Monday, March 19, 2007

"It's evil. It's diabolical. It's lemon-scented. This Plan Z can't possibly fail!" - Plankton, "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie"

The Guardian has the results of a survey of British readers: Books you own but have never finished.

Topping the list: Vernon God Little
I own this book.
And I have never read it.
I am in good company: 35% of the survey’s 4000 respondents had bought it and never finished it.
It won the 2003 Booker, beating out worthy contenders like Brick Lane (ok, I didn’t like that one either and never finished it) and Oryx and Crake (all right, admittedly one of Atwood’s weakest). Nonetheless, it did win the Booker, generally a fairly decent guideline of reading material.
I have started it a number of times; I have never finished it.
I was irrationally irritated by the author’s use of “fucken” instead of “fucking” or even “fuckin.’”
For that matter, I still am irrationally irritated by the author, and his heroin-addict/wastrel-turned-brilliant-novelist pose, and his conceit of using DBC (standing for “Dirty But Clean”) without initials. (I SAID I was being irrational.)
Seems I am not the only one.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Really?
I liked this one.
The fifth was deadly, the sixth practically unreadable, and while I will struggle through (and buy) the seventh, I am not anticipating enjoying it.

Ulysses
I HAVE read this.
As previously noted, I had to read it for a class, and write a rather involved paper on it, but mostly, I enjoyed it well enough, in parts. I loved the Molly Bloom bits, and skimmed the stuff I didn’t love.
I would not want to read it again.

Captain Correlli’s Mandolin
I read this one, too, on vacation down the shore two summers ago.
I was alternating it with The Sparrow, which was so intense that I occasionally need to take a breather, and I filled the breather with de Bernieres. It was ok. Not wonderful, but ok.

Cloud Atlas
What?! Are people smoking crack? Are they braindead? This book is brilliant and wonderful. Humph. Well, if they don’t finish it, it’s their loss.

As for Wild Swans - I can’t tell you how many times I have checked this book out of the library. And returned it unread YET AGAIN.

"Fifty-five per cent of those polled for the survey…said they buy books for decoration, and have no intention of actually reading them. Rachel Cugnoni, from the publisher Vintage, said the apparent unpopularity of tough literary …suggests readers are purchasing "intellectual credibility for the bookshelf.”
Oh-kay. That’s just pathetic.

And this man has his head up his ass, as Eats, Shoots, and Leaves was pretentious and annoying: ”…the publisher behind Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynn Truss's UK bestseller, blamed the readers for the text appearing fourth on the list. "These people must have the intelligence of plankton not to be able to get through 204 pages of a comic, readable book," said Andrew Franklin…”
I will bet HE hasn’t read it. I tried, and could not see what all the fuss was about; if you want to get cute with grammar, I much prefer The Transitive Vampire.

I was chatting with the Rogue Librarian just this morning, about Katya’s book meme, and we were talking about our least-favorite books that we have finished. And I realized how hard that question was for me, because one thing I have succeeded in doing within the past few years is allowing myself, with relatively little guilt, to not finish a book I hate.

Thank God, or I’d still be slogging my way through The Emperor’s Children and both the wonderful Girl in the Tangerine Scarf and the exciting White Darkness would still be unread, sitting forlornly on top of the teetering pile by my bed.

And that would be very wrong.

14 comments:

jessmonster said...

Nobody OUGHT to finish Corelli's Mandolin because the ending was completely unjustified and unearned. I still bear a grudge, because I was enjoying it up to that point.

telfair said...

I read Corelli's Mandolin on a flight from Atlanta and liked it, but I confess I do not remember the ending, and it was either that or the in-flight magazine, so admittedly, I may be biased.

Rogue Librarian said...

You know I actually Liked Harry Potter 6. Unreadable? I mean I can see where you might not like it as much as 4, but unreadable?

Suse said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but the film was an abomination.

Badger said...

Plankton is one of my favorite cartoon characters in the history of ever. Much to the horror of my girl child and the amusement of my boy child.

Sarah Louise said...

I'm with RL: I too, liked #6. And I whizzed through it in 48 hours or less, as I recall. I also am a very small minority of folks that loved #5. It is the only HP that I read more than once. Yes, the whole thing.

My vw (verbatim) is chewwoxy. I wonder if that's a Star Wars reference or a very fashionable (moxie) way of saying chewy. Hmmm...

Katya said...

I also liked #6, but Goblet of Fire was my favorite. I hated The Order of the Phoenix, though, and would never have finished it if it weren't part of the series.

ssheers said...

I just finished reading The Sparrow. Thanks for recommending it. I loved it !!!

BabelBabe said...

ok, unreadable might be a bit harsh. but boring, certainly.

BabelBabe said...

HP, not The Sparrow. Glad you liked it!

Joke said...

I agree with RL. I liked HP6 a lot. In fact, I hated the fact I was enjoying it as I read it because I KNEW I WAS BEING SET UP FOR A DOUBLECROSS.

IKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWITIKNEWIT.

At the end I was just like that idiot Marion Berry when the female undercover agent busted him smoking crack: "The bitch set me up."

It was HP5 which I found torturously, painfully difficult to read.

-J.

nutmeg said...

I haven't got past HP#2 - does that count? But I am currently enjoying Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights (I know I know, another of those books I am JUST catching up on!)

And I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Corelli's but I'm with Suse - do not EVER attempt to see the movie version. Crap. Nicholas Cage and an Italian accent - what were they thinking?

Stomper Girl said...

I thought HP#2 was the weakest in the series! And still love #3 best of all. Just to be different.

Also Wild Swans? I got a long, long way into it then I made the mistake of putting it down and it's been years and I don't know where I'm up to now and it's too big to start again so I may as well have bought it for decoration or to show off. Because I'll be surprised if I get back into it. Even though I thought it was a good book. I can't bear to go through all that repression and misery again.

I should send you my copy and save you the library fines.

julia said...

I threw Captain Correlli and his fucking Mandolin across the room in a rage at the end. I was so pissed off by that lame-ass ending that it made me cast obscenity-laden aspersions about the author's parentage. I hate the book. Loathe and despise and take every opportunity I can find to run it down.

*whew*

Glad I got that off my chest. Again.