Friday, 16 July 2010

On giving up

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

It used to be that I would never give up on a book that I have started. Once I began to read something I felt duty bound to finish it, even if I wasn't enjoying it.

That isn't the case so much any more. Now that I am a bit older and have so many books and so little time, I have decided that I won't force my way through a book if I am not enjoying it. It isn't worth it. I do sometimes make exceptions for something that is 'worthy;'a book that is considered to be a classic, or a book that is highly regarded and intelligent.

There are, however, remnants of my own pride and stubbornness which mean that giving up on a book is something that I don't do lightly. But, I confess, I am considering giving up on "The Strain."

I don't mean to imply that "The Strain" is a bad book. It is an interesting take on the idea of the vampire, which is intelligently written by Guillermo Del Toro and Hulk Hogan (sorry, Chuck Hogan). The opening of the novel is particularly tense, and they effectively create an atmosphere of suspense and foreboding. But I am considering giving up on it because it is simply too damn scary for a wimp like me.

I'm not good at horror, and I am especially bad at body horror - and this is quite body horror-y. I am a hypochondriac who is scared by her body's own potential for betrayal: for its potential to act against the dictates of my will, from the big stuff like cancer or heart attack, to the small stuff like not being able to resist the need to fart when in a public place. As someone who imagined she had bubonic plague after learning about it at school and who still can't watch the whole of the "Ice" episode of "The X-Files," "The Strain" is a bit too virus-y/parasite-y for my liking.

"The Strain" is the first book in a trilogy. Is it a good book? It probably is - if it was a bad book, I wouldn't be so freaked out by it. If a book in the horror genre scares you, then surely that makes it a success. Will I finish reading it? I'm not sure yet. Will I read the next two books? Probably not.

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