Feb 28, 2009

reading frustrations

about my reading challenge
I'm not doing very well with the next two books I picked up for the 9 for '09 Challenge. The first one, Kon-Tiki, I've been enjoying very much. But my particular copy has a very bad smell. I usually avoid acquiring (or keeping, if they get into my house) books that have a cigarette or mildew odor, but this one got by me unnoticed. And it's different. It wasn't until I'd sat reading for about ten minutes that I had to ask those in the room: does someone have gas? because there was a subtle but awful stink arising. It gave me a headache and nausea. It came out when I fanned the pages (a habit, my hands can't sit still while I'm reading). I thought at first perhaps I felt ill for other reasons (our neighbor just got over the flu, so maybe I'd caught it?) but just in case I left the book alone until the next day. Then I read it outdoors, at the park. In the open air it took longer (twenty minutes) but the odor still made me feel sick again. Yesterday I didn't read it at all- and no headaches, no nausea. So I'm pretty sure it's the book. And this makes me upset, because I was enjoying it very much, and don't want to put it down! I guess I'm going to have to find another copy (it's one I want to add to my personal library) or try to build a stinky-book box and read it near the end of the challenge.

So while I was taking a break from Kon-Tiki's fumes, I started in on The Grail War. I know this book was a gamble for me, because I felt ambiguous about its predecessor, Parsival, or a Knight's Tale. For the first thirty pages the same thing kept me interested in this one- the vivid descriptions of time and place. But although Parsival himself has grown in character, there are still plenty of atrocious deeds done by others in these pages, and I'm getting tired of reading about them. Especially as the plot feels very meandering and new characters wander in and out without introduction. I just wrote yesterday about a book where a harsh setting and uncivil deeds didn't bother me, because they made sense in the context, and I could clearly see and sympathize with the characters' motives. But in this book that's all very muddled and I'm starting to feel like it's just a showcase for crudeness and brutality. Still, I don't want to give up on one of my challenge books, so I think I'm going to slog through it. Ugh. Maybe I'll speed read. Will that still count?


Lezlie said...

Speed reading counts if you can recall at least part of the story. :-)

Stinky books. Yuck. And a real bummer because it looks like a good book!


Bybee said...

That's really bad when a book has such a stink that you get headache and nausea. My sympathies. Had to laugh though at you laying the blame on your husband first! LOL. I probably would have, too!

Bookfool said...

I'm not a speed reader, but if it's not going well I pick up the pace a bit and I think it counts just fine. I can see what a book you consider a "showcase for crudeness and brutality" would be one you want to get over with.

Jeane said...

Lezlie- It is. A very good book! The other one- yeah, I'm just going to start reading faster.

Bybee- It was pretty funny. I just couldn't imagine such a smell coming out of a book!

Bookfool- I'm almost done with it. This book has some of the worst scenes I've ever read!

Trish said...

Can you substitute out the icky books for another one? I know that defeats the purpose, but definitely not fun reading something you don't like (or is incredibly stinky). I guess by now you're probably finished anyway.

Jeane said...

Trish- No, this challenge doesn't allow substitutions. I had to find another copy of the same book to read- which was okay, because I knew by that time I'd want to keep the book.