Monday, March 12, 2007

Unfinished books

Here's an interesting article on the books Britons are most-likely to buy, but not read all the way through.

It got me to thinking about what books I've started and have just not been able to slog my way through to the end. Two that immediately came to mind were Little Women and The Secret Garden. I have read both of them all-the-way-through now - but it must have taken at least a half-dozen attempts for each one.

The funny thing is, I loved the opening chapter of both of them. I would read the opening chapter with enthusiasm. And then I'd get to chapter 2, which wasn't so great (IMHO). I might push myself to read chapter 3 - but that would be about it.

For years, these books haunted me. I could not get through them. I did finally read Little Women after the Winona Ryder movie came out. I absolutely loved the movie and that gave me the courage to attempt the book again. I read it, enjoyed it, and moved on to Little Men and Jo's Boys. Though - it may be worth noting that I've never attempted a re-read of them.

I did not get around to finishing The Secret Garden until last year - when I resolved I was going to get through all those books in the back of my closet if it killed me. I didn't think much of it, and soon got rid of the copy I'd been holding on to for all those years. However, I also discovered Heidi in my closet-raid, and thought that was a fairly good children's book - even though I'd never given it much of a fair chance when I was a kid. It's funny that I didn't like The Secret Garden, though, because I always loved the first chapter - and Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess was one of the seminal books of my childhood. (I wrote many a piece of juvenilia involving orphans and cruel boarding schools after reading that novel.)

But, I guess that's the reading life. You win some, you lose some.

So, what are some books that you could never get through?

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At Mon Apr 02, 11:01:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog posts! You've reccommended so many good books that I want to read. I'm PC Garrison on I'm with you though, I'm currently trying to read Little Women, but I just can't seem to stay interested in it! But the Secret Garden I love! Have you seen the movies? There's two, one's a silly cartoon and then the other is live action directed by Agnieska something Polish which is really good.

At Mon Apr 02, 08:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger Poohba said...

Hi PC!

I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I know I don't update enough, but there are only so many hours in a day!

I don't know what it is about Little Women. *g* I could get into it until about the point where Jo meets Laurie behind the curtain at the party. I reached that point several times only to have my interest drop immediately afterwards. I love the Winona Ryder movie, though; it's one of my favorites, but I guess the filmmakers did leave out a lot of the "talky" parts that tripped me up when I was reading.

Little Men also seemed slow to me, but I wound up really liking Jo's Boys, in which many of the "little men" enjoy romances of their own. Unfortunately, most of the characters in Jo's Boys are introduced in Little Men, so you have to read that one first. There's just no getting around it.

I remember seeing a Hallmark Hall of Fame version of The Secret Garden once. Truth be told, I think I liked that one better than the book. (Don't hate me! *g*)


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