Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Reader's Dilemma

Earlier this year, I picked up The Cuckoo's Calling after owning it for several months. I was looking for a good mystery (these have been my favorite recently) and of course I had high expectations for the book, considering its author. I felt that I was a prime candidate for enjoying it, because not only do I regularly read mysteries, but I've been a fan of JK Rowling since I was about nine years old.

Would I have bought this book if I hadn't known that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym of hers? There's really no way to tell, but I do tend to seek out lesser-known series so it's certainly a possibility. I've read the Harry Potter series more times than I can count, and -- despite the difficult transition away from Harry Potter -- I did really like Rowling's The Casual Vacancy when it came out a few years ago. So I had high hopes for this one when I started reading it.

My usual marker for judging whether or not I like a book is around the 100 page mark. In this case, I got to that point and was feeling so.incredibly.bored. Not a single thing had happened to draw in my interest, and I wasn't particularly fond of (or even motivated to learn more about) any of the characters. I posted this image on Instagram expressing my boredom and disappointment. Don't get me wrong here, JK is without a doubt my favorite author of all time. I love her writing style and think that she has immense talent, but I didn't see any of that come through. I wasn't captured in the way that I have been in reading her work before.

I put the book down (but haven't yet moved it to the donate pile), and was glad that I picked out a new one. I listened to this episode of my favorite podcast (you can read about how much I love the podcast in general here) about the book and I thought that their guest host, Margaret, did a great job expressing my same feelings/concerns in a much more eloquent way. (But be warned, the episode contains spoilers so if you're interested in reading the book, tread carefully.)

So, there's the dilemma. As an avid reader and lifelong fan of Rowling, do I continue to read this book, hoping that it will eventually hook me and I'll come to appreciate that slow beginning? Or do I move on to read one of the thousands more books that are worthy of my attention and waiting to be read? As a reader, what do I owe this author? A second chance? The benefit of the doubt? Or, as her use of a pseudonym suggests in the first place, do I merely judge this book as I would any other?

Are you one to always finish a book, or do you only continue reading what interests you?

Happy Reading!

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