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?