WHY are some books abandoned halfway? We ran a survey to find the answers, and we also wanted to know if you would give the book another chance, and why.
With the help of Times bookstores, we offered a little token to the readers who sent in the five best answers to our Read Me Not! survey. The following five readers will each receive RM20 worth of book vouchers from Times. Here are their replies as well as some of the best of the rest of the almost 200 replies we received from people – people of all ages, too, ranging from students to retirees!
Chan Jia Hui
(Student, 19, Johor) couldn’t believe that The Island At The End Of The World by Sam Taylor received positive reviews, let alone be published, due to its use of “terrible English” in alternating chapters.
“The writer purposely writes with lots of grammar mistakes and spelling errors in the chapters written from a young boy’s point of view. I can’t tolerate this type of writing style.”
Izarin Izmir Izhar
(Student, 23, Selangor) was in awe when he learned about the avant-garde writers and artists in college. But when he read Room by Emma Donoghue, he found out that “admiration does not necessarily entail enjoyment”.
(Copywriter, 38, Penang) could not get through literary classic Anna Karanina by Leo Tolstoy. After reading 100 pages (out of more than 800), he gave up the chase.
“The genteel, mannered world of the Russian aristocracy which the novel depicts, with its stifling customs and stiff ways, was not one that held much fascination for me.
“Some may call it a patient buildup, but I found the proceedings draggy, as the narrative shifted focus from one nattily-turnedout character to another, most of whom seemed to be hankering after another fel-
Ng Chia Shyn
low member of polite society.”
(Student, 19, Malacca) abandoned Mercy by Jodi Picoult because it was “too good”.
“The writer managed to articulate the betrayal and infidelity by the husband so well that I was gripping the book hard in anger. It was too hard to read on for a hopeless romantic like me.
“I plan to have another go at this book because I feel it is unfair to the author if I do not finish such a well-written novel. I will prepare to have my waterworks turned on at the end of this book because of the inevitable sad ending.”
(Student, 19, Selangor) stopped reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë six years ago because the Victorian prose made for difficult reading.
“‘Dear Sofea, I am giving you this book because no young lady should go through life without having read it.’”
“At 13, I found the book confusing, long, detailed and very deep. Today, at 19, it is time that I do justice to this book, a gift from an aunty six years ago, and appreciate the beauty which will show in due time.”
Sofea A. Ghani
Notes to authors
These are the entertaining little missives some readers wanted to share with the authors of the books they abandoned. Dear David Baldacci, The Collectors is definitely not collector’s material for me. There are two plots running simultaneously and I know that sooner or later the stories should merge. But I don’t see the light at the end of my tunnel.
Public relations consultant, 43
Dear Steve Barry, Your priests think nothing of having intimate relationships with women. I abandoned The Third Secret because I felt it wasn’t right – even if it’s fiction.
Dear Michelle Brooks, Syd in Bone Dressing is so annoying. Is it really necessary for her to have a pointless argument that goes on for several chapters?
But I will give the book another go because it is rude to judge a book without reading till the end.
Dear E.L. James, The first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy is ok. Christian Grey is perfect (minus the erotic part).
But your second book is a disaster. You just repeat the same thing over and over again.
You think you can get away with it by stuffing it with endless romantic gestures and Christian-Grey-exercise-routines, if you know what I mean. Can he really be THAT sex-driven? I’m sick of Christian and Anastasia going around in circles.
I was curious about how you would build up to the climax (no pun intended) but I was disappointed. Bland writing style, not worth my time. I didn’t get past Chapter Five.
Writing style too fan-fiction-ish. Inappropriate use of the F-word. (Every single line? Come on!) I have read erotica before, be it good, bad, or plain dirty. I simply can’t stomach this one.
Dear Stephen King, Pennywise the clown in It scared me when I was 14. I kept dreaming about Pennywise and his terrorising smile. I stopped at page 770 and have not touched the book since. But now that I am older and have survived (horror movie) The Conjuring, I will give it another go.
Army officer, 34