Thursday, August 12, 2010

When Struggling to Finish a Book

I'm the type of person that finishes things I start, be it a book or what have you.  I've always been that way, especially with books, thinking the author deserves the time to at least read what's been written.  I'm a patient individual, as it is, and not too slow of a reader, so I almost always give the book cover-to-cover time.  But sometimes, on occasion, I truly struggle to finish.

That's happening now with one of the five books I'm currently reading.  I read Robert Jordan's opening tome for The Wheel of Time, The Eye of the World (review here), and finished with a slightly favorable impression.  Nothing amazing and terribly exciting, but the series is one of the essential fantasy series, so I thought I'd give it a chance.  Plus I'd already bought about five books in the series.  Book Two, The Great Hunt, is grieving me as I press on.  I find myself not caring really at all about any of the characters, only mildly interested in what's going on and what their fates are.  I'm currently on page 481 of 705, but I just don't know if I'll be able to finish.

But still I feel bad about not finishing a book.  Part of me understands that there are so many other unread things out there waiting for me that I shouldn't spend time with something I'm not enjoying.  I completely agree and understand this part of me.  But then I also feel like I'm giving up, and that doesn't jibe well with me.  In fact, the last book I put down was almost a year ago, Dan Simmons' The Terror (review here), and I went through the same struggle with it.

Who knows what the ultimate fate of this series is?  I really wanted to get to the Brandon Sanderson take over, but I really don't see that happening now.  I also would like to have read the whole series just to experience it, but again, I just don't see that happening.  The Wheel weaves as the Wheel weaves, eh?

(On a side note, Peter Brett's The Warded Man just may be my favorite thing I've read this year.  I'm about halfway through this, too, so look for a review in another week or so, as time wills it.)

7 comments:

Carl V. said...

If you aren't enjoying The Great Hunt then I don't feel positive about you being able to press on. I really liked the first three books and then lost interest in waiting and I've heard that several of the later books are much ado about nothing. Don't feel bad, its okay to give up a read you are slogging through, there are plenty of great books out there waiting for your time and attention.

Jay Belt said...

Like Carl, I think if you're struggling now, when the book series actually moves, you're going to be extremely hard pressed after book Five when it starts crawling. And by crawling I mean, "Please end it! End the pain!!!" is what you'll be screaming at the books around book seven, eight, nine, and ten.

Someone seriously needs to just put cliff notes up to book 12 so people can enjoy Brandon's contribution to the series.

logankstewart said...

@Carl: Aye, I agree. Just too much stuff out there to read that I think I would enjoy more.

@Jay: Ha, I've thought about just reading summaries on Wikipedia (or some other fan site, surely) and skipping straight to Sanderson's book. Think I would be able to follow?

Jay Belt said...

Honestly, I think you would get a little lost to skip from book 2 to 12. There are a lot of things that happen in book 3, 4, 5, and 11. Book 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 on the other hand, you could read wiki synopsis on those and get it all. I can quite honestly sum each one of those books in minutes.

Of course, you would still have to suffer 3, 4, 5, & 11's worth of Nynaeve pulling her hair every 10 seconds(and other characters doing the same tick over and over and over and over and...you get the point).

Okie said...

I generally try to push through and finish a book, even if I'm not liking it too much.

At the same time, there have been a few books that just became so drugerous that I finally had to give up. The reason varies but is usually either poor writing that just finally annoyed me too much...or else (the worse offender) a poor story that I just can't stay interested in.

David Wagner said...

I think you should skip WoT and start a new epic series with The Way of Kings. That series is supposed to be the next-gen dozen-book WoT-type series anyway, and the first book is getting really good reviews. Comes out Aug 31.

I've ground to a halt on the KJ Parker series I started - even though I'm enjoying it greatly. My reading time (midnight to 2 am) has been taken from me, so it's been almost 2 weeks since I read any of it! I hope I don't have to start over...

WV: REATER -- I'm guessing that's someone who snacks while reading...

logankstewart said...

@Jay: Yeah, that's kind of the impression I got from looking around, too. Maybe it's something I'll have to try again in a few years.

@Okie: Me too, pal, but sadly, The Great Hunt is not holding my attention at all.

@Dave: Heck yeah, man. I'm definitely buying Sanderson's new epic when it comes out. I've got a $50 Borders card I've been saving just for the occasion. Sucks to hear about the KJ Parker series, and even more about your reading time.

I'm definitely a reater...