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It’s not Me, It’s You: breaking up with books

Now before you get too excited, this isn’t an article filled with break-up lines from books, or even books about break-ups or love. This is about the books I have had to break up with. The ones that I couldn’t finish.

I consider myself to be someone who likes to read books from all genres. I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, classic literature, crime, autobiography… I love to read and try to read as much as I can. Over the years though, I found that there were books that I just couldn’t finish. No matter what I did, the phrase, Why are you reading this?! repeated over and over in my mind as I read – or should I say tried to read – these books. There eventually came a point where I had to stop kidding myself any longer and I had to say Goodbye.

I can thankfully say that there have not been too many book break-ups, but when I we do, it’s always messy.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

This was my first break-up and as the Cat Stevens knows, ‘The first cut is the deepest’.

The first line of this book is amazing. I read it thinking, Yes! This will be awesome! And sadly, for me, it was downhill from there. It felt like nearly every character was called Alexander and I couldn’t tell what was going on. Characters disappeared, died, came back, disappeared again and I didn’t know what was up or down.

I thought that we would need some time a part, so I put Anna Karenina aside, hoping that our love would be rekindled at a later date. Three weeks went by and I tentatively picked up the book again wanting things to work out. I kept reading it and willing things to be different. I even tried drinking red wine in the hope it would help. Nothing I did made the book good. It was over. At chapter 53, I said my last goodbye.

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Not only do I think that the author has a cool name, I had many friends recommend the book to me, so when I picked it up at the bookshop I figured it would be a no-brainer. The book started wonderfully. It’s set in the 1930s and Satan disguised as a professor runs amok in Moscow. There is a crazy cat who is Satan’s right-hand-man and a blend of past and present, sanity and insanity.

Despite all that it was, there were so many things it was not. I couldn’t stay focused and I couldn’t personally invest in the characters. The characters who I had become fond of were killed off or sent to insane asylums and I just didn’t see the point in it anymore. We broke up at exactly halfway through the book.

A Darkness at SethanonRaymond E. Feist

Just to show you that all my book break-ups haven’t been with Russians, I’ve included A Darkness at Sethanon. Now for those unfamiliar with Feist’s work, this is the third book in a long series of books based on the fictional land Midkemia and the people in it. The first book in the series Magician was given to me as a birthday present and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I asked around and friends had suggested that if I wanted to read more of the series I should get the first three books and go from there (By the way, there are over 20 books).

I read the second book, Silverthorn and felt that the book was a bit slow. I enjoyed that characters like Jimmy the Hand featured in the book, but I was missing other characters like Pug and Tomas. By the time I got to the third book it was hard to stay interested.

In saying that, A Darkness at Sethanon and I have not yet officially broken up. I am giving the book a rest. We’re seeing other books in the meantime and I hope that one day we can find the spark that I found when I started to read Magician.

Have you ever broken up with a book? What book was it and why did you have to part ways?

9 thoughts on “It’s not Me, It’s You: breaking up with books

  1. I’ve picked up Persuasion three times with the intention of finishing it only to bow out halfway through. TG for BBC period dramas.
    I’m glad you’re blogging!

    • I thought about seeing Anna Karenina the movie, but I was so put off by the book I couldn’t do it.
      I’m excited about my blogging endeavours. It’s been too long.

  2. As a teenager, Northern Lights was a book I just couldn’t get through! 5/6 chapters in I just got confused!
    Recently I have tried to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I read her book ‘an experiment in love’ and thought it was brilliant! But I can’t get into Wolf Hall at all, there are too many characters and the plot jumps around to much for me!

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