Tuesday 10 August 2010


The post I meant to put up will have to wait, because I've got the wrong bits of my camera out... so instead I shall tell you how I've failed at a recent book.

I mentioned it a while ago, and it was for book group tonight (which I actually didn't attend, because I'd forgotten Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife were passing through on their way from visiting friends far up north). Yes, it's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I don't often give up on books, but I gave up on this... because I was finding it so infernally dull, and then I read Elaine's recent post on it, and thought that it might develop into the wrong sort of not-dull...

I know it's an enormously successful series, and has highlighted all sorts of violence against women which needs uncovering, but... well, I might be able to admire the author's intentions, but I can't admire his writing. Another failure with very popular books... I'll retreat to my idiosyncratic doctoral research and my 1930s housewives' novels, thanks very much...


  1. Here! Here! I'll join you.

  2. There's too many good books out there to waste time on the bad (or the not-so-good, if you prefer that). I'm passing on this one as well.

  3. I didn't really like this book- and for a while there I felt as if I was the only one! I think the highlighting violence against women part was overrated, it felt all a bit voyeuristic to me and overly brutal.

    On another note- hi! I've never commented on your blog before (I think) so just a note to say how much I enjoy it :)

  4. Well, not everyone likes every book!
    I enjoyed book number one and have put number two on my TBR list.
    I also like the housewife books!!
    First note also.
    Have you ever read The City of Trembling Leaves or The Cloister and the Hearth. They sit on my nightstand awaiting me.

  5. I'm with you Simon. I tried three times and could not get past 70 pages or so in this book. I get amazed stares followed by looks of pity from people when I tell them this and then they say that it's all prologue to Book 2 in the series. Please save me from these people - life is too short.

  6. I thought the first in the series was ok, didn't see what all the fuss was about though. I mean, it was good but not great. The second book I read some, skimmed some. The third I found unreadable. So those are my comments on this trilogy that every one seems to have gone gaga over. I don't blame you for not bothering, after all, life's too short to read a bad book. (Or what you perceive to be a bad book.)

  7. Thank you for freeing me...now I don't have to jump on the band wagon and read one of these.

  8. Stick with what you know, Simon. :)

    I never read train books (books that are so popular EVERYONE is reading them on the train) because invariably they never turn out to be as a good as everyone says they are and life is too short to waste time reading bad books.

  9. This one was a bit over the top for me. Had a look at at it in the bookshop and it really did not strike me as profound literature.

  10. I have no interest in reading this anyway, Simon, (I don't do well with modern crime as it is) and you and Elaine cemented my gut feeling.

  11. It takes me back to Captain Corelli's Mandolin. People kept telling me that the first 100 pages were a bit slow to get into, and the ending was rubbish, but that the middle was amazing. I want the whole book to be amazing, not to come out thinking a third of it was ok. Bad people.

    Well done for making the effort, and better done for knowing when to call it a day!

  12. Oh I was bored silly by this one, I gave up after about 50 pages, too many books and too little time and all that. I have seen the film which I thought was brilliant, really clever, quite dark and threatening - a perfect thriller basically.

  13. I loved it. On the other hand, I just gave up on The Slap, and it's had great reviews all over the place.

  14. I love this series and can't wait to start the third one. But letting a book go if you're not into it is also a good thing as there are so many other books to read and not enough time! I'm trying to do that more frequently these days, although it's still difficult. I wish I'd done that with Captain Corelli's Mandolin too.

  15. Here's another way to look at it - it is the failure, not you! Your words make me think of the old Kinks' song 'you can keep all your smart modern writers; give me William Shakespeare!' amen.

  16. Simon, there are so many decent souls like you who feel bad about having given up on a book. Don't be hard on yourself. Congratulate yourself on having given this one a try and then feel glad about moving on to something else that is better suited to you right now. I've never felt tempted by this particular series. You've made me even more convinced, so thanks for saving me some time. If only the people on this earth who really have something to feel guilty about had the conscience of a book addict.

  17. Thanks for the link to my post Simon which has led a lot of readers to leave comments on Random. I am also glad that one of your commentators uses the word voyeuristic as I used this too. the fact that an author could write of torture, rape and incest in this way made me feel nauseous and I am not easily shocked. In fact, I have read worse but somehow there was something nasty about this that really got to me. I really cannot explain why.

  18. I brought this AGES ago on the recommendation of my father but I cant for whatever reason bring myself to start reading it. Im not really a crime reader which doesnt help.

  19. Daniel - wise decision ;-)

    Susan - I'm just baffled as to its popularity! Onto preferred books...

    cat - lovely to have you comment :) Especially with such an adorable picture! I'm glad a few of the non-likers are coming out of the woodwork - I was feeling like the only one too!

    Barbara - glad you enjoyed it :) I haven't heard of those books, actually... but I like the titles!

    EllenB - Hurrah for company! Yes, I have no time for 600+ page books which just set up the next 600+ page book...

    Yvette - gold star for perseverance! I don't have the patience...

    Thomas - haha, yes, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't enjoy this. Then again, I could be wrong! But so many *other* books to read, probably not worth taking the risk.

    Rachel - I did feel a little ashamed on the bus, I wanted to say "I normally think for myself with what to read!"

    Simon Thomas - not profound is definitely right! (Still feels like I'm replying to myself when I type your name!)

    Claire - I think that was my problem; I don't read crime novels (although I do like detective novels) - so I suppose it was never going to work for me.

    Hayley - oh gosh, I hated Captain Corelli's Mandolin. So many people told me the first 50pp were awful and then it got good - I liked the first 50pp and thought the rest was dreadful!

    Simon S - glad you're with me :) Bored was my overriding feeling - which is odd for a thriller. Can't say I particularly want to see the film, though, I tend to find thrillers quite boring on screen...

    Twelfthknit - I was sent The Slap for review a while ago... really interesting idea, but the length put me off...

    Sakura - at least we agree on Captain Corelli! But I had to read that, we were studying it for A Level...

    Nan - I didn't know those lyrics, but I like 'em!

    David - aww, thanks David! I do still feel guilty about giving up on books, which I hardly ever do (I sometimes start books and forget to finish them, but that is a different matter...)

    Elaine - there is such a fine line between raising awareness and getting embroiled in the spectacle, isn't there? I didn't really get as far as the most disturbing bits, but there are some images in my head that I wish weren't there...

    Jessica - I think that probably is the dividing line. If you don't like crime fiction, then this book isn't an exception...

  20. I did enjoy the novel but also found that the beginning was a push. Once I was through with the first 30 or so pages it was great. I found the second book gripping but am now having a hard time getting into the third book. I'm the kind of person who must finish the series, good or bad. You are smart not to let yourself suffer.


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