Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Books That Bored Me

While I perfectly enjoy trashing movies and albums (at times), I don't particularly enjoy trashing novels. I try insanely hard to finish every book I read. Maybe not on the first time, but eventually. It took me three tries to get through 'Salem's Lot and (ironically) I had to read Dracula to really connect with 'Salem's Lot on that third time. After I finally finished that one I will say that I enjoyed it a helluva lot. But how could I read Dracula (a book I was literally willing myself to pick up each day) and struggle to get through 'Salem's Lot  (which I found to be far more enjoyable) for so long? Well, at the time I read these two books we had no TV and no A.C. and I had no job. So I read and struggled not to go insane. Frankly, if I hadn't been that bored out of my fucking mind I probably would never have picked up Dracula and 'Salem's Lot and those two would still remain unfinished. This is mostly because vampires aren't my bag. Stories about albinos with sharp teeth interest me about as much as Mike Myers films do. Sure, a few here and there are good for shits and giggles, but I wouldn't want to dedicate a whole row on my bookcase to the stuff.

However, there are just some novels I can't get into. I try not to weigh outside influences as an excuse as to why or why not I didn't finish a particular piece of fiction. That sort of seems... well, like an excuse as to why I didn't read it and not a real reason as to why I didn't like it. Now if there is a legitimate reason then I can get that. Think of this: When I first tried watching the movie Point of No Return (a story about a main character who kills a police officer and must learn to be an assassin) I couldn't make it past the part where she killed the police officer because a local cop had been killed the day before and... well, that just kind of spoiled the mood for me. For all I knew the movie could have been a complete masterpiece (it wasn't), but I wanted to watch something that sort of took my mind off the news. So I watched something else instead that didn't involve cops being killed.

Books like Stephen King's Under the Dome and Cell and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit are all books that come to mind as ones that I couldn't finish because of outside elements creeping in and ruining the experience of reading for me. I could have been reading any book at those times and wouldn't have been able to finish 'em. And those certain experiences have kept me from returning to those pages. Granted what I had read of Under the Dome hadn't thrilled me as much as I thought I would have been before I put it down, but I think judging the book on that basis alone would be putting the cart before the horse. I mean, I finished Gerald's Game and Lisey's Story and what little I read of Under the Dome seemed better than those two.

No, this list is a list of books that just bored the everloving shit out of me no matter how hard I tried reading them. And as such, the list can't really be up for debate. I mean, you can debate if I called a book bad and you loved it or it's some all time classic, but if I found it boring than it is a fact that I was bored and that fact cannot be debated.

5. Lisey's Story by Stephen King - You know, I knew I was reading a Stephen King book and I certainly felt like I was reading a Stephen King book, but I felt like this book also came with a mandatory prescription of Ambien. I found myself wondering if SK should throw out the supernatural altogether on this book or throw out the overbearing sentimentality and just go for the scares while I was reading it because this book just felt off to me. I'm sure a lot of folks like it, but this was one of those books that I read just because it had Stephen King's name on it and not because I really loved it. Gerald's Game and From a Buick 8 were also contenders for this list, too.

4. The Partner by John Grisham - I loved The Rainmaker because of its humor and I like The Firm because it was suspenseful, but this book is SnoresVille. It was the third Grisham book I ever picked up and by this time the lawyer in trouble schtick was already older than yellowed glue. I'm not saying formula is bad, but if you are not going to be consistently good then there's no fucking point in having a formula, is there? Anyway, I'm sure I'll try something else by him down the road. But... it'll probably have a lawyer in it.

