Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Books I put down

I read for plot. Seriously, if I get within about 100 pages of the end of a novel, I generally can't sleep until I know what happens to the characters. So, if I can't get through an entire book, there must be something terribly wrong with it!

To save you all some time, here are a few books that I put down and a few words on why:

Band of Angels by Julia Gregson
This historical fiction novel follows Catherine from her carefree childhood in Wales to her time as a nurse during the Crimean War. I put it down for several reasons:
(1) There wasn't enough romance. I understand that she couldn't stick with her childhood sweetheart, Deio, for the whole novel, but there needed to be some sort of letter writing or pining.
(2) It became clear to me that Catherine was going to get raped. I just didn't have the heart for this one.
(3) It was awfully graphic, but not terribly interesting. I don't mind some interesting nasty-ness, but just plain, boring nasty-ness is unacceptable.

Cocktails for Three by Madeline Wickham
According to Ventress Memorial Library, this book is about the following:
"At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne, and Candice meet at London's swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip. Here, they chat about what's new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work, and everything else that's going on in their lives. Or almost everything. Beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has a secret. And when a chance encounter at the cocktail bar sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events, each one will find their biggest secret revealed."
I think I put this book down because I got through two chapters and just did not care. That's it. It just wasn't at all interesting.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire
My one of my favorite musicals, Wicked, was based off of this popular novel by Gregory Maguire. I generally like fantasy novels, so I thought I'd give this best seller a try. I wish I hadn't. I have a hard time pinning down why I didn't like it, but here are a few reasons:
(1) The fluency was awfully choppy. Awkward sentences are really awkward.
(2) It was dark. I understand that it is meant to be the darker sister to the Wizard of Oz series, but it was mostly depressing.
(3) The details were confusing. As I taught my sixth graders today, exposition is very important in the fantasy genre. This is because you need to provide plenty of details so that your readers can construct your alternative reality in their mind. I spent about 150 pages wondering when I would figure out what was going on.
I ended up putting it down for good after trying to read this novel for three months. It was by far my most disappointing put-down to date.


  1. I haven't read the first 2 but I agree about Wicked. It was very awkward and the details never really sort themselves out. I ended up finishing it and thought it was okay but definitely disappointing.

  2. I thought Cocktails for Three was OK, but just because I already like the author. Definitely not her finest work.