Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Abandoned in 2010

I posted early on about Acceptable Gaps—now I'm adding to that list of rejections with my list of books I started but abandoned in 2010.

Jose Saramago, Death with Interruptions. This one was on my Gaps list—but the writing style was so unwieldy that I couldn't stick with it. One sentence had 78 commas, and a later sentence had 101 commas—I only made it about 35 pages. I'm sorry, but that's letting the form get in the way of the function.

Friedrich Durrenmatt, The Assignment. Every chapter is a single sentence, running over multiple pages. Oddly more readable than the Saramago, but still difficult. I got through about four chapters. Not on Gaps list.

Mary Roach, Stiff. I got about halfway through, but it just dragged on way too long. It was less entertaining to me than Bonk, which I finished earlier in the year. I have Spook but won't pull that off the shelf for another year or two. Not on Gaps list.

Howard Dully, My Lobotomy. I would rather have a lobotomy than finish this horribly-written book, no matter how compelling the actual story may be. It reads as if it was dictated and transcribed, and this guy talks about every single memory he has of his entire childhood. He lost me for good when he said that he really liked bananas—sometimes he would even take a banana up to his room and eat it there. Seriously? This is the irrelevant minutia you're writing about, in a book about icepick lobotomies?!? Editor, you failed. Not on Gaps list—my book group meets tonight about this, and I'm sorry to not finish a book group pick, but I just couldn't do it. (I learned after putting it down that this guy got his book deal after being featured on NPR—this was better left as a short oral history.)

In defense, I'm not a total flake: I am reading books from my list, and am in the middle of Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan right now.

What books have you abandoned this year, and why?


Linda said...

I abandoned another of Saramago's books (not a Gaps book)-Blindness. Same problem. The run on sentences were too difficult for me to read. This year the only gaps book I abandoned was Justine by the Marquis de Sade. It was so boring if you can believe it.

Rachel said...

I think de Sade's Philosophy in the Boudoir is boring in between the filthy parts! Ha. And the filthy parts aren't really all that interesting either. Too funny.

Are all Saramago's books built with run-on sentences? Ugh.