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Manor Lakes Specialist College: 3. Hating Books

Thursday, August 5, 2010 , Posted by Sandy Fussell at 11:17 PM

Yes you are allowed to! Even on this blog.

When I was younger I had this silly rule that I would always finish every book I started. What I hadn't realised then was reading is for fun - it is not a competition. I read a lot of boring books becuase of that stupid rule. But when I got to high school I found a book I just couldn't keep reading no matter how hard I tried.

It was called The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Apparently there were some issues about the translation from the Russian because of the clever things he did with language but to me it was the MOST. BORING. BOOK. EVER. If you see it on a library shelf, run a mile! But if you wnat to take a peek, you can read an extract on Google Books here.

I didn't have to read it for class so the only thing making me was the rule. That's when I ditched the rule forever. Now I only read books I want to although that sometimes means I might read it for a different reason other than the story. I might read it because I want to learn something about a time or place or maybe something to improve my writing skills.

Have you ever started to read a book and decided you hate it? What made up your mind? Perhaps the cover and the blurb weren't very accurate and it was about something you weren't interest in?

I don't like spy stories much except I do like the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. And I don't like detective stories except I love Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So I'm always willing to give a book a try in case it's an 'except'.


This is my favourite Alex Rider book trailer - for Snakeshead - the Australian connection!




Sometimes I don't like the way a book is writtem - especially of it's slow with lots of description. Some people like books like that. Not me. I like my description with lots of action. Even as I write that comment I am reminded of an 'except'. I read a book called The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Lots of reviews said it had too much travelogue description - but it was such a great story I didn't even notice that. It's a Dracula story with a difference - a marvellous blend of storytelling and folklore. Not horror but something different. Eerie.

Here's a challenge for you. Grab a fiction book off the library shelf based on the cover and blurb - one you think you will like. Read the first page. Give it a "I'll read it" rating out of 5. 1 = Awful 2 = Only if I'm bored stiff 3 = I might 4 = I'll read a chapter and decide then 5 = Gonna read it.

Then do the same for a book you don't think you will like.

Currently have 14 comments:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I'v seen what you have done to my piece of writing, it looks awesome. I just hope other people will put their writing on there as well.
    I am planning to write a narrative about what happened to Tegan and I on the first holidays this year.
    PLEASE encourage the others to write their own stuff, because I don't want to be the only one.

    Its great that you're gonna read Darren Shan!

    Right now, I am reading LINGER, the second book to SHIVER. I am soooooooooooo excited. But I can't read it just yet, because I am reading a book that I have to review on.

    Tanaya :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy! Tegan here. I did what you said, so I got up and picked up a book with an interesting cover. WINGS. I read the blurb, and the first page (which is how I always choose books) and I decided: only if I'm bored.

    Next I picked up a book I thought I wouldn't like, SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT. I read the blurb, and the first page and decided: gonna read it.

    Some books aren't as good looking as they seem.

    Did Tye tell who we were reviewing unpublished books? Yes we are, and I'm reviewing THE EYEBALL COLLECTOR, and WYRMEWEALD. I have already reviewed THE EYEBALL COLLECTOR, so I'll put it on so you can read it:

    The Eyeball Collector
    By F. E. Higgins

    I, personally, found this book to be very strange. Very strange, but terribly…FANTASTIC! One of the best, no, GREATEST books I have ever read. And believe me, I have read A LOT of books.

    This is the kind of book that will keep you awake at night, tossing and turning in bed, until you eventually sneak out of your room, grab a torch, a bar of chocolate, and sit in bed reading word after word, until you fall asleep. Which will probably mean falling asleep just about the time when you should be getting up!

    I think the cover may even have dents in it, where I was gripping it so tightly from fear, shock, excitement and curiosity.

    The eyeball collector is a story of riddles, murders, butterflies, blackmail, glass eyes and an intelligent boy named Hector. If you chance upon seeing this book in a bookstore, there is only one simple step you must take:

    BUY IT!

    I certainly recommend this awesome novel to anyone who can read, although 9+ would be the best!



    Tegan Miller
    Do you like it?

    Also, one of the books I HATED, but strangely finished, was CALL OF THE WILD. I don't know why I even finished this book, cause it was such a waste of TIME!!!!!!!

  1. TANAYA. I posted your writing challenge to all the other guys blogging here with me. Let's see if anyone else is as brave as you - and it is brave to post your writing in public - but it is also an important first step towards being a writer - because one of the defining things about being a writer is having readers!

    I've got both SHIVER and LINGER on my 'to read' list. I can never get them at the library and I tried to buy SHIVER but it wasn't in - guess I'll have to be patient.

  1. TEGAN, That's an excellent review. Not only does it tell me enough about the book to enable me to make an informed purchasing decision but you have also managed to inject your own personality - and that's quite tricky to do.

