Another quick bite in the feeding frenzy here. These FF posts/emails are my attempt to catchup with all the little things I’ve been meaning to write about, but which have taken a backseat to getting “actual writing” done.
Plus, I just don’t want to overwhelm all of you.
So below are a few books I started reading but didn’t finish. You may have your own opinions on them.
Now, I’m known to give up on books. More often than not, probably.
Maybe I’m impatient? Okay, I’m definitely impatient, but it’s not just that. My time, just like everyone else, is valuable and finite. If I’m reading something that isn’t doing it for me, why spend my precious time on it?
I’m also pretty picky. I enjoy a wide variety of genres and styles, and I love finding something new, something experimental. Books that stand out. I’m obviously a sci-fi/fantasy fan, but an awfully big chunk of it just doesn’t interest me. So much of it seems the same to me. If this book is just like that book, I really don’t need to read them both.
I don’t just stick to SF/F, though. I like a wide variety of genres, including classics and “literature” from time to time (whatever that means).
I also find that I have to be the target audience. I generally can’t read kids’ or YA books. They’re pretty specifically written for readers of a certain age and mindset, and don’t fit that demographic. So it’s harder for me to get into those books.
Which brings me to this: THE FOLLOWING IS JUST MY OPINION.
Obviously, everyone’s tastes are different. I don’t make a habit of literary criticism because my opinion is no more important than anyone else’s. If you’ve read these books are liked them, that’s great! Please tell me so! Maybe I should have given them more of a chance.
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
I generally tell myself I need to get to page 50 or 100 before I cast judgement on a book, but I’m not sure if I quite got that far.
I picked this one up at the library on the “for sale” shelves. It cost me like $2.50 and I had been eyeballing it for a while. I wanted to read a good pirate story, mostly to get a feel before writing my own. So I grabbed it.
I couldn’t help but have visions of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in my head as I read this. And soon determined that I might be better off just watching those movies.
It just didn’t grab me. The first character is the lazy, arrogant governor, whom I assume is not the hero of the story but we spend like the first 3 chapters with him, which isn’t very engaging. Then we spend a little time with the young hottie girl we knew was coming, before finally meeting the hero of the story, Captain Hunter. And the name says it all: he struck me as very stereotypical, very summer movie like—the handsome, tough rogue, in no way particularly interesting or creative.
Like I said: meh.
This manuscript was found in Mr. Crichton’s desk after his death and published posthumously. And I can’t help but think that I know why he left it there...
Crichton is one of the world’s most popular and successful authors. So again, that should speak for itself. Obviously my tastes don’t align with millions of other readers, so take mine with a grain of salt. I’ve read, I think, three other of his books in my lifetime: Sphere, Timeline, and Prey. I liked Sphere (except the ending), but the other two... Weren’t great, in my opinion. So it doesn’t surprise me too much that I didn’t really get into this one.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
I have a handful of Stephenson books on my shelf, all of which sound really interesting but are as thick as the Bible, and therefore intimidating. Since I don’t get a lot of reading time (but I’m trying more and more to carve it out—in the hammock and at bed before I turn out the light), I tend to dodge the really high page counts and go for short things, like graphic novels and short stories more often than novels. I know, I’m ashamed just typing that...
But anyway, this book is one of his shorter ones and is classified as cyberpunk, so I wanted to check it out.
And... I think know why his books are so thick. It seems to me his writing is 75% style and 25% story.
He has a very interesting voice and there’s a huge amount of detail and world-building to this book. Like ridiculously so. Like, too much so.
It took about 25 pages to deliver a pizza! That, to me, is too long spent on getting nowhere.
Now, that event helps set up the two main characters and, as I said, there’s a lot of world-building detail in there. However... I’m impatient, as I said. And if I have to wade through 75 pages of extraneous detail and style and get 25 pages of story out of it, it’s just moving too slow to keep my interest.
I came and went from this book several times, wanting to like it and get into it, but I just never did. Even now, as I type this, I think I should maybe give it another chance. But I know three pages in and I’m to feel immediately bogged down in the heavy narration that spends three pages describing something not that interesting about to the future, so... no thanks.
That doesn’t bode well for the three other giant tomes of his on my shelf. Not sure I’ll ever quite get to those now.
Gotrek & Felix: The First Omnibus by William King
This is a book with three novels from the Warhammer Fantasy universe in it. Good clean fantasy adventure fun. Bubblegum for the brain kind of reading. You don’t read it because you want to explore new, interesting ideas in the genre. Quite the opposite, which I knew going in.
I picked this book up while I was in nursing school. I needed something light and fun and quick and not taxing on the brain. And that’s what I got.
I only ever read the first “novel” of the three, and that’s where I picked up again this time. The first book is more like several short stories or novellas combined into one long adventure for our traveling dwarf berserker and his human poet companion. Which is exactly why I decided to read it again recently: so that when I got tired of it, I could just stop reading it without needing to know how it ended. Each section of the book is basically a story unto itself. I did stop reading this, most of the way through one of the longest stories, and I have no regrets about it.
You know, I keep saying these are going to be “quick bites” in this feeding frenzy, but they sure run long, don’t they...?
Have you read any of these and want to comment? Have any other reading suggestions for me? Let me know!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.