Blog Hop: Quitting a Story

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Why would you stop reading a book? Too long, wrong genre, bad language, not what you expected, or something totally different?

I had to think about this, because I rarely stop reading a book once I start it.  Partially that’s because I’m pretty judicious about what books I pick up to begin with, and (maybe more so) partially that’s because I have a lot of trouble stopping midway through a story.  I’m a completist–I like to read entire series, or every book a favorite author wrote, and I have a hard time stopping partway through even a story I don’t like.

Sometimes, if a book is really bothering me, I’ll very deliberately finish it anyway–because I can close the book and be done with it, while a half-finished story tends to linger in my mind in a very bothersome way.

So when I do quit a book, it tends to be because the style or narrative is not at all what I was expecting, to an extent that I’m actively not enjoying the reading.  I’ve noted several unfinished books on my list of books read, and a couple were surreal to the point that I couldn’t get into the story at all (though one was philosophical and the other was just TOO silly), one turned out to be experimental poetry I couldn’t make any sense out of, one was far more violent than I had expected, and two were just flat boring.  And then there was one that made me so ANGRY with the clearly abusive relationship presented as romantic that I quit on page 65 in genuine fear I would throw the book across the room if I kept reading.

The most recent book I quit (which will remain nameless) I might yet go back to…it was by an author I like a lot, there was a promise of a masked Robin Hood figure and I really expected to like it–but it was in a quasi-medieval setting, and something about the grinding poverty and the utter lack of life options for the heroine just really depressed me.  And it’s not like I haven’t read other books with those elements, or people in far more immediate crises, and I was guessing life would eventually turn around…but I wasn’t willing to wait for it and be depressed in the meantime.  I might have picked it up on an off-day, though, so I may yet try it again…

So much for me!  What causes you to drop a book halfway through?

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Book Reviews: A Question of Magic and The Son of Neptune

I find myself with an accumulation of Once Upon a Time reads that I have got behind on reviewing—in part because I don’t have quite enough to say on them! So I thought perhaps a round-up, to say a little on each…here’s my first two-for-one review, and I should have another next week!

A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker

Serafina finds herself unexpectedly trapped when she goes to visit an old woman she believes to be her aunt—who turns out to be the legendary Baba Yaga, who has gone into retirement and left Serafina to take over her home and duties. Serafina must answer truthfully the first question anyone asks her, giving her a powerful magic gift akin to prophecy. Unfortunately, each question she answers causes her to age dramatically. She searches for a way to escape her new role and return home to her family and sweetheart.

I have a rocky history with Baker, but I was so intrigued by this question-answering business that I decided to try the book anyway. That wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be, since magic essentially takes over Serafina and forces an answer with no thought or intention from her. But on the plus side, my chief complaint with Baker, characters lacking emotional depth, was so much better here. Continue reading

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Movie Review: The Age of Adaline

Age of AdalineI’m fascinated by time travel and reincarnation and immortals living through different eras, so of course I was intrigued by The Age of Adaline, about a woman who stopped aging in 1937, and in 2015 is, to all appearances, still 29 years old.

There is a plot here, about what happens when Adaline falls in love, jeopardizing the safe but rootless existence she’s been living, hiding her past and her…condition from everyone.  She also bumps into a decades-ago paramour, played in the present by Harrison Ford, complicating life even further.

It’s a pretty good plot, romantic in spots and tense in others, but what really made me love this movie was Adaline herself.  Adaline is played by Blake Lively, who I’ve previously only seen in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, and I’m so impressed by her here.  She was so convincing as an old soul in a young body.  Adaline walks with an incredible amount of poise and confidence, and does seem in many ways older than her physical appearance. Continue reading

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Quotable Charles de Lint

“Sometimes Dick would remember a time when he hadn’t been able to read. All he could do then was riffle the pages and try to smell the stories out of them. But now, oh now, he was a magician too, for he could unearth the hidden enchantment in the books any time he wanted to.”

– Charles de Lint

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Book Review: Jane of Lantern Hill

Regular readers know that I have read a lot by L. M. Montgomery—in fact, every novel, short story, journal and letter available! One of her last books, Jane of Lantern Hill, was also the very last novel of hers I read. I only read it once, and that was several years ago, so it seemed like time for a revisit.

The book opens in Toronto, where Jane lives on the very bleak Gay Street with her domineering grandmother and lively but dominated mother. Under her grandmother’s critical eye, Jane is awkward, unsure and lonely. Jane always believed her father was dead…but in fact her parents simply live apart (not divorced, mind you!) and one day a letter arrives from her father. He wants Jane to come live with him for the summer on Prince Edward Island. And there, of course, Jane finds her true home and her true self.

This book has all of Montgomery’s charm and beautiful descriptions, painting a world that invites the reader in. Jane is another plucky Montgomery heroine, one with more challenges and more character growth to go through than many of the more fortunate ones—who began life on Prince Edward Island! Jane is less of a dreamer and very much a homemaker, delighting in cooking and tidying her house and planting her garden. Somehow Montgomery makes it sound so charming that of course Jane loves doing it all (and I say that as someone who wants to shake Wendy for doing very similar things in Neverland!) Continue reading

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