Sunday, 20 June 2010

And Praxis Makes Three

(Listening to - Megadeth - Wanderlust)

(8 and a bit days to go!!!)

I love books. To pieces. Well, not pieces as I take care of my books, but you know what I mean. Even if a book is lacking in a few areas, I'll persevere and finish it. Granted, this has resulted in me reading some utter crap, but it's the way I work.

I'm weird like that.

Up until the night before last, I had given up on precisely two books. Frank Herbert's Dune, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In both cases, I read for as long as I could bare (60 pages and a third of the book, respectively), but ultimately gave up in frustration.

(I'm not going to rant on about why I disliked them, other than to say neither was the kind of book I enjoy, and both waffled the hell on for far too long. In my own humble opinion, of course.)

So, a couple of nights ago, I was working my way through The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams, and realised that, of the 120+ pages I'd read, only 15-20 were of interest (though the writing is great, and I'm sure fans of space opera would love it). Usually when this occurs, I carry on anyway, thinking that that's enough to sustain me, and moan when I'm finished. Then I looked up at my chest of drawers. In an untidy pile is a fantasy trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, a couple of humours by Christopher Moore and Dadvid Sedaris, and books 2-5 of Jim Butcher's Dresden files.

"Why the hell am I plugging on with a book I'm not enjoying when I could be reading one of those?"

*Closes book, puts on shelf with the other two of the trilogy, then picks up Jim Butcher's Fool Moon.*

I think I've turned a corner in my attitude toward books. Why waste my time on a book I don't enjoy, when there are hundreds of thousands of more suitable books out there?

There is no reason.

I think my new attitude has come from two events.
  • Firstly, my writing; I become more discerning with every word I write. Especially after I've edited said word three times.
  • Secondly, I have a stack of books on my cupboard. Usually, I buy books one or two at a time, and don't have the temptation of a better book within arm's reach. Lately though, I've been buying books before I've finished the current ones, and have a small pile of eight or nine.


What about y'all? Do you persevere with unenjoyable books, or do they hit the wall? :)

Toodles,

Adam

PS - Yes, I thought two "classics" sucked. Keep your outrage to a dull roar. ;-)

22 comments:

Virtualonion said...

I am flighty when it comes to books. I may enjoy a novel for a few pages, then get bored and move on a few hours later. I read 4 or 5 books at any given time so it really needs to peak my interest or it's goodbye without a backward glance. Once a year, I will revisit my boring books - most of the time with the same conclusions. This holiday, I took a half dozen books with me but became stuck on one slow burner. Not a great book by any means, I surprised myself by reading it all the way through, finishing it on the train ride home. Hmmm. Maturity? I think not. The end fizzled and the whole experience was underwhelming. It reminds me that life is too short to hang in there when I could be enjoying a better read.

Adam said...

Four or five at once?!?!

Crazy lady. ;)

I persevered with a trilogy once, where the first book sucked, and the second was merely average. I have NO idea why I kept reading. I blame teh craziez.

Adam

shadowferret said...

I am such a slow reader, if I were to continue reading a book that I wasn't enjoying, it would literally occupy several months of my time. I therefore, long ago, developed the capacity to throw books away didn't grab me within the first few pages.

I enjoyed Dune! Granted I was probably 17 at the time and much more forgiving in my reading.

And as far as reading lists, go check out mine on GoodReads. I'm currently reading Dracula, Journey to the Center of the Earth, several comic book collections, and Die Trying by Lee Child.

Adam said...

Lately I've slowed down in my reading, so that may well have had an effect, too. :)

I enjoyed Dracula. I had some issues with the story, but really enjoyed the style in which it was written (epistolary).

I've been experimenting with comics on my iPod, too. It's a fun way to read them, though you do miss out on some of the artwork due to the small screen.

Adam

shadowferret said...

Well, I enjoy Bram Stoker's writing, but sometimes I get bogged down in the details. I've been reading it off and on since Christmas!

Adam said...

Dracula is the only work of Stoker's that I've read. I'd recommend it to most, though. Love me some vamps. :)

Adam

Dolly said...

There are very few books that I have given up on, because I do give them a fair chance, but my attitude is exactly the same as yours - I am not going to waste my time on rubbish when there are plenty of others to read (in my case it means a pile of over 100 books).

Of course you are entitled to your opinions, but my opinion says, Pride and Prejudice given up?? Throw Adam in sense prison! ;)

I bought Dune ages ago, haven't read it yet. Let's see how I bear with it.

Adam said...

P+P bored me senseless! A third of a book, and bugger all of interest happened. I'd be the warden of sense prison. :D

Adam

Jemi Fraser said...

This made me laugh - I couldn't finish P&P when I was younger. Found it really dull - never picked it back up again. And I've felt guilty ever since :) Now I'm giving up the guilt!

Adam said...

Woop! Awesome! I knew I couldn't be alone. :D

Adam

bettielee said...

Also, you know that when I get an award... you get an award... it awaits you on my blog should you venture forth to claim it. :)

bettielee said...

Wait... where did my long ol' post go about putting aside the Dragonlance chronicles? It has been eaten... it was so good, too... what a shame....

Adam said...

It got ated. :(

I'm sure it was awesome! I'll go look for mah award, shall I?

Thankies!

Adam

Kaity Hall said...

I've never gotten around to reading Dune, but P & P bored me senseless, too. When I read it, though, I was of the idea that once you started a book, you MUST finish it. I have since matured greatly. I agree that life is too short for boring books. I am also one for reading 4 or 5 books at a time due to my severe lack of an attention span. I also tend to do this with my writing, a habit I'm trying hard to break because I never finish anything that way!!! But I go through my fair share of books with this technique. It's good for me.

As long as you eventually read every Stephen King book known to man, you will receive no outrage about not finishing books from me!

:P

~KK~

Adam said...

Heh, I was of a similar belief. Maybe it came from a lack of money, and wanting to get my money's worth. ;)

I'll get around to a few more Stephen Kings, but I don't do horror, so that excludes many. :P

Adam

Kaity Hall said...

*sigh* You don't know what you're missing! :D

~KK~

Adam said...

Sweats, paranoia, sleepless nights... ;)

Adam

Kaity Hall said...

Haha, I guess I'm used to those so they don't really bother me anymore!

~KK~

Adam said...

I'm a big old fraidy cat when it comes to horror, so I avoid it whenever possible. ;)

Adam

C R Ward said...

I've had to tighten up the belt when it comes to buying books, so now I only buy books I know I'm going to finish.

That's not to say I haven't bought books that failed to keep me interested in the past. These books don't get finished.

If a book is by a favorite author I might set it aside for a while and then pick it up at a later date to give it a second chance. I did this with C.J. Cherryh's Faded Sun triology. Couldn't get into it for the longest time, but once I did I couldn't put it down.

Adam said...

I try to only buy books I know I'll like too, but it doesn't always work. ;)

I put Dune to one side, with the intentions of picking it up again, but it never happened. :D

Adam

Melanie Avila said...

I need to be better about putting down books I don't enjoy. I have MANY on my TBR shelf too!

(and yes, I'm two weeks late to this post. Sue me)