Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Good Book, Bad Book

It's 3:00 in the morning and I've had an epiphany. Eating three double chocolate fudge brownies a half hour before going to bed is really not such a great idea.

Usually if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep I will pick up a book and after a paragraph or two my eyes won't stay open. For some reason this didn't work tonight, and I'm not sure if it is due to the strength of the brownies or the awfulness of the book I'm reading. And by awful, I don't mean scary awful or sad awful. I mean plain, old-fashioned, not an entertaining read awful. I find myself reluctant to name the book or the author, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because now that I've written a book of my own I realize how much time and effort goes into getting published. Or maybe it's because this person is a knitter, and I feel some sort of displaced loyalty.

I've finished 83% of the book (I love that Kindle feature). Normally I would have given up on a book long before this. Life is too short to read a bad book, and there are too many good ones in my queue still waiting to be read. But I have really enjoyed previous books by this person, and I just kept thinking the next chapter would be better. Over and over again, until I now have just 17% of the book left and 0% hope of the book redeeming itself. All I know is it's a sad state of affairs when a book is so bad it won't even put you to sleep.

The last time I was this disappointed by a book was when JK Rowling came out with The Casual Vacancy. It was her first post-Harry Potter book, and remains solidly in the #1 position on my "Worst Books Ever Read" list. The only reason I finished it was the same reason I have now read 83% of my current book. I was sure it would redeem itself before the end. It didn't.

Given how much I disliked A Casual Vacancy, I felt like a sucker when I used my Audible credit to get JK's newest work, The Cuckoo's Calling. I think what intrigued me more than her book was the fact she had written it under the pen name of Robert Galbraith, hoping to hide her true identity.

In my opinion, this time she has written a winner. I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The story was interesting, the characters were well-written, and it left me wondering what had happened right up until the very end. In fact, the story was so good I'm hoping this is the beginning of a series featuring PI Cormorant Strike. (One word of caution. This story is riddled with bad language. It's easy to skip over offensive language in a book, but impossible when listening to an audio version.)

It's now 4:00 in the morning and I think the brownies are slowly losing their grip on me. There might be some hope of catching a couple hours of sleep before it's time to get back up again. I think my strategy should be to eat the remaining brownies for breakfast so there's no danger of them interfering with another night's sleep.



20 comments:

  1. Hi Kristie, It is vaguely comforting to know there are other women who are awake at 3.00 am, a time when it seems quite unreasonable to be wakeful. Now you have given me an idea - next time I'm stuck in the wide-awake zone I'll trot off to the computer and make a blog post! Like the sound of those brownies, and that is a great shot of pink blossoms against the sky. xx

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  2. First of all, I like your strategy of finishing off the brownies for breakfast so you don't eat them before bedtime. My reasoning, though, would be to eat them for breakfast to help me stay awake the rest of the day. As for the book, you must be a very loyal person in general to stick with a book to the end....or it's a testament to just how good a writer the author really is to keep you on the line! :-) The book may indeed be bad, but the author has accomplished what every author hopes for---to have her book read!

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  3. Why do we do it to ourselves?!? I've just had a coffee and it's nearing 11pm so I will probably still be awake at 3am, when will I learn? I usually give a book no more than 10% of my time before I decide whether I will continue or not so at 83% completion you're a much more generous book reader than me. I think your brownie strategy is spot on, enjoy your breakfast tomorrow :-) Mel x

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  4. Isn't it awful when you just lay there, wide awake and the more you think of things to help you sleep, the more awake you become. Truly frustrating! For me, the next day I have no ill effects but perhaps on the second or even third day, when I've forgotten the reason for my tiredness, it hits me, sleep deprivation!!

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  5. I stayed up too late last night and now I feel cranky and irritable. I am so dependent on good sleep. I'm one of those people who will read the whole book even if it's terrible. I wish I could stop doing it because it a huge waste of time! There are so many good books and I need to be reading those instead.

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  6. I think most ladies of a certain age have problems sleeping, nothing to do with the brownies!! I have to finish a book, it feels like a failure not too, regardless of how rubbish it is

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  7. Hope you enjoyed the remaining brownies for breakfast and have a good night's sleep tonight! I will also grab a book if I can't get back to sleep. I used to always read a book all the way through even when I wasn't impressed with it. Now I move on to something else! Sarah x

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  8. Brownies - breakfast of champions! Now why didn't I think of that (confirmed chocoholic that I am)? I'm not as patient as you are with a book that doesn't grab me; I usually only give it a couple of chapters at most to pull me in. And I agree with the other comments that wakefulness in the wee small hours seems to be an affliction of a "certain age", sigh...

