Friday, December 16, 2011

Did not finish, a summary

It has occurred to me that I'm blogging only about books I enjoy enough to actually finish, and therefore you are all missing a crucial part of my reading life. So I thought you might be interested in this short round-up of recently abandoned books along with the reasons why I chose not to finish them. If not, just skip the rest of this post. I won't be offended.

Haiti After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer (2011)

This is an excellent example of me starting a non-fiction book in an attempt to learn more about something in the world in which I am mildly interested, but apparently not enough to read an entire book. Ironically, I've read and enjoyed an entire book about the author, Paul Farmer, but apparently he is a more interesting person than writer. At the beginning he apologetically explained all the background that the book would contain in addition to the story about the earthquake and its aftermath, and that should have clued me in. There was a lot of information about the history of Haiti's infrastructure, and as much as I was interested in the post-earthquake parts I felt too daunted by the amount of less interesting stuff I had to slog through and the sheer number of pages left in the book. I'm actually interested in the topic of this book, but this is the sort of thing where I should just read an article about the topic or watch a documentary. Can anyone suggest a good novel or documentary about Haiti's post-earthquake recovery?

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre (1974)

I wanted to like it, really I did. After all, it's a spy novel! I kept expecting it to get really exciting, and stuck it out for half the book before calling it quits. I had no idea what was going on and though a friend insisted that's part of the beauty of the novel, I wasn't able to see that particular beauty. I was bored and reading it began to feel like a chore. I think for a while I was reading this at the same time as the Haiti book which only compounded my frustration. I do want to see the movie though.

The Rogue: searching for the real Sarah Palin by Joe McGinness (2011)

I love to hate Sarah Palin, but even I can't stand to waste too many precious moments of my life reading about her. Also, I just thought it was all a bit much - the author was digging so far back in her life it was irrelevant and that made me rather bored and a little uncomfortable. Why must the world know who Sarah slept with in college and what she said about it afterward? Some college-related dramas should just stay in the dorm room. I only made it through a few chapters, too much of which related to the author's experiences living next to the Palin's while writing the book, which was a bit meta. Also, I'll admit the only Palin-related topic I'm interested in is the strangeness surrounding the birth of Trig.

So that's all the recent books I can think of. If you find it interesting I can post this sort of update regularly (though I hope there aren't a lot of books I start and can finish.) Do you think that's a good idea? Let me know in the comments!

Also! What books have you abandoned recently? And do you have strongly differing opinions from mine on the books above? I'd love to hear them!


Kevin said...

A good way to get up to speed on a topic you want to know more about but don't to do a lot of reading about (such as Haiti) is go to the BBC website. I clicked on "Haiti" in the "Country Profiles" section at the bottom of their Latin American News Service Home Page and got a brief history of the country, links to articles on the earthquake and recovery effort and maps and graphic charts on the topic:

3goodrats said...

Thank you! That is definitely the route I should take :)