Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why I might not finish The Ruins

Ok, I know this book has gotten a lot of good press in my circle. And it has all the makings of a book that I'd love. But for some reason, I suspect I may not finish it and may not check it out again. Possible reasons:
  • I can't get into the main characters. Most of them get drunk or throw up at some point in the book, few of them have anything in common with me, and all of them are, for lack of a better word, bitchy. Common fodder for a piece of "good" contemporary fiction, which explains why I don't read much "good" contemporary fiction. They're all too depressive, and they drink too much. Jeff is the only one I have feelings for or can relate to. I also find the "villain" intriguing, but one can read only so much of a villain's antics.
  • Since I knew I wouldn't finish by the book's due date (things have changed since the snow storm, but oh well), I "read ahead." This is a technique I perfected for books in which I want to know what happens, but I don't want to have to rush my reading to find out, and also books that "lose me." I read parts of the end, and then skim back to read parts of the middle. In fact, there was still rather a large chunk of middle, and I found myself saying, sheesh, what on earth happens for a hundred pages? As I skimmed, I saw, not much. I read completely the first hundred pages or so, and was very interested, but I honestly don't feel like I'm missing much not completely reading the rest. If you're not that into the characters, the character development is kind of wasted. In effect, I feel like I've already read the book, and I'm not that anxious to read it again as I would be if it were, say, Harry Potter (with which I commonly skim through the last couple of chapters once I've gotten to the halfway point--but I always go back and read it all properly).
  • I have this strange feeling as if I have read this before. In fact, I sort of have. It's called Phantoms, and it's by Dean Koontz, and it interested me all the way through, with a couple of characters I could relate to. In fact, after I put down The Ruins, I pulled Phantoms out again.
  • It's winter. In the book it's hot. My brain can't make sense of this. It might as well be another planet.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this is a bad book. But I'm more of a set-up girl--I like to read the tense stuff, the suspense, and those first inklings that something is wrong, right through to the discovery of the element of terror. But once things get going, so often that suspense disappears in favor of gore. There are genuinely horrific but not gory moments in the part that I didn't "read right," but I don't know...I just didn't feel like I wanted to read this book with my days off. It isn't a horror that leaves you feeling uneasy when the lights are off, which is the kind I like best. I liked parts and ideas in the book, but I just wasn't as into it as I expected to be.
Maybe when it comes out in paperback.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Life is too short to force yourself through books you're not enjoying. I used to feel guilty when I set aside a book forever without finishing it, but...I think I'm over that problem now.