Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Books that make you fade and "I'm A Literacy Builder" Award

Did you hit the wall when you tried War and Peace? Too many balls, too many battles, too little time? Some readers find the charm of The Hobbit alluring but get stuck in the mud of mythical prose when they make the climb to Lord of the Rings.

We all know the adage that you can't judge a book by its cover but after a few pages/chapters you have a pretty good idea whether the cover's living up to the hype.

Some of us think you should just plough on and read; others believe that life's too short to read a 'bad' book or one that just isn't a good fit.

Did you know that the 2003 Booker Prize novel, Vernon God LIttle is the most popular work of fiction on the list that people started to read but never reached the end? Here's a list of some books, both fiction and non-fiction that people tossed into the 'too hard' or 'just can't get into it' bin:

The latest list - from Top 10 Abandoned Books left behind in hotel rooms:

Just for interest sake, a whole suitcase of Mills & Boon were found dumped in a Leeds hotel - was that you, Francine?

A buzz to all the chick-lit authors - very few people leave chick-lit behind these days! 

Do you have your list of books that make you fade, books that you know you should read because to be 'well-read' you owe it to yourself? Have you picked up a tome again and again just to abandon it - again? I have, of course, or I wouldn't have written this post. I hang my head in shame to give you my list of Books that make me fade. Some I tried hard to read, really I did, but I just had to give up and move onto more luscious pastures.

  1. Ulysses - Homer
  2. The Iliad - Homer
  3. The Odyssey - Homer
  4. Beowulf in poem form
  5. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. Les Misérables - Victor Hugo
  7. Lord of the Rings - Tolkein
There are no modern books in my list, but I did persevere with the Twilight series and managed the first three okay. I'm about to try the Stieg Larsson books. I struggled with The Book Thief but ended up enjoying it. And hey, I have read War and Peace!! Yay, and loved it most of the time.

How about you? Do you have a list of books that are your literary mountain, or do you manage to finish all the books you start?

Continuing my literary theme, today I would like to thank Pamela Jo at There's Just LIfe for giving me the "I'm A Literacy Builder" Award. If you aren't a follower of Pamela Jos, you're missing out on a jewel of a blog. Treat yourself and visit.

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Display the award logo on your blog site.
3. Tell us five of your favorite words and why you like them, (add as many as you like).
4. Pass the award on to three bloggers you feel are excellent literacy builders, and link to their sites.
5. Contact the bloggers you’ve chosen and let them know about the award.

Wow! My five favourite words. That's a big ask. I'll remember once I've published this...

Okay, this is going to take me awhile so just think about books for your above list while I think...

Here are 5 of my favourite words, or at least 5 that I can remember right now.

  1. Atmosphere - I just love creating it in my writing and I like the word itself.
  2. History - Love it, love learning more about the past all the time. Will take a lifetime or two.
  3. Love - Such a crucial word. Love how it sounds, love how it can be so positive.
  4. Friends - Because everyone needs them. We need each other.
  5. Classic - I love the looks (clothes, cars and guitars...) and I love the books.
 I'd like to give this to a swag of my followers but the three people I'm alloted to share the love with would be:

Francine at Romancing the Blog -
Ann Best at Long Journey Home
Tara at Dreaming Secrets

Hoping these lovelies will accept this award and share their favourite words, then pass it on to their chosen ones.

Have a great week everyone, and I hope you'll give me a list of your unfinished books...please...D


The Words Crafter said...

Congratulations to you and your recipients!

Books that made me fade? I did try to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and put it down. I also put down The Book Thief. But you say it's worth it...I'll give it another try. I did love LOTR, though. People of the Book and The Mysterious Benedict Society made me fade.

The second and third installments of Inkheart nearly did, but I just had to find out about Dustfinger....still, a few hundred pages could have been cut.

Interesting post, I really enjoyed it!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Words Crafter: Thanks for sharing your fade outs. I'll be so interested in reading more. One of my friends just wouldn't shut up about The Book Thief so made me go back to it. I've got to teach it next year so just as well I persevered..:)

Misha Gerrick said...

Weird... I don't think I've ever met a book that I put down because it was too difficult. I have however, put a boring book down for a day and forgotten to get back to it.

So much so that I forgot its title. Hmmm...

Francine Howarth said...


Have read all your listed classics with exception of Beowulf and hundreds besides inclusive War & Peace: the latter twice.

