A big dry all right, and not just in the fields

I work in a library, I love to read. I’m surrounded all day by books. I see new ones come in and go out, and have a lot of conversations with colleagues and with customers about their favourites and their latest reads.

But I’m suffering a book drought as parched as a Hawkes Bay wheat field. Let me explain: I read the blog, check out the New Titles, take recommendations from many more learned than I, and every book  but one I’ve read or attempted to read this year I’ve given up on.

I’ll tell you about the book I have actually finished, recommended by our blogging guru, robertafsmith. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It was just as she described, a lovely gentle read, which I don’t come across very often, being a fan of bleak in all its forms and I did fall in love with Harold, just a little bit.

But then I moved onto Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I kept hearing his name mentioned and had never read his books, so I gave this a go and at my usual decision point, on page 33 where the library has a label placed. If a story hasn’t grabbed me by page 33, life is too short, so I stop reading. And this fell into that category… maybe fans out there can persuade me to give it another go?

Then there was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This I could see was a wonderfully written book, but it was spoiled for me by the movie curse. The movie, I thought, was wondrous. And when I started to read the book, they were so close in language and the pictures I saw in my mind, I felt a weird mix of deja vu and sadness and I gave up on that too.

The latest, was given up on for pure laziness reasons. I can read big books, I’ve done it before, but I found Capital by John Lanchester at over 600 pages, was just too heavy to read in bed at night. I feel deep shame at being so shallow and pathetic, both in mind and body, but what’s a girl to do?

So, here’s the challenge. Tell me what to read, please! It can’t be too heavy, just had a movie released based on it or have characters I just don’t care about…

Or, tell me to snap out of it and tell me why I should give the above books a go.

9 thoughts on “A big dry all right, and not just in the fields

  1. bronnypop 20 March 2013 / 1:21 pm

    Oh no! Don’t give up on Neil. Admittedly Neverwhere is a bit shonky in places, but the story is great, and the characters are winners too – Mr Croup! Mr Vandemar! It started life as a BBC series, so you may be picking up on the novelisation vibes. If you want to try again, maybe start with American
    Gods. Or for a change, have a look at Wool – dystopian novel making huge waves in the US right now. Then there’s my last year’s favourite, Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker, if you want to try some more weirdy magical urban stuff. Good luck – I hit a dry spell in Feb and it was awful.

    • bronnypop 20 March 2013 / 1:23 pm

      Oh, and I forgot to say that there’s a new BBC Radio adaptation of Neverwhere on at the moment, starring man-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberpatch and James MacAvoy. It’s on BBC4, and you can listen online.

  2. Bibliobishi 20 March 2013 / 10:17 pm

    I loved Capital. Its a big book and hard going holding it in bed true but for me it got to don’t want to put it down status. It wasn’t heavy it was family…
    to paraphrase. Great people study, I was living in Pepys Street with these annoying, selfish, interesting and charming people. Persist with Mr Lanchester after you have invented a device for holding a hefty book whilst reclining on down pillows.

    • robertafsmith 21 March 2013 / 10:17 am

      I totally agree, it was one of my best reads last year. How about getting it out as an e-book Jacqui?

      • simonehindin 21 March 2013 / 11:21 am

        CCL has it as an audiobook which is even better for reclining.

  3. Helen Clare 21 March 2013 / 12:19 pm

    I related so much to what you are saying. I’m a great non-finisher of books and I’m amazed at how often the drought breaks by reading a young adult title. There is so much great writing in that area, and I think I like them because they are so pithy and honest. And if you like bleak I can recommend Siobhan Dowd’s A Swift Pure Cry which is fantastic. Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts (also published as The Brides of Rollrock Island) is another amazing novel. I don’t usually read bleak stuff but these two authors are compelling and entirely suitable for adults!

    • purplerulz 22 March 2013 / 4:32 pm

      I’m a big reader of YA, it’s what I read most I would say. But I thought I would be big and brave and try some grown up books!

  4. purplerulz 22 March 2013 / 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your words of encouragement… I promise to go back to Capital, it did seem full of interesting characters, as I said, it was sheer laziness on my part… and the e-book/ audio book suggestion was brill – should of course thought that myself!

  5. Ina kyle 23 March 2013 / 2:58 pm

    Go back to the old and true..anything by John Wyndham.

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