My New Year’s Resolution is to give up on books that aren’t outstanding. I don’t want to miss out on a gem that happens to have a poor beginning, so I hope that you can help me sort the wheat from the chaff.
Should I continue reading any of these books?
Searching for the Secret River by Kate Grenville
Five words from the blurb: Thames, Australia, memoir, writing, generations
I loved The Secret River and so was excited about reading this little book in which Kate Grenville explains the research that she did before writing that amazing piece of historical fiction.
Searching for the Secret River was easy to read and quite interesting, but I found that all the particularly interesting facts had been included in The Secret River and so I felt I was reading things I already knew. The process of research doesn’t really interest me – I much prefer to have all the detail coated in a fantastic plot and acted out by wonderful characters. I suspect that this book might to useful to anyone wanting to learn about researching historical fiction, but I am far more interested in reading the finished product. I gave up after about 70 pages.
And This is True by Emily Mackie
Five words from the blurb: van, father, kiss, unpredictable, love
This book is different! It begins with a son kissing his sleeping father. The sexual desire of a son for his father is something I haven’t read about before, but for some reason this book didn’t quite ring true. I never felt any emotional connection to the characters and although it was packed with graphic descriptions of naked men they didn’t feel realistic. Perhaps I’ve just read too many extreme examples of the male mind recently (eg. The Slap, A Life Apart), but this felt too gentle. My mind kept wandering from the page and so I gave up after around 100 pages.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Five words from the blurb: women, marriage, motherhood, shocking, elegant
I know a lot of people love this book, but I’m afraid that I have a lot of issues with it and thought I’d better stop reading it before it wound me up too much. The flowery language annoyed me straight away and the whinging women quickly drove me mad. I don’t know why I have such a problem reading about these privileged people, but I’m quite pleased that I now have the power to banish them from my reading life. If you enjoy books like The Victorian Chaise-longue or The Yellow Wallpaper then I know you’ll love The Awakening, but I struggled to get through 20 pages of it.
Was I wrong to give up on any of these books?
Is there magic lurking in the final pages?