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?
The World According to Garp by John Irving
This is a modern day classic and so I had high hopes for it. I loved the first few chapters describing Garp’s birth and childhood, but as he aged his life became less interesting. I didn’t enjoy the stories-within-the-story and the plot began to drag. I gave up after 245 pages (out of 570) but keep wondering if something exciting happens in the final section. Do you think it is worth persevering with this book? Does it return to the greatness of the opening chapters?
The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
This book won the Arthur C Clarke Award in 1990. It is set in London in the near future and has a fascinating beginning. I loved the inventive predictions for the future, especially the way in which people are educated and controlled via viruses. Unfortunately the plot quickly became too complicated for me and I had no idea what was happening. The central character performs an opera based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, but I’m afraid the symbolism was lost on me. After reading 50 pages in a row in which I understood hardly anything I gave up. I’m passing this one on to my husband and hope he might be able to explain it to me. Does this book suddenly make sense after a certain number of pages?
The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
I hadn’t heard heard of this book before watching Faulks on Fiction, but it was mentioned several times during the series and so I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Unfortunately I found it a tedious read. He lives a very dull life and I didn’t see the funny side of reading the diary of someone who does nothing noteworthy. I gave up after 70 pages. I assume that the rest of the book continues in the same vein?
Salvage by Robert Edric
I normally love predictions of what life will be like in the future, but although Salvage had a promising opening I quickly realised that this book provides a vision of what government bureaucracy might be like in 50 years time. Bureaucracy annoys me at the best of times and so it isn’t something I enjoy reading about. Does this book move away from the red tape?
Was I wrong to give up on any of these books?
Is there magic lurking in the final pages?