29 October 2010

Abandoned: "The Know-It-All" and "The Carbon Diaries 2015"

This week, I want to tell you about two books that didn't click with me. If I abandon a book, I usually don't post about it because it doesn't seem fair to write about a book that I didn't read all the way through. However, I thought it might be a good idea to start writing about these books so I can get reactions from others. Perhaps I abandoned them too soon, or maybe I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy them.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs: I was expecting to enjoy this book. Frequent readers of this blog know that I enjoy a good stunt memoir. I also enjoyed Jacobs' later book, The Year of Living Biblically, so I thought this would be a sure winner for me. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it. While he was exploring the Old Testament, he was actually doing things. This book is full of reactions to what he read in the encyclopedia and the strange reactions he got from friends and family when he shared this knowledge. Jacobs said that he had trouble getting through the As; I had trouble getting through his description of reading the As. However, I am still looking forward to reading his next book due out in December, Healthiest Man in the World.

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd: This book suffered in comparison to Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, a book I read a little over a year ago. I tried to appreciate it on its own, but the settings were too similar: a teenage protagonist writes about how much her life has been altered after a natural disaster of international proportions. In the Pfeffer book, the characters felt like my neighbors and I got a chance to know them and go through the disaster with them. With this book, Lloyd starts at the point where the disaster has already occurred and the government is just starting to enforce rationing. It was difficult for me to understand what was going on or have any sympathy for the main character. I can't even remember her name. When an author creates a compelling world and arresting characters, I often find myself dreaming about that world when I go to bed at night. This book didn't invade my dreamscape or draw me back to it when I had a spare moment.

The good news is that marking off these books has made my TBR list a little shorter. Two books down, 220 books to go!

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