Friday, February 03, 2006

Unfinished Business

I'm a reader. I read quite a lot. Not as much as some [ahem], but certainly a lot more than the average joe. I almost always finish the books I start, no matter how painful and frustrating they can be. If I don't finish a book the first time, I'll come back to it later and finish it.

There haven't been many times when I've made a choice to stop reading a book and never pick it up again. It's kind of a rare thing for me. (We're not talking books for school here. Rather, books that I've chosen to read for fun, and have changed my mind about.)

Here are some of the ones I can remember:

Harriet the Spy: Understand, I grew up in a very sheltered household. Conservative Christian, CCM-only. In the fifth chapter of HtS (i believe), it starts off with Harriet being so mad she uses the "d-word." Not just once, mind you--multiple times. I was in fifth grade, and I was scandalized. I put it down and never finished it.

The Adventures of Homer Fink: Another fifth-grade memory. No profanity this time. No, I stopped reading this one because there were too many references to Greek gods, and the protagonist Homer started referring to himself as Pan, or something. It freaked me out a little.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Many years passed since the Harriet and Homer days. My skin thickened, my experience widened, and my language drifted south, sorry to say. So no d-words or ancient deities would offend me. But this book... I don't know. I made it about 2/3 of the way through, and just didn't have the energy to finish. It came highly recommended, too. But I was just annoyed with the characters. None of them, not one that I can remember, had any redeeming value. Just worthless, mean people doing cruel things to each other. I finally got tired of it, so I gave it up. This also precluded my reading of Infinite Jest, because I wasn't ready to invest a thousand pages into another of the writer's works, if it was going to be like this.

Anointed to Be God's Servants... : I used this Blackaby book for background on some Sunday School lessons, and thought about finishing it, but just got utterly bored. Normally, even if I use just a chapter or two of a book specifically for certain lessons I'm teaching, I'll still try to finish it. Not so much with this one.

Geek Love: And now the most recent entry to the list. I started this earlier this week, and made it only three chapters. Ugh. No, it's not about romance between computer programmers--it's about a family of circus freaks who were specifically bred to be deformed. I just don't have the patience or strength for this. More hideous, mean people being abused and abusing. Just depressing. Not really offensive, either. Just sad. From what I can tell, there is no redemptive element in the story, so I decided to pass. There are so many other great, well-written novels that won't make me sad for no reason.


So there you go. My short list. I can't remember any others off the top of my head.

Now, your turn: Are there any books that you've started and stopped reading? Not necessarily because you were bored, but because something about it offended you, repulsed you, made you stop caring? I'd like to hear your stories.

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