Giving up on Swamplandia!

Yes, I’m giving up on Swamplandia!. Normally, I wouldn’t say anything about a book I don’t finish, so I’m not sure why I’m doing it now either. I wanted to love this book like loads of other people did. It’s interesting, Russell is a fantastic writer by all accounts, but I don’t read much contemporary fiction and I think that’s getting me. I want something magical to happen with the alligators and it’s not going to. There’s some weird spiritualist stuff going on but, well, yeah. So, I move onto something else and return this book back to the library for another to enjoy. So as a send off…

Dear book,

I know your next reader will love you.

All the best,

The reader who abandoned you

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Thoughts – Emma

I didn’t finished Emma this time around either. It seems it’s just not meant to be for me and this particular Austen tome. I’ve tried, more than once, and have never managed to get to the end. Although this time I did get several more chapters in to the book than during any of my other failed attempts at this one.

What keeps stopping me from enjoying this one? It’s Miss Emma Woodhouse herself. She’s the exact opposite of everything I expect a Jane Austen character to be — she’s rich, spoiled, full of self-esteem, is a know-it-all busybody that can’t keep her opinions to herself or stop herself from telling everyone else what to do. Really, I couldn’t take any more of her and gave up.

I know this is supposed to be a funny book about manners and matchmaking gone wrong but I can’t get over the behavior of Emma and the fact she needs to tell everyone else what to do. She’s annoying. She’s mean. She’s ill-mannered. I could go on but I won’t.

Oddly enough, she’s not even the only character I disliked immensely in this book. In fact, I didn’t like any of the characters in this book and found every single one annoying, boring, or some combination thereof. I don’t feel the need to go on because it’s not worth anyone’s time. And, let’s face, now I’m just complaining.

There are readers that love this book. My mom is one of those people — she thinks Emma is funny! Gah! I’ve given it my best and found it still wanting and I will not look back but instead will move on to the ever growing stack of books piling up.

If you want to know more, I find Wikipedia has a nice wrap up.  Yes, I read it to find out what happened in this book, and once I knew, I put it down. I didn’t need to be annoying by the intervening chapters.

Emma from The Complete Works of Jane Austen

By Jane Austen

Douglas Editions

BN ID: 2940000816981

Did Not Finish

DNF — The Clouds Beneath the Sun

The Clouds Beneath the Sun

By Mackenzie Ford

Doubleday

ISBN: 978-0-385-52911-2

DNF

I began reading The Clouds Beneath the Sun by Mackenzie Ford and was very hopeful I would enjoy the book.  It was set in Kenya in the 1960s on an archeological dig.  The main character, Natalie Nelson, is a woman trying to escape her life in England, the suspicious death of her mother, a father who is blaming her for her mother’s death, and a failed love affair with a married man.  She lands in Kenya and is instantly taken in by a discovery in the gorge where the dig is taking place.  Shortly after the discovery, a colleague is murdered in the camp. Being the only person to see anything that night, Natalie gives testimony that will put her life, and the lives of her colleagues, in danger.  She also risks closing down the dig when tensions flare with the neighboring Maasai tribe who have granted permission for the dig to take place on their land.

The story began a bit slow but found its footing, and then somewhere between a new find and a love triangle, it faltered again.  I kept trying to find something of interest but it seemed as if I was watching the story take place in my peripheral vision instead of being invested in it.  I would pick up the book and after a few pages put it down again.  This went on for several days and then I began to realize that I was starting to write a DNF post in my head each time I looked at the book and that was when I decided it wasn’t going to work out.

Am I giving up entirely?  No, I’m not.  I think it was just the wrong time for this book.  It will go back to the library, but I plan to re-visit it in a few months and see how I feel about it then.

When to Call It Quits

I started a book earlier in the week and and I’m having trouble finishing it. The writing is all right but the characters are not. They’re not even likable. I’m about 270 pages in. It’s a 370 page book and I’ve been skimming since page 100. I want to finish it because I promised a review and I don’t feel I can really give it a proper review if I haven’t finished it. But, to be honest, I don’t think my review will be all that positive either way. I was very excited to get this book but I’m not liking it and that sort of makes me sad.

I gave in and started another book last night with the intention of going back to finish it another time — my theory being that I just need a break from it. I only read about 20 pages of the new book but so far it has more potential which means I’m probably done with the other one. (Side note: I’m usually a one book reader. I sometimes read more than one book at a time, but I also notice that I do that when I’m not particularly interested in the current book I’m reading.)

I have a relatively high tolerance point. I usually go about 250 pages before quitting. I guess I’m hopeful that I might find its redeeming quality if I keep going but I don’t enjoy feeling annoyed while I’m reading and that’s where I am right now.

So, when do you call it quits?