Isn’t it lovely when you open a book, and from the very first sentence, time seems to fly? Your fingers flip the pages so fast you’re surprised in retrospect that you didn’t get papercuts. You couldn’t stop reading the book. It was just that awesome. You couldn’t wait to finish it. You didn’t want to finish it! You found your little piece of bookworm heaven.
Yeah, this post isn’t about those books. Sorry.
This is about the books that forced us to focus. That taught us the true meaning of relativity.
To rip-off one of my favorite bad-good movies and turn the phrase into one more fitting:
“You open up a great book, and an hour can seem like a minute. You open up a bad book, and a minute can seem like an hour.”
However, it is worth nothing that some of these books we liked in the end. (Maybe didn’t love, obviously, but liked well enough.)
Top Ten Tuesday topics are provided courtesy of Broke and Bookish.
Ten Times We Toiled to Trudge Through the Type
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
I like Alastair Reynolds’ work. I really do. Its just, well, the man has a propensity for turning on the verbal diarrhea and not knowing how to stop it. Revelation Space was truly a trudge for me, and oh dear sweet baby Cthulhu, I want to forget I ever read it. Actually, wait, it was so unmemorable that I’ve basically already forgotten it. Heh!
Ultimate Verdict: Blah
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
I read it ’cause I said I’d read it. I read it ’cause it was one of those books you’re supposed to read. And I hated it. Then I even watched the movie because everyone said it was so much better. I couldn’t like the movie either. For a relatively thin book, it sure feels like PKD was, er, dicking around a lot.
Ultimate Verdict: Blah
Extracted by R.R. Haywood
It puttered around, it stalled in the middle. The dialogue made me giggle. There were flashes of brilliance that were drowned in lakes of mediocrity. It wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been.
Ultimate Verdict: Okay
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Can I just insert a gigantic yawn here? This is a book that promised one thing (science fiction!) and delivered another (fantasy masquerading as science fiction). There was no payoff in the end, and I can barely remember anything about this book other than it tricked me and I don’t like it.
Ultimate Verdict: Blah
Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
I’m not sure what was going on in Forty Signs of Rain, but it was KSR at the worst I’ve ever seen him. Dear Cthulhu, nothing happened in this book other than people being people until like the last 30 pages. It was literally a gigantic rant on how climate change is happening and politicians won’t pay attention. I like climate change fics. I agree that politicians need to pay attention! But you don’t need to dress up your rant as a book and then try to shove it down our throats. GAH!
Ultimate Verdict: Blah
Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff
I generally like Akexandra Sokoloff’s books. I don’t know what the heck happened in this book. The characters are insanely annoying. The detective goes back and forth between belief and disbelief he was like a human yo-yo. And he was a dick to everyone. The witch is pretentious and annoying and rather than hoping they would get together I was hoping they’d fall off a cliff.
Ultimate Verdict: Get. It. Away. From. Me
Just Plain Weird by Tom Upton
This was a book that I was so close to liking. Alas. There were way too many coincidental contrivances. Major plot points are either skimmed over or left totally unanswered. The main character is likable enough but the Love Interest? I think the author was going for Quirky, Unique and Cute but missed and landed on Annoying, Judgmental, and Psychotic.
Ultimate Verdict: Just Plain Contrived
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This book is creepy and interesting but holy Cthulhu. The footnotes, all the footnotes, annotations along with the kitchen sink that I’m sure is hiding in there make this a pretty hefty book to slog through. I’d recommend the full color edition. I don’t know how much different the reading experience is but it’s prettier.
Ultimate Verdict: Worth the trek but you better carve out a good month or so.
Rage of Spirits by Noel Hynd
So, so boring. To give you an idea I’ll quote myself and my Goodreads notation: “This book is moving so slow. I think it fell asleep.” I know I sure did. A lot. It took me five months to finish this book and made me very disinterested in reading any others by Noel Hynd.
Ultimate Verdict: Yawn
Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
It can be a fascinating book at times and at others a bit pedantic. It also reads a bit more into some things that I can’t agree with. It also overrates the Paranormal Activity series more than it should. I’m sure my antipathy toward that series has long been known. however, it raises some interesting questions about the nature of the Found Footage sub-genre and the viewer’s reaction to it. It also lists quite a few that are not very well known.
Ultimate Verdict: Interesting but only if you’re deeply interested in the film industry and this sub-genre in particular.
So, dear readers, what books did you toil to trudge through? Everyone’s is different, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you loved one of the ones we whomped on with dismay.
9 thoughts on “Ten Times We Toiled to Trudge Through the Type”
I felt the same way you did about Just Plain Weird. Almost felt like a rough draft. I’d like to try Found Footage Horror Films.
Yeah, I tried to get through ‘Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep’. Nope.
‘House of Leaves’ was interesting, but too creepy for me. I discontinued about 3/4 of the way through. I guess I didn’t really want to know how it turned out. :-/
Makes you glad there’s such a diversity of books out there, doesn’t it? Something for everyone!
I’m about to start House of Leaves, now I’m worried, haha! Great list, thank you for sharing!
I hope you enjoy it! I took one look at it in the library, went “NOPE!” and put it right back on the shelf.
Don’t be scared! It really is worth it. It actually looks a bit thicker because some pages, to denote time or action, will only have a few words on it. It does really work because you feel like as you’re flipping faster the action is moving. It’s a weird but interesting effect.
Also, if anyone is interested in music, Poe’s CD ‘Haunted’, directly references House of Leaves throughout the CD. Mark Z. Danielewski is Poe’s brother. There’s even a version of her song ‘Hey Pretty’ that has cuts of him reading a few pages of the book. If anyone’s interested let me know and I’ll link you to the video.
Another recommendation, lol. There is a companion book to The House of Leaves called The Whalestoe Letters. It’s kind of a rip-off though so unless you’re really, really into the book I’d not get it.
I got interested in it because it was one of the inspirations for Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill 4: The Room.
I have a beautiful copy of House of Leaves and man, is it intimidating. I want to read it, but I know it will bog me down and I am a one-at-a-time reader so I know it will interfere with everything else I want to read – which is everything it seems!
I think I read Book of Shadows but if I did, I KNOW I don’t remember it!
My ‘want to read but intimidates me’ is S/ Ship of Theseus by V.M. Straka.
Yeah, lol, HoL is definitely one you’d have to read straight through. It’s not very easy to pick up and put back down. For a little more info on i I left a longer comment above.
I don’t blame you for forgetting Book of Shadows, lol. For people that start with that one they may never want to go near Alexandra Sokoloff again. Luckily I had read several of her books before and knew she could do much, much better
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