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.
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.
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?