Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shame! Two books left unfinished...

I want to make clear up front that I am not posting these here because I want to lambast the books or even want to indicate they are bad books; they were just not for me.  I have thoughts about both however that I wanted to put down on paper so to speak.  I feel like a lot of the last year of reading, and this blog in fact, have been about figuring out what exactly my reading tastes are…what makes me like or dislike a particular book.  Why it is important for me to figure this out, I’m not really sure but I have done a lot of speculating on this topic.  This post is more and the same. 

The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Format: Audio (cds from library)
Narrated By: George Guidall
Original Publication Year: 2003
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Series:  Dark Tower Series #1
Awards: None

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)A couple of years ago I made a list of authors that are prominently known and whose work I would probably like, but for whatever I reason I have never read.  Stephen King was on this list (along with Cormac McCarthy, Iris Murdoch, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a couple of others I can’t recall at the moment).  So I did some research and came away with the impression that The Stand was Stephen King’s most generally well thought of novel.  So I dived right in last November. 

If you’ve been stalking and paying avid interest to my goodreads account, as I’m sure you do, you will know that The Stand has been on my Currently Reading list since last November and has never made it over to ‘Read’.  I have been on page 904 (out of 1320) for the last 4 months.  Somewhere around the 50% mark I just lost steam with the book and have no real drive to pick it up.  Don’t get me wrong. I’ve gotten to page 904 for pity’s sake so I WILL be finishing it which is why it languishes on the ‘Currently Reading’ stack instead of the ‘did not finish’ or ‘read stack’.

So why does the heading up top say The Gunslinger?  Well because in desperation I thought I’d try something different.  The Gunslinger seemed unique for King as it is the first in a series and my impression that they were more towards the fantasy side of things rather than horror. I even added it to my 100 books project. Well I was listening on cd and I gave it about 1 and ¾ cds before calling it quits and I realized that there was at least one shared element with The Stand which may have been at the root of my disengagement.

I really loved the first third to half of The Stand ; where the human race is falling a part and each of the unique and separate characters is drawing together.Ironically, this is a part of the book that I think was heavily edited and cut in the original printing (I have a more recently produced "directors cut").   By the time everybody is gathered together and arrayed on the sides of good or evil, I became bored silly.  I KNOW.  And I think it’s because everyone morphed from a unique interesting personality into an archetype.  They suddenly became completely uninteresting to me.  And that was the same problem I ran into with The Gunslinger.  The characters were more symbolic than real.  Granted I didn’t give it too much of a chance but I was not engaged. 

So I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that Stephen King is not for me.  Certainly two books does not a body of work make and I have loved many of the dramatizations of his worked (Salem’s Lot scared the bejesus out of me as a kid and Stand By Me is one of my favorite movies of all time).  I was also blown away by how good a writer King is – I sort of assumed because he was a bestseller and so prolific that he would be a good storyteller but so-so writer.  Well, you know what they say about assuming! 

So maybe I just haven’t hit on the right Stephen King book?  Both of these were very similar thematically as well – apocalypse, human race at its most debased.  Anybody have any good suggestions?

 Born of Shadows by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Format: Audio (cds from library)
Narrator: Holter Graham
Original Publication Year: 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The League Gen 1 #3
Awards: Nope
Thinking about my reaction to the first part of this book, I realize that I kind of lied above about the not lambasting.  I was really pretty horrified with the start of the book.  It starts with a Dad and his 8 year old son in a hot (i.e. threatening) situation and Dad makes young son promise that he will always look out for his (older) sisters because he’s the boy and they wouldn’t make it without him. The implication is that even though he is only 8 he will be much more competent at running the family because he's a boy and his sisters are stupid silly females. It then fast forwards ten years and our hero Caillen is saving the hide of one of his stupid worthless sisters while thinking that instead of helping her he’d like to “beat her bloody