Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To read, or to read in bits? That is the question.

uhhh… sorta

I have vowed to never, ever do review-y type things here. Mainly because I'm not good at leaving them alone and would end up doing stuff like this, but worse, and the whole process would drive me nuts.

What follows is an addendum to an earlier post, so please keep in mind through the rest of this that I truly enjoyed Cooking With Fernet Branca. This is more in the nature of a quibble, and it might not even be the book that's caused it. CWFB is a very funny, hugely entertaining book and my memory of certain passages still makes me grin like this at odd moments, but with marginally greater overtones of the sinister kind (my teeth are pointier):

But it's now been six days since I finished the book, and its ending is beginning to bother me a tad.

Perhaps it's because I had to stop reading about 30 pages from the end? Then I made the fatal error of picking it up after a long, tiring day and so didn't have enough book left for the momentum to kick in. I really hope so.

It's not really a crash, bang, wallop ending. There's a bish, bash, bosh and the whirring of machinery (again) and this was the point where I had to break off. It left me wondering all day about The End. Then I picked it up, and the rest of the story meandered on to a fairly decent resolution. But over the last couple of days I've started to have the nagging feeling that after an attempt to move on, things looked as if they were heading for a slide back into the former status quo.

Maybe that's the point? Truthfully, this would suit the characters. They aren't exactly on a quest for personal growth. Also I've read other books with similar endings and not had any problem with them at all. I've liked some of them quite a lot. And I don't require every loose end tied up in a neat bow. So I just can't put my finger on what bugs me about this one. Maybe I'm turning into a bit of a drama queen. Or maybe it was only a question of my unfortunate timing.

Anyhow, I've been hunting around online to see what other people thought but haven't found anything that chimes yet. The Amazon reviews are either glowing or bitterly disappointed because the book's not H-P's usual style. It is a big change for him, apparently, which oddly makes me more inclined to find some of his other stuff and make the comparison. There's also this interview with the writer, which is interesting (great magazine title *koffkoff*) but doesn't help my dilemma.

I think I need to re-read, but can't quite face it yet because I don't want this nagging feeling to spoil the fun of the the book. So if anyone's read it or has had a similar experience with another book, any thoughts? Related to this, can breaking off at the wrong moment affect your enjoyment of a book? Or is it down to the writing? Are books meant to be read in one sitting or should a reader be able to put them down at any point and pick them up again later? Or is it just that certain books are more enjoyable when gobbled up in one sitting and others are better savoured in delicious bits over an extended period of time?


Suisan said...

maybe it's like stopping the video to get more ice cream, but when you get settled back on the couch, the movie just never sucks you back in.

I haven't experienced the drop off at the end, but there are plenty of books which don't grab me at the beginning, and if I'm interrupted, I find I have to start back at page one in order to get the flow to work.

I'm sure there's a more careful way to say all of that--this came out as some Zen babble thing. Need more coffee.

Oh, and you can go read about Monkeytown if you wish--just be aware that it doesn't involve any monkeys. Sorry.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Thanks for the Monkeytown post, Suisan. Just the fact that the words "Monkeytown" peppered the entire thing meant I didn't even miss actual physical monkeys.

Think you're onto something with the video idea, so thanks as well for adding it to the mix. Must ponder more...

Anonymous said...


interrupting a book close to the end is fatal.

Death xxx

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Death! You're here. I mean there!

Next time, may just sit on the metro until I finish, rather than bother with this nonsense of getting to work on time. Can't believe I let employee dedication get in the way of a good book.

PS. So vvvvv sorry to have missed you guys again. Hope you had a lovely visit.

RPC said...

I'm loving how 'Death' herself is giving us some sort of health warning.