Books I couldn’t finish

I hate giving up on books. If I make it past the first page, I almost always stick with it until the end. But this week I had to give up on two that were seriously slowing me down.

First: “The Hot Zone” by Kevin Sites. This dude’s a war correspondent for Yahoo! and this book’s a combination of reporting and memoir. I tried so hard to finish this one. I think I got past the two-thirds mark. But there was one really, really obnoxious thing I couldn’t get past. Every chapter is broken up with many, many subheads. Subheads that completely interrupt the action and jar your concentration. Don’t get me wrong—I totally love subheads; they’re great for building suspense or guiding the reader. But this is a subhead overdose: In one 15-page chapter, there are no fewer than 13 of them.

I think I know what the writer (or his editor) was trying to do. Sites is a blogger. If we make the chapters short and divide them up into four-paragraph chunks, that’s like the same thing right? Oh, no. No, it’s not. Also, I do not recommend reading this book before you go to bed.

Second: “The Woman Who Wouldn’t” by Gene Wilder. I love Gene Wilder, but I could not get past the second chapter of this novel. It’s difficult to explain why. It was already coming off as sexist, and the writing was simplistic, without any charm or nuance. Shame.

One Comment

  1. Kate

    I, too, feel horrifically guilty when I bail on books. Even a few pages feels like a massive investment, & I’ve got to give it a shot. I’m working on “Atonement” right now, but I don’t like it –pretentious, obnoxious, overly flowery & verbose, but SO MANY people like it that I feel obligated to try harder to enjoy it…

    PS: Same thing with “The Memory Keeper’s Daghter.” Have you read it? I did finish this one — it disappointed in the end, even though parts were really interesting.

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