I have a rule here which is that I have to read the first 25% or 100 pages (whichever is shorter) before I can give up on a book, and I don’t review a book where I haven’t reached that mark because it doesn’t give a fair picture of the book.
I’ve had a few books recently where I knew within a few pages that the book was not for me, and quite frankly with 60-hour work weeks and more than 1000 books at home that I haven’t read, I’ve got better things to do with my time. So before these go out of my house, I thought I would set down a few lines here on each of them, especially as most of them were review copies:
Already Gone by John Rector – copy sent by Simon & Schuster (unsolicited but appreciated!). Something unpleasant (very unpleasant) happens in particularly graphic detail to the protagonist on the third page. I’m not normally squeamish when it comes to books (I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy without much trouble), but this made me feel physically ill. Either the horrible thing that happens or the total lack of sleep I was going through at the time. In any case, not for me.
The Barros Pawns by Peter J. Earle – copy sent by Matador Publishing at the author’s suggestion. I rather enjoyed Earle’s other book, Purgatory Road, and had high hopes for The Barros Pawns. When I discovered it was a tale of suspended terrorism, it sounded even better. Unfortunately, it was very dialogue-heavy and stilted dialogue at that – it felt written for the screen rather than a novel.
I may have mentioned this at the time, but A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – use some punctuation, man! I cannot read introspective drivel with no pauses! (borrowed from the library with the intention of participating in a read-along)
Under the Same Stars by Tim Lott – copy sent by Simon & Schuster. I found the protagonist to be in the same distasteful mould as the one in Solar and (read several years ago, pre-blog) The Outsider. And if I already want to hit the protagonist on page 5, chances are I’m not going to get on with the rest of the book.
Escape by Barbara Delinsky – copy sent by Canvas Books. The protagonist walks away from her high-powered city job and her disintegrating marriage, takes the car and vanishes into New Hampshire. I found the idea so absurd, or rather, the protagonist’s selfishness in simply abandoning her life so abhorrent, that I could not engage with the plot.
Have you read any of these?