Well I have never claimed to be an academic, luckily. Whilst studying for my degree, in literature (which for the doubters out there I may reassure you I did achieve through years of home study and hard work) I asked my tutor about the canon and the critics whose interpretations we had to take on board. I struggled to agree with some interpretations on the works of art we worked on. Luckily my tutor said whilst you do need to accept some of their views you can challenge them and many academics are making careers of arguing the case for and against various works. As long as you can justify your opinion it is valid.
Anyway back to the point and the title, I very rarely give up on a book but there are now three which I have left on the shelf, even one I’ve donated to the charity bin. I decided that despite my best efforts I could put my energies to much better use elsewhere and accept that life really is too short to dig my heels in and finish these books. Which three I hear you cry?
Apologies to those concerned but my three ‘failures’ are
1. Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) (the charity bin) – maybe I should revisit at some point as I can’t recall any of it. It came highly recommended but no I couldn’t engage with it on any level and gave up very early in to it
2. Casual Vacancy (J K Rowling) – I know JK can in some eyes do no wrong however I’m still convinced this wouldn’t have been such a great seller without the JK badge. It sold to TV but I struggled to ‘like’ any of the characters, get hooked by the plot or enjoy the tale. I loved Harry Potter despite all the critic’s reservations but despite getting half way through I gave up on this due to lack of interest
3. Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie) – yes the one that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s a huge book, I got half way through so maybe should be congratulated. I acknowledge my ignorance of Indian history is probably the main reason I couldn’t ‘get it’. It has some amazing language I recognise good writing when I see it but it just dragged on too long and had what appeared to be clever nods to history. I got the impression it was like watching Forrest Gump with knowing US history and understanding the Elvis etc references.
I accept this failure to finish is due to my lack of endeavour but at least I tried!
In my defence I jumped straight into Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey and read it in less than two days. it was a lovely read, touching, engaging and clever.
Please share your confessions of ‘non-completion’ ‘charity bin’ or ‘quick win’ novels. I may pick one or two of them up and add them to my try to read list.