Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two "Did Not Finish" Books

V for VendettaFirst off is V for Vendetta, the graphic novel by Alan Moore. It takes place in a dystopian UK of the (then) future 1990's, after a war left the UK standing nearly alone. A highly (outwardly) moral Fascist regime rose to power after the anarchy brought about by the devastation of the war, a regime that doesn't allow any difference in race or sexual orientation or, really, opinion. The mysterious "V" appears on the scene, and in superhero fashion begins to take out leaders of the regime.

I really expected to love this novel, from what I had heard of it. It started out rather good, but just didn't live up to what I had expected. It was rather dry, for my taste, and the dreary, uninteresting art did nothing to spice it up. I made it through the first three chapters ("issues") and finally gave up.

The heir of RedclyffeThe second one I didn't finish is the Heir of Redclyffe. It began with the worst first sentence I can remember reading:
"The drawing-room of Hollywell House was one of the favoured apartments, where a peculiar air of home seems to reside, whether seen in the middle of summer, all its large windows open to the garden, or, as when our story commences, its bright fire and stands of fragrant green-house plants contrasted with the wintry fog and leafless trees of November."
Despite that inauspicious start, I was still willing to give it a try. The author, Victorian novelist Charlotte Mary Yonge, was quite popular in her day and I am always interested in a Victorian author I've not yet read.

I made it less than 10% of the way through the novel and realized that I still really had no clue what the book was meant to be about. I had an uneasy feeling that one particular character was going to turn nasty, but couldn't be sure, and hadn't developed enough interest in any of the other characters (except perhaps Bustle the dog) to be concerned about what does happen to them. After nearly two weeks of trying to read it (and yes, only making it about a tenth of the way through), I finally admitted defeat this afternoon.



  1. How interesting
    One reason I abandon stories is if they make me sad
    Like I recently have left
    Major Pettigrew's Last stand
    Harvesting the heart

  2. I also don't like them if I feel like the characters are spiraling toward disaster. I just feel so helpless and uncomfortable reading it. It has to be a really good author to make me stick with one of those, or like you, with a sad book. I read to escape, for the enjoyment of reading. Sometimes the author is so good (Nabokov and Lolita for example) that no matter how horrible the subject, the prose is so fantastic that it's a great reading experience. Otherwise, there are way too many good books out there for me to waste my time slogging through one that generates negative feelings!