just to break the rut. If you read any religious pundits you may find yourself running screaming back to the fiction aisle...

Ali said...

It's funny you two mention non-fic. because Digging for the Truth by Josh Bernstein (host of the same-name TV show) is the most recent book I've read completely.

I've also been soaking up a pile of documentaries from the library on everything from Blackbeard (Played by James Purefoy, no less, in the Nat. Geographic special) to Guns, Germs and Steel, to Timothy Treadwell.

Where fiction is having a hard time holding my interest lately, non-fiction is making up for the lack.