Sunday, August 16, 2009

When you have to work for it...

I listed a book lately as "dnf" that seems to be pretty high in demand and two of my acquaintances asked me why I couldn't finish it. Well, here's my explanation and I promise I do have a point so bear with me:

I am not old by any stretch, still youngish in my mind, but as I've grown up I find that my interest in what I enjoyed when I was younger has changed quite a bit. What a surprise, no? I don't watch television like I used to, I dress a little differently, and of course, my taste in books has changed too. Want to know what also is different? Patience, or lack thereof. If I picked up a book and started reading it, I finished it unless it completely freaked me out (i.e. Kiss the Girls and the snake. Fifteen years later and I still have not come across anything that has affected me that much except maybe Breaking Dawn) or was so poorly written that you had to wonder how in the world it got published. Now, the new rule is that if by fifty pages in and it still hasn't grabbed me, it's time to pull the plug. The aforementioned dnf is the latest in this list is Mortal Path: Dark Time by Dakota Banks. I got through the whole setup of the plot: a pregnant healer who lives in Massachusetts in the 17th century is burned at the stake because another woman accused her of being a witch so she could steal her husband. Well, ha ha on you lady - the burned one is offered immortal life with a bunch of cool bennies if she comes a demon's assassin. The first perk: kill the bitch who set you up. After that, hundreds of years go by before the assassin's conscience kicks in and she decides to grow a pair and stand up to the big bad. Turns out that the only way to get free of him is to become mortal again and work her badass ass off saving enough people to make up for all the bad she's done. OK, that stuff was fine and is all background and I kept reading because I knew that the story was just taking off from there but I wasn't sucked in yet. So, I keep reading and read about her apartment in Chicago and the superfantastic burglar deterrents she had and I thought "That's about enough." That stuff was so over the top and I felt that if the author is going to go that silly with details on that issue, I wasn't interested. Enough was enough and I didn't want any more. It just turned me off.

Don't go thinking that I'm some flighty chick who can't commit to a book though. Tonight, finally, after a year, I finished Vicious Circle by Mike Carey. I started it last year right after it came out since I bought it hardback. I made it halfway through when something else caught my attention; something lighter and probably a romance but that's not important. Circle is Carey's second Felix Castor book and he's sort of a british version of Harry Dresden with an even drier wit and Harry's a wizard while Felix is an exorcist. This was no light read and I made myself restart from the beginning again since it had been a year. It didn't always keep my attention - there were three subplots going on that seemed totally independent from one another involving a possessed church, a possessed man in an asylum, and a missing dead girl. Carey ended up weaving them together quite artfully and ended up with a book that had my attention, even if it did take 200 pages to get there :)

The moral of this long and probably boring story is this: follow your gut. If it feels worthy it probably is. If it isn't, don't feel guilty about not finishing the book. Maybe you're just not in the right mood or place for it yet. You can always pick it up again later.

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