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Abandonment Issues

January 04, 2012

Abandoned book "Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral" by Kris Radish ♦♦◊◊◊

The original title for this post (started on December 31st) was "Thoughts for the New and Old", but between the time I came up with the title and the time I sat down to write the post, all of my New Year's thoughts (resolutions and reflections) had escaped me. Yep, that's me: A brain like a steel sieve.

Right now, what's got my attention is books. What I read, what I want to read. You see, the one thing that popped into my mind at the same time I was thinking of New Year's resolutions was that I wanted to read some of the paper books that I own.

I have over a hundred books that are sitting on bookshelves, waiting for me to pick them up and read them. It's not their fault that they're not in audio form (though there are a few of those on the shelf, too).

I have a "wishlist" that I carry with me on my iPod so that when I'm at a bookstore or somewhere else I can get new or used books I know what I'm looking for. Just yesterday I picked up a hardcover book that was in the almost-free bin at Wally World - it had been on my wishlist for two years!

So, I don't have a problem collecting books, I have a problems just sitting and reading books. I've often said that I prefer audio books because I can read them while doing something else - driving, quilting, knitting, ignoring what Mr. W. has on the teevee. If I "just" sit and read a book, I feel absolutely decadent. To not be accomplishing something else while reading? It's just not done!

In the year 2011, I read 72 books. Of those 72, 12 of them landed on the "abandoned" shelf. I looked over the reviews for the abandoned books (I really do review almost all of the books I read) and came up with these "reasons" for the abandonments:

  1. The writer was too good - in the case of J.A. Konrath, the 'bad guy' character was written so well that he creeped me out. Great writing, but I couldn't get through the book because it was too skeery. In other instances, sometimes the writing is beautiful and complicated and it is too good for an audiobook. Those are words and thoughts that I want to savor and ponder and really sink my teeth into. I can't do that with an audiobook. It keeps going and I miss what's next because I'm lost in what was.

  2. Too slow. Or too much exposition. There were a few books that just didn't get to the point soon enough - or, in some cases for me, never really got to the point at all.

  3. Too much reliance on suspension of disbelief. Seriously? I read about vampires and faeries and ghosts (plus other genres). If I put a book down because it's just too difficult to suspend my disbelief, I think that's saying a lot.

  4. Bad readers. I'm not making a judgement about the character of the people chosen to read the audiobooks to me, I'm making a judgement about their skill at reading audiobooks to me. First off, last year I broke my own rule of never, ever, EVER listening to a book if it's read by the author. Writers write. It's a very rare writer who can also read. Other 'professional' (?) readers have problems with breath control. Or timing (usually too slow). And it's a rare reader who can do multiple accents or voices successfully and consistently.

Two pet peeves of mine: Formulaic misunderstandings and what I call "dut-dut-duuuuhhhhh" writing.

The formulaic misunderstanding - She thought he meant this when he really meant that and then he thinks she did this because he saw her going into that place but she was there because of something totally unrelated but where there's smoke there's fire and she loves him and he loves her but she thinks he's in love with someone else.... I have absolutely NO patience for this sort of plotting (this also explains why I'm not a fan of French farce movies). It's probably because I'm so direct - I see absolutely no reason for a misunderstanding (and certainly not one or twenty that lasts for 180 pages) when a three line dialogue will clear everything up.

Dut-dut-duuuhhhh: Yep, cue the dramatic music from black and white TV shows. Easily spotted and abandoned by two or more "If I'd only known [what was to happen in the future], I wouldn't have been so happy/said that thing/slept well." If you'd only known and you weren't a total idiot, you certainly wouldn't have done this or that. But then you also wouldn't have a story to tell, either.

A new-to-me (and irritating) writing 'trend' seems to be making me work for a backstory. I know I've mentioned too much exposition, but there's such a thing as too little, too. From my review of Abandon, by Meg Cabot (which was, indeed, abandoned):
Non-linear exposition in dribs and drabs, it was almost like the author didn't really want you to know what brought the character to where she was. I had to work too darned hard to piece together the traumatic events/experiences.

I guess this might seem like a whole lotta negative-negative but remember I did read, finish and ostensibly enjoy 60 other books last year. I don't know that I'll actually be organized enough to give such a thing as book recommendations, but I hope to have a few more book-related things to say in the near future. As long as I don't wait too long so that what I have to say is either forgotten or moot... !


permalink 3 Comments:
At 1/04/2012 3:19 PM, Anonymous Gimpy Cat Babbled Back:  

Oh thank god, someone with a brain (and it aint like a sieve when it comes to books!) who has the same issues with plot lines, writing styles etc as I do. I hear you, I get you and I applaud you - everything you said makes perfect sense! As for the those poor paper books, I know the whole decadent feeling issue but perhaps you need to think of it from a new perspective.

The guilt angle - "Think of all those trees that died unnecessarily, the reduction of earths natural carbon sink tan etc, all being wasted by you because you are leaving the books unread on the shelf" Absolve yourself of some guilt about environmental destruction - read those books!!

Intelligent Angle - Read those books, stimulate your brain and imagination. Take the time to think those delicious paragraphs over, learn new things, even if its trivia, an active mind is a healthy mind and lasts longer. Reading is learning, you never know what new thing you will learn hidden inside a book - start thinking about your brains need to absorb intelligent thoughts and ideas from paper. Brains don't want to be fed everything aurally or electronically all the time!

The Physical Health Angle - Exercise your body, those wrist and forearm muscles, lifting and holding books is a small step towards a bigger workout. Turning pages will help keep your fingers nimble, don't let arthritis in! Eyes, they need the exercise, reading is good exercise, you owe it to your body to give it a light work out every day!

Historical Angle - Its your duty to keep human history alive, reading old fashioned paper books is an important duty. We cant allow society to lose the art of paper book reading, it must be kept alive!

Supporting Jobs Angle - If you don't read paper books then they will fall by the wayside, printing houses will close down, jobs will be lost across the industry. Do your part, support jobs by reading paper books!

Just Because - You shouldn't feel guilty about indulging in reading, reading is a good healthy past time. Modern life is so very busy and go go go, we need to take time out to smell the roses or read a book. Its good for our mental and physical health, our bodies need a break, they need to relax - we should make a commitment to take time each day and rest. Stress is such a large cause of health issues in today's world, taking the time to sit and read a book, indulge and give yourself a break - its really doing your body a big favour. Take care of yourself, listen to some music or read a book but most importantly - don't feel guilty!

Now, go sit somewhere comfy and read a book!

At 1/04/2012 5:59 PM, Blogger quilton Babbled Back:  

A discussion came up in our house the other with our son and with our granddaughter. Kobo thingy versus a good hard cover book. Not a paperback, definitely not!!!! We all want hard cover books. We want the feel, the smell and then we want the most terrific writing inside. We all have our likes/dislikes as we are 66, 44 and 14 so tastes certainly differ. Do we want to read a "screen"? Nay, we say. We can pick up a computer and do that.
I personally love to read with my book light just before I fall asleep. I've been lucky. I seem to find books I like and I do judge a book by its cover.

At 1/04/2012 9:23 PM, Blogger AdrieneJ Babbled Back:  

I have such a hard time settling down to read, too! I am continually saying, "I should really get that pile of books read," but I hate to put my projects down for anything. I've been lucky so far with the audiobooks I've chosen in that they've been excellently read, even by a couple of the writers, but I have no idea how long that lucky streak will hold!

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