Guys, I’ve got a bit of a confession. It might make you cast me into a river and call me a witch, or hurl me through the nearest inter-dimensional portal, but I don’t know if I like Neil Gaiman books.
As part of my new quest to be a better reader in 2013, I’ve been taking on about a book per week. In the course of this endeavor I’m trying out genres/authors I never thought I’d read, and I’m catching up on all those recommendations people have made to me over the years.
And while a book per week isn’t near as arduous as it sounds, the only books I’ve had trouble getting through in a week have been Gaiman’s. I don’t have anything against the guy. He seems like a perfectly reasonable fellow, and a fantastic writer to boot. But for some reason, his books are like wading through a pool of melted gummy bears.
OK, that’s a lie. I sort of know why they’re hard to get through. I’ve found them a bit boring.
American Gods? Fantastic concept that felt maybe a couple hundred pages too long. I loved the atmosphere, and some of the characters were fantastic, but none of them happened to be the guy in the spotlight. Overall I still enjoyed it, but I was a bit surprised by all the hype surrounding American Gods — I’ve referred to it as The Godfather of modern fantasy books, and people treat it as such.
The Graveyard Book was a bit easier to swallow, which makes sense, seeing as how it’s a children’s book. A dark and humorous take on The Jungle Book (with a boy raised in a graveyard instead of the wild) sounds like more fun than shot-putting gnomes through rings of fire. But for some reason, the premise took its time to get going, and by the time I liked what was going on the book was almost over. Like American Gods, I’m glad I read it and enjoyed it over all, but it’s going to be hard for me to pick up one of Gaiman’s books in the future. We may just not be a great fit, and that’s OK.
But it made me wonder, when I was struggling to fight through these two books — what would it take for me to set these books down and not pick them back up? Growing up, I’d always finish books, games, movies that I started, but these days I tend to have very little patience with most forms of media, since my time to consume these kinds of things isn’t exactly plentiful. Yet for some reason, I treat books differently. I grind my way through them, no matter what, and I’m not really sure why.
So my question is: when do you set down entertainment that’s not, well, entertaining you? How long do you give a book to convince you that it’s worth your time? Or do you never consider putting something down until it’s done? Thoughts?