LOL. Moi mentioned as donating tosh to the unwary! As if I'd dump Mills & Boon books in a hotel lobby. I'd probably give them to kids looking to build a Guy Fawkes bonfire!!! ;)

In all honesty we have a fabulous second-hand and rare books boookshop in Narberth (The Burford of Pembrokeshire), and I asked the old guy who runs the shop if he had any M&B novels (research purposes). LOL A horrified expression swept to his face, he swallowed hard and confessed I'd just missed a box full. He further confessed after delightful conversation that the box had gone on the recycling truck! Needless to say the few customers in the shop all fell about laughing, and believe me M&B authors would not like what was said, and the customers were all women. Sometimes, an impulsive moment can bring such delight into one's life to make one feel infinitely glad to be alive. ;)

Re Booker Prize: rarely the most sold books in the market place, and on the whole way beyond the reading capability of ... Ah, dare not reveal my thoughts here ... So, shall say the average fan of OK & Hello magazine along with Riva etc. Phew, it'll take a Miss Marple mindset to fathom my true thoughts.

As for a book on Simon Cowell and the like: WHY? Why do people purchase such tosh? Ah, but they're the same kind of people who eat chocolate and read/write ... ?... :o

And thanks for the award! Shall post up sometime this evening.

Joanna St. James said...

Hi congratulations on your award and contest win.
As long as its not 100 pages I don't mind its length if it is then I will start my job by telling you that it's too long :D
My email is on my blog please email me when you are ready, have a lovely day.

Private said...

Congrats on the award!

That's interesting, I remember Vernon God Little as pretty decent! It wasn't that long either. I'm afraid I'm one of those who plough through no matter how bad, but there are a few books I just couldn't finish;

- Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
- The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas
- Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Jules said...

I guess I'm a true rebel. I just started "The girl with the Dragon tattoo," we will see. :)

Congrats on the award :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Anonymous said...

The Life of Pi. I tried 4+ times and never made it past page 30. Just can't get into it (and I've now been told the ending so the little motivation I had is completely gone :p).

Perservered through Mrs. Dalloway (it took about 1/3 to get into it) and I have to say it was completely worth it. It's one of my favorites :D

Jessica Ann Hill said...

I'm a "if I start reading it, I'm going to finish it" kind of reader. There have only been a couple of books that I put down, and both were after just a few pages and I do plan to go back to them: The Hobbit and The Gunslinger.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's an odd mix left behindin hotel rooms.

I enjoyed LOTR, but the second time I read them, I skipped all the long descriptions.

A recent torment was The Terror by Dan Simmons. I usually stop reading after a few pages, but since he's supposed to be such a great author, I forced myself to finish it. Take out 2/3 of the pages and it's a good story.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I loved Eat Pray Love. I would never leave it behind in a hotel room. But Dan Brown? Yep yep yep. Also, I'm one of those who was crazy for The Hobbit but couldn't get into the Lord of the Rings. I didn't care for the movies either. My most recent not finish is The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. It has all these awards listed and I wonder if the people bestowing the awards even finished this book. It's like 800 pp and very difficult to get into. But I liked the first 75 pages. I would have given it an award for that, so maybe that's how it works.

Jai Joshi said...

I tried reading 'All Quiet on the Western Front' countless times. Never made it past the first few chapters. One of these days I will finish it, though!


Marieke said...

I love your five words! <3

And will you be joining our Crusade? In that case - hi! (In all other cases - hi too! :D)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your award!

I used to plough on and finish books, but now I don't since there are plenty of great books out there and life is short.

If, after the first 50 pages I am not grabbed then I cast the book aside. I did this with Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

I agree with Alexandra in respect of Kristin Lavransdatter; tried it years ago (when my general rule was to plough on)and gave up.

Recently I tried to read a book by Celia Ahern (title now forgotten) and couldn't get beyond page one.

I think that my difficulties with books arise from simply not liking the style of writing.

Interesting post.

Denise Covey said...

Francine: I love that M & B story. What an experience! Maybe it was that box from the Leeds hotel!

Joanna: Thanks, I'll try to keep it under 100 pages!

Alexandra: I'm glad there's others who haven't finished books..:)

Jules: Let me know what you think of 'The Girl with...'..")

