Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Abandoned Books

There were several in the last week.

Two Lives by Vikram Seth. I thought this looked good when I picked it up at Borders one day. It's the kind of thing I like: family memoir, and it's about India! And England! Oh well. Boring boring boring.

The Doctor's Wife by Elizabeth Brundage. This wasn't boring, but it was violent. Within the first 30 pages or so we had a brutal beating, and a body burned beyond recognition. Also hints of more nastiness to come. Not for me, thank you.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I don't like Zadie Smith. There, I've said it. I think her dialogue is unnatural and her characters cartoon-like. This reads like a sitcom setup.

Zia at Nom de Plume also recently abandoned a bunch of books, some of which I had already abandoned last year (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, also abandoned by my son, so that poor book doesn't ever seem to get finished, does it?). Also check out the conversation in her comments about the new term "blogflog." Is that what I'm doing in this post?

12 comments:

Jason said...

A friend and I just read On Beauty and had an online discussion about it. We'd love your comments (even though they're going to be negative!):

http://hubpages.com/hub/On_Beauty_Zadie_Smith

Thanks!

Becky said...

Jason, I don't know that I read enough of the book to make much of a contribution to your discussion. I have a kind of visceral reaction to her dialogue though, and how fake it sounds to me. I need to take another look at the book and see if I can come up with anything coherent to add to your post. I'll do this in a day or so. Thanks for posting!

zia said...

I have never had ANY luck trying to get through Zadie Smith, either White Teeth or On Beauty. Glad to know that I'm not alone!

Becky said...

Zia, you are NOT alone. And I felt the same way when you said you couldn't read Jonathan Strange. I really really wanted to like that book. What about The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova? I've been having a conversation via email with someone else about that book, and how no one could finish it.

Becky said...

Zia, I just thought of something else. Maybe we need to do a post together on the most overrated books?

Sian said...

Hi- I've come through Maxine at Petrona...
I'm currently reading a book called The Doctor's Wife too - but it isn't the same one--victorian novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. It was a little slow-starting but is shaping up to be a fantastic 'sensation' novel. Perhaps you'd have better luck with that?

On the other ones-- haven't read any of the ones you mention, but I did try and read White Teeth and found it so awful I couldn't even finish it...

Becky said...

Sian, I just looked up that book you are reading (The Doctor's Wife, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon) and it sounds good!

I'm getting ready to write a post about over-rated books, and I want to include your comment about White Teeth. This is getting interesting. Thanks for visiting.

zia said...

Oh, The Historian ... it dragged on forever, and I read it all anyway. I managed to dig up my review ... click my name for the link. And yes, yes, yes let's definitely do a joint overrated books.

Nonanon said...

Hiya,
Oh, I do so love disagreeing about books and authors. Now, I'm someone who starts and abandons a LOT of fiction, but for some reason Zadie Smith really appeals to me (although not so much her novel "The Autograph Man," much preferred "White Teeth" and "On Beauty"). Is it because I'm a hopeless Brit-o-phile? Set it in Great Britain and I'm there? Who knows. Literature is sure a wild and wacky world...long live literature! (And the right, as always, to say what we do and do not like!)

Becky said...

But I too am a hopeless Brit-o-phile, and that wasn't enough to get me through her books!

And while we're on the topic of agreeing and disagreeing, let's all remember that these are our OPINIONS, people, just our opinions. So settle down (not you).

dovegreyreader said...

Becky I've just found your blog and am so pleased to find you too have books you give up on.I was just about to post on Zadie Smith and now I feel fortified to do it but probably a bit slant, there's a Zadie love-in going on in the UK press at the moment and I have failed with On Beauty three times.It's all my fault I'm sure because Ms Smith is asking for "thorough readers" so I'm clearly very superficial and un-thorough.

dovegreyreader said...

I've just put up the post about Zadie Smith, you might be interested
http://dovegreyreader.typepad.com

Post a Comment