3. Ghost Story by Peter Straub - I'm sure you just audibly gasped. This is a book I didn't and couldn't finish. I was more than halfway through and that overbearing feeling that I was reading a textbook on what horror should be like but was incapable itself of being scary just became too much to bear. I wasn't kept in suspense at all. I mean, the writing was good and the characters seemed well-developed, but I kept waiting for the scary part and by the time I reached the halfway mark I just tossed out my "die hard horror fan card" and gave the book up. I might try it again in the future, but... one cannot adequately call this a ghost story if it isn't at least sort of kind of scary. I went into this story with the expectation that I was reading one of the horror novels. This was an elite book... or so I'd been told. And I know there are many fans of this book who obviously saw and felt something I didn't. But man, oh man, was I ever just plain bored outta my mind while reading this.

2. Relentless by Dean Koontz - I bought this in hardcover after I had gotten over the funk of Your Heart Belongs to Me. Yeah, I'm that kind of optimist. This book was the death of my hope in Dean Koontz's ability as a writer these days. I haven't bought a new release Dean Koontz book since, hardcover or otherwise.

1. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz - I bought this in hardcover when it came out. Yep. I did. And boy, did Mr. Koontz just come all over my face as soon as I turned the cover open. Look, I've got a big Koontz collection and he used to be one helluva writer. But while I felt bad about giving Peter Straub's Ghost Story up because I really wanted to like it... I gave this fucker away to Goodwill so fast that your head would spin. I normally feel bad when I can't finish books, but I felt like a champion for even surviving this piece of shit. Granted, I felt bad for giving this to Goodwill because I can't imagine anyone enjoying it, but I sure as hell didn't want to look at it anymore.

It was a quick read at first because I was still expecting that lean and mean style that books like The Good Guy or Dark Rivers of the Heart had to magically appear. But as I was reading it I realized that I had been robbed of my money and I stopped without knowing or caring how it ended. I know Koontz has been phoning it in lately, but this book wasn't just phoning it in. This book was "royally fucking up my cognitive ability to discern one page from the other" phoning it in. Yes, words were written and I know they were supposed to mean something, but I couldn't for the life of tell the fucking difference between page 1 and page 160. If you want your toddler to sleep at night then by all means read him or her a page or two from this book. Of course, your child might hate you for it later on in life.


  1. Here are a few on my boredom list

    The Scarlett Letter - We were forced to read this bore-fest in high school and it was torture. It really shouldn't be boring to a high school student since it involves the local preacher boning the young hotty but alas, tis boring.

    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (SK) - I usually like SK book's no matter what the subject matter but I could not get into this one at all. Thank goodness it was one of his short ones.

    Relentless (DK) - I'm not sure I was bored by this one but I was astonished at how horrible it was. I think it was an attempt at comedy but I'm not sure.

    State Of Fear (Michael Chrichton) - Chrichton wrote good thrillers that were usually topical about the current events of the day. He has had several books made into movies and wrote several screenplays. State Of Fear was about a big climate change hoax and was so ridiculous, I lost it about half way through.

    Trainspotting (Irvine Welsh) - I'm sure this is a great book and by being on my list does not mean it's bad. I actually plan on trying to read it again. What made this boring is that because of the Scottish dialect and Scottish slang used, this was really difficult for me. I was getting lost so much, I couldn't continue and stopped part way through. The movie was really great and this book has awards and great reviews out the ass so I am going to give it another go someday but I am going to have to close myself off in a quiet place with no distractions and concentrate. I guess me reading Trainspotting would be like a Scottish person trying to read Huck Finn. It's the same language but not really. I love Scottish made movies (there are some really great ones if you look hard) but I have to make sure they have sub-titles. It's not only the dialect but they have a whole different kind of slang and it takes a while to process it and figure out what it means. I do love to hear the Scots talk though. And they are the best cussers in the world. I told JD once on the MB that if I ever met him, I wanted him to cuss me out. XD

    "For fuck's sake, man."

    1. I still haven't read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon because it just doesn't seem to draw me. I'm sure I will read it eventually, though.

      And I see that both of us suffered through Relentless. I had very low hopes for this book in the first place and it just didn't live up to them. I agree it was horrible. Platoon was funnier than this book. XD