A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Chain - Do I Dare Continue?

We're back for another round of the blog chain and today's question is brought to you by the letter S...er...okay, by that ever-amazing Shaun Hutchinson, who asks:

What are three books you would tell people that they need to keep reading even if they aren't immediately sucked in by the first page?

This has been truly difficult for me to answer.  I mean I really agonized over coming up with an answer.  The biggest reason is because I am the least patient (and probably pickiest) reader on the planet.  If the blurb on the back cover or the excerpt I find online doesn't draw me in immediately, I'm not likely to give it a try.  And if I read through the first few pages and get bored, I'm probably not going to keep reading.  Yeah, I have no problem whatsoever with tossing a book to the side (which is probably why I'm so picky about picking it up in the first place).  So trying to remember three books that I actually did keep reading (even though every fiber of my gut was yelling "Abandon Ship") and found to be enjoyable later on in the story has been incredibly hard.

The first book I came up with is one I believe I've talked about before - Russka by Edward Rutherford.  I absolutely love this book and have ever since I first read it.  I did not however, love it immediately.  See, my parents handed me a copy while I was home on leave and I cringed.  I had really never been a fan of historical fiction (or even non-fiction for that matter) and yet they were so eager for me to read it that I relented.  I agonized through the first few chapters, not really getting into it but going through the motions nonetheless.  Then somehow it just clicked.  And I raced to the end with a grin.  Oh, and it is because of this book that I now enjoy most historical fiction.

Following on the coattails of that is Hawaii by James Michener.  Okay, I can hear everyone getting ready to throw things at me.  Yes, the guy was a great (awesome stupendous incredible) writer.  But Hawaii was the first time I became exposed to him (once again thanks to my parents) and the sheer level of detail he poured into the book put even Tolkien to shame.  It bored me to tears.  Once again however, I trudged through and in the end found myself loving the book.

My last choice is kind of a cheat, considering Michelle H. beat me to it but my reasons are different than hers.  The book is none other than The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I had already read The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, so I was prepared for Sir Tolkien's avalanche of description (nor did I realize The Silmarillion was a prequel story).  What I struggled with in this particular tome was the concepts he was trying to introduce us to.  I read and re-read and re-re-read passage after passage in this book.  I honestly can't say at what point I began enjoying it either.  I just know that by the end I was loving it and truly appreciating all the work he had put into building his world.

Beyond these three, I can't really think of too many books I've suffered through. The list of books I've put down due to boredom however, would undoubtedly be longer.  If you didn't have a chance to read what Michelle H. had to say, head on over there.  And tomorrow you can look forward to Michelle Mclean's answer.

What books have you almost put down that eventually redeemed themselves?


Michelle H. said...

Oh, I fully agree about The Silmarillion. It's pretty... um... meaty. Although it's a prequel, I'd still recommend for people to read the full LOTR series before tackling that one.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm pretty sure I read The Silmarillion after LOTR, but either way, it's tough reading!

Michelle McLean said...

I haven't read any of those. I might have to try a couple :D Great list!

Christine Fonseca said...

Oh yes to ALL OF THESE!!!! Great list

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I haven't read any of these, but my mom was quite taken with The Silmarillion. She did say it was tough to read but really cool.

I'm like you. This was a difficult exercise for me. Most of the time, unless the book was written by someone I sort of know or has been buzzed to the heavens, if it's not catching my interest, I'll stop reading. I'm still only partway through my first Vince Flynn book (Transfer of Power) which my husband thought was the best. I promised him I'd finish it, though. Doh. It's going to be tough unless the detail eases up a little, and soon! :)

Matthew MacNish said...

By the time I got to the Silmarillion, I was already so in love with Middle Earth that there was no way I wasn't going to get into it quickly.

But it isn't really a novel, more like a collection of legends, so I can see your point. There's no character arc and no real plot development so it's hard to feel drawn into it if you don't love the setting.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Eric, I think this list confirms it - we are at the total opposite ends of the reading spectrum;) But isn't it wonderful that such a wonderful spectrum exists so that we can all find books we love?

Jonathon Arntson said...

I'm not going to lie: Michener scares the crap outta me. I want so badly to read him, but I am daunted by the depth and breadth of his tales. If I do pick one up, what would be the best to start with?

Abby Annis said...

I haven't read any of these, though I did try The Silmarillion. Loved Lord of the Rings, but I could not get into that one. :)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I read the Silmarillion way way back when. I wouldn't do it again.

I'm actually interested in hearing some of the books you put down never to pick up again!