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    1. ETA I love the new look of the blog!

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  9. I hope you managed to get some sleep Kristie. I find that radio podcasts help me sleep more than audiobooks, maybe because there is no plot to follow. I am in two minds about giving up on a book. I rarely do but often wish I did! I have the Casual Vacancy book but will send it to the bottom of the pile for now.

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  10. I decided not to read any books that I don't get on with, life is too short and I have too much else that I want to read. I also don't read books that are winners of prestigious awards as I never get on with those!! Hope that the brownies for breakfast thing makes for a better nights sleep tonight!! xx

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  11. Well I was going to suggest sending me the brownies, but sure you go ahead and have them for breakfast ;-)
    Disappointing books are one thing, disappointing books from an author you enjoy are another thing altogether.

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  12. Great strategy! I struggle to sleep often, so I can commiserate. I wish I read more, I used to read a ton but since I've taken up knitting, I seem to spend all my discretionary waking hours knitting or saving patterns from Ravelry! My proudest reading accomplishment though was reading War and Peace a few years ago. It took me four months. Was so worth it. :o)

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  13. Hey Kristie,

    This is the third attempt at a reply. My computer is playing up. So I hope you don't receive two half finished, but similar ramblings! Firstly I love your new header. Secondly I love your hat in your profile picture. Thirdly, I hated Casual Vacancy, but enjoyed Cuckoo's Calling too. I think that it is the start of a series of books. He's a good character, with an interesting back story. I am now a ruthless reader. If I don't like it, I cast it aside. There are too many books out there to worry about it, although I understand your misgivings having published yourself.
    And can I lastly congratulate you on the eating of the three brownies? You are a girl after my own heart!
    Leanne xx

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  14. That is a great plan for the brownies! I'm having trouble with Guns, Germs and Steel. The very start of it. The author seems to be responding to criticism about his work before sharing any of it. It's off-putting. He also goes on and on about how "intelligence" is equal across humanity, regardless of the technology a society possesses. But then he claims the 3rd world group he studied is probably more intelligent than people in western societies--it feels like he's arguing with me even though I haven't said a word. A friend assured me it gets better and I am interested in the topic, but the author is prodding me to want to disagree with him (even when I think he's right).

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  15. Totally agree about eating the Brownies for breakfast, I do hope you did.

    As you know I recently wrote a post that did name and shame the author of a bad book. It surely has to be okay to say, I don't like this and tell folk what the 'this' is. I went a bit beyond that but I was more than disappointed, the book is not at all what it purports to be. I'd say there's a difference between exposing a turkey - matter of opinion - and exposing a con - matter of fact - but I'd be interested in your take on that Kristie.

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    1. I thought your post about the disappointing book you bought was fine, Annie. You gave an honest opinion of the contents of the book, which, from the sounds of it, weren't at all what they were advertised to be. The book I was referring to was a turkey, not a con. Yes, I definitely think it's okay to name a book and author you don't like. It was just in this one case, given the fact that the knitting world is fairly small, that I didn't want to mention names. I did say JK Rowling was responsible for a turkey with her Casual Vacancy book. :-)

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  16. I felt the same way about The Casual Vacancy, gosh I don't even think I finished it. But I have heard the Cockoo's Calling is much better. I just read The Goldfinch and really hated most of it in the middle. It was 300 pages too long, a great idea, but again way too long. I just can't stand it when I feel that way about a book. My last read was The Book Thief, a really great read.
    Hugs to you and I hope you get some sleep.
    Meredith

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  17. I like to go to bed before my husband and read for while...if I don't, then I lie awake for ages, watching the moon traverse over the house or the lights of the aircraft taking off and landing in San Jose....and then fall into a deep sleep at about five o'clock, just when it's time to get up!

    Bad books....there are quite a few I've started and then put down because of historical inaccuracy or because of sheer poor writing....and currently I've returned to Finnegan's Wake....I can bob along on the sheer delight of the flow of language - and think about the meaning at leisure!

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  18. I'm another who has bad nights and good nights and I can't even blame the brownies, though they do sound like a wonderful idea for breakfast. if I can't sleep I read or do sudoku. I simply can't lie there staring into the dark and I don't like listening to the radio in bed.

    As a lifelong bookworm I used to feel duty-bound to finish any book I started, but not now. Life's too short to read poor writing, when there are more great books out there than I have time left to read them. :-)

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