Bad Books – Part 1

So far, if you read my reviews it probably sounds like there’s nothing I dislike or can’t slog through. Not true! Rare enough, but there are books or series I have abandoned or never been able to get into. I’ve been rather lucky with my foray into “cheap Kindle books” over the past, say, year or two. Or perhaps I’ve been selective. I can’t review what I didn’t buy because it didn’t sound like something I really like.

I thought I’d try to name and comment about some of those, as best I can remember them. I’ll obviously post about any new ones I encounter as I run into them. If I remember others from the past, I can do more posts like this. (As it turns out, this will be about just one book and I’ll definitely cover others in future posts.)

The granddaddy of them all is Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I first tried reading it all the way back when it was the only book in A Song of Ice and Fire. People on the rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan newsgroup talked about it, with some hating it, most liking it, and some thinking it made Jordan and Wheel of Time look pathetic. My sister had read and loved it. As I recall, the copy I tried to read was hers.

I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t even get as far as Bran’s “accident.” I felt like a heretic, but I thought it was boring, and didn’t get far enough then, or learn enough from outside sources, to at least find it a fascinating concept poorly written or presented.

Flash forward. GRRM becomes a media star and gets his masterpiece filmed, by all accounts, beautifully. People who would never in a million years have thought to pick up those books are avid fans of the show and, in many cases, read the books as a result of seeing the show. People around me love the show and the books.

Feeling like I am missing out, someone gifts me the first book for Christmas 2013. Now, I know more about the characters and plot, without ever watching the show (we don’t have cable), because I read things, watch clips or trailers, etc. I have spoiler non-avoidance issues. Which is funny, given that I sometimes think I say too little in my reviews for fear of telling people too much about the books.

So I tried again. I got much farther into the book, but found it a slog. Putting it down and losing my place, I found I could pick it up, open it to somewhere, start reading, and feel like I missed nothing if I had skipped ahead. It seems bizarre that I had trouble identifying where exactly I had left off upon picking the book up again.

Eventually, bored, my reading petered out. Yet the story was interesting enough that I pointedly read all I could about what happened in the books and the shows. I even developed my own theory that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen were the pivotal characters the whole thing would come down to in the end.

It was after abandoning Martin that my Kindle reading took off. I still feel vaguely like there might be something wrong with me for not getting into such a widely read, highly regard book. But then, I do run into people who have felt the same. Come to think of it, it’s a bit like Dune. Way back when, I read the first Dune. I found it tedious, but managed to get through it. I never even tried reading the others, and have been told that the first one is the only one that was good enough to bother with at all. It strikes me as more socially acceptable not to have liked Dune.

There you have it: One book (without regard to frugality) that I could not finish and would never recommend. Two, if you count my aside when I remembered Dune at the end.

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