    I thought it was such a great review I went to find out when the book is being published so I could keep a look out for it. Not until September! *sigh* but I did find a first chapter excerpt here http://us.macmillan.com/theeyeballcollector. Sounds great!!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy
    I saw the writing challenge just then. Tegan has written something and is gonna post it to you soon. I haven't started on the narrative yet, but i will get to it soon.

    i have nearly finished the Keepers, the book i am reviewing. I will send you the book review once its finished.

    Tanaya :)

  1. TANAYA, Check out the comment I left TEGAN on the Writing Challenge post - it's for both of you. I am so impressed with not only the pieces you both sent me - both very different (in fact opposite genres in a way, one realism and one fantasy), but also with how you are encouraging each other. Writers need encouragement and you are definitely both writers!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy
    this is my book review for the Keepers:

    I really enjoy adventure books, mystery books, and fantasy books. In this book, it had all of those.

    The Keepers was a fantastic book. It lured me into the story from the beginning. I didn’t want to stop reading it from the moment I read the first page.

    The front cover got me started, it looked liked they were on and adventure or trying to uncover a mystery, and thats what keeps me reading a book. The blurb sounded even more exciting, the bit where it says:

    Only a thief can find their way through the strange, shifting rooms of the Museum of Dunt.
    makes me want to read it even more than I first wanted to.

    Goldie (main character) runs away from home and ends up at the museum of Dunt. She meets the owners of the museum and learns their ways.

    I felt exactly like what Goldie felt, alone, sad, angry, happy, determined, It was like I was there, going through everything Goldie had to go through.

    The ending was perfect, it makes me want to read the next book thats coming out in 2011. It doesn’t drop off like other books, it shows that the ‘baddies’ haven’t given up yet.

    If I was to rate this book out of 10, I would give it a 9, 1/2.

    Do you like it?

    Tanaya :P

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I only just realised that the comment I left on this post last week didn't actually post! My apologies.

    I really did LOVE this post. Possibly the worst book I have ever had to read and sadly, had no choice but to finish was a book by Joyce called "Portrait of And Artist As A Young Man" (see, even the title is boring!)

    I especially liked the exercise of choosing a book that you think will be great based ona cover and a blurb. I made this mistake with a book last year that I was very much looking forward to reading. I still maintain that the cover was THE best cover last year. But I really did not enjoy the book. It was called Fallen by Lauren Kate. A great many people I know loved it, but it wasnt really my cup of tea.

    Both Tegan and Tanaya are doing a wonderful job with their reviews and I feel very lucky to have them reviewing for the blog and for Leesa!

    Thanks again for a wonderful post Sandy.
    Tye :)

  1. TANAYA, Your review was wonderful. I suspect it already has a home but I will have a talk to Tye about whether I can post it more publicly here or perhaps provide links to wherever else it is being posted. I would certainly read this book based on your review. I love the word wyrm - very fantasy! I am writing a ms at the moment where the main character has a wyrm and I tossed up whether to say 'worm' or 'wyrm' - but as it is a YA book and I might be lucky enough to get you to review it for me when it comes out in 2012, I won't tell you any more of the story and ruin it for the fututre

  1. Ha! I just muddled two reviews in one post! Your (TANAYA's review of Keepers and TEGAN's review of Wyrme World which was posted to th post about your challenge! So here is a message for both TANAYA and TEGAN seeing as you BOTH did excellent reviews and I am hoping your will BOTH review my new YA novel in 2012!!!! I shall have to call you two T1 and T2 in future!!!!

  1. TEGAN, I've always thought I should read CALL OF THE WILD, becuase it's such a well-thought-of classic and I do love animal stories. But every cover I have seen looks so boring. So now having heard your feedback I am feeling glad I haven't got around to it. Too many good books to read - no time to waste struggling too far through those we don't like!

  1. TYE, While your post went MIA for a while, one of mine was an even bigger troublemaker - I managed to muddle Tegan and Tanaya's reviews into one! I am threatening to call them T1 and T2 from now on! FALLEN is in my reading stack and I'll let you know what I think. I read PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN - actually I don't mind the title - when I was in Year 11 and THE DUBLINERS was a set text. I don't recall hating it but I don't recall liking it either!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I'm currently reading a book called EleMental by Steven O'connor. After the first 50 pages I was about to stop reading it because it wasn't really that good and it was really bland. But then a week later I decided to try and read it again and started enjoying it when the setting and the characters were all set in place and it is a interesting book but it's only a uncorrected manuscript proof. So far I would rate what I am up to a 3/5 but it is very slowly going up every time I read it.

    Lohgan =D

  1. I'm interested to hear your final opinion when you've read the whole book LOHGAN becuase I've heard good things about EleMental and Steven O'Connor is an Australian auhtor (I always like to read those!) But seeing as you and I have very similar reading taste I am particulary interested in what you think about it.