Erica: Good news about Mrs Dalloway. Love it when that happens. Guess that's why we persevere. Life of Pi - that is a bit difficult..:)

Jessica: I used to be someone who ploughed through to the end but some books I've started lately have been so bad I don't care about the characters and couldn't care less what happened to them. Sad. Some recent novels break all the rules we're told to write by - adverbs everywhere, blah, blah. Somehow they got published so good for them..:)

Alex: So that was the book you were talking about in your post! I wondered. Sounds like Simmons used a lot of filler! Yeah, I could only read LOTR in bits. Have never read it in its entirety. Loved the films though..:)

KarenG: My sister just gave me Eat Pray Love for my birthday so I'm going to make sure I finish it. Looking forward to seeing the film soon! Yeah, I bought The Lacuna and found it hard going. I am such a fan of her as a writer - adore The Poisonwood Bible so I wanted to love The Lacuna. Doesn't work. Very Isabelle Allende style, which I find difficult at times..:)

Jai: How could you not like All Quiet on the Western Front? In a class all by itself..:)

Marieke: Yeah, I was too late to participate in the first challenge but am waiting for the next. Hi!!

Christina: Thanks for sharing your book troubles. Celia Ahern is chick lit, isn't she? I've picked up a few and never finished either, but I didn't give her much of a chance. I will try again though. I think it's like we're trying to do in our writing - hook the reader on Page 1 and have a page turning moment every page. Most established have maybe forgotten that they need to keep their readers coming back for more..:)

Ann Best said...

I did read Crime and Punishment DECADES ago. This was in the days before so many TV (mindless, some of them) channels, videos, and computers; the days when people READ books and there were magazines on the newsstands that contained many, many short stories.

As for now: I managed to get through 2 1/2 of the Twilight books. I didn't get far into The Book Thief before I loved it and kept reading. I never did read War and Peace, but I did read Dr. Zhivago. And Virginia Woolf. Well, I had her in a graduate class. I don't think I would have persevered on my own. But she was VERY well worth the effort. And so on and so on....

I'm so touched that you gave me this award! I've never had any favorite words that I can think of, but I'll see if I can come up with something. I'm now going to post a thank you with your link, etc.

You made my day!!

Denise Covey said...

Ann: Dr Zhivago - yummy - Anna Karenia - Virginia Woolf, love her descriptions, but, yes, would have helped to have learnt her at uni. Well worth it.

I couldn't really think of any fave words either - I just love language!

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm saving those books for retirement...when I'll have an abundance of time and can read more or less uninterrupted.

Denise Covey said...

Vicki: Great plan..:)

Anonymous said...

I have read some on your list, mostly for school. (Lord of the Rings I read in middle school when all I read was fantasy.)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a book that I'm fascinated with and have tried to read twice but never finished. I do have a copy and will return to it someday. :)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Sandy: I haven't read Jonothan Strange. Will look out for it..:) Thanks for the follow..

Su said...

I'm with you on Les Mis. I got as far as the battle description, then decided that I would just stick with the musical version.

The most recent book I gave up on was The Eye of the World; it was interesting for about 300 pages, but then I got bored.

Denise Covey said...

Su, haven't read Eye of the World. Yeah, Les Mis show was so good..:)

Bast said...

Congrats on the award (I realize I'm a little late).

I had to read WAR AND PEACE for my Russian lit class. I loved it. Well, I loved the peace parts (they were kinda like a soap opera -- I loved Helene and her brother Anatole and how they tried to ruin Natalia). I hated the war parts (they were like ... war). But I read it.

I try not to even think about all those books that you're supposed to read because they're great. It's those books that turn me off reading cause they're just so damn boring.

Lauren Cude Horsfall said...

Congrats on the award!!!

Highly amused by the lists :) Lord of the Rings trilogy I tried two or three times and never got past the first chapter. Fast forward a few years and I picked up the first one and was enthralled. Spent every spare moment (and some that shouldn't've been) hooked until I finished the last one. No idea what caused the switch. All well before the release of the movies.

I actually didn't mind the Homer version of Ulysses (albeit I definitely read it in translation!) Ulysses (the Joyce version) I only read because it was required for a course and it battled with Pamela for the two most horrendously painfully boring books I had to read in any lit class. So very not worth it.

For the modern ones Girl with the Dragon Tatoo definitely needed an editor for the first 200 pages or so. After that (which I only stuck out at the urging of a friend) I actually enjoyed the rest. Haven't read the rest of the series yet though.

Guilty secret time -- I actually *gasp* enjoyed the twilight series.

Sarah said...

Anything Dickens. I just can't stick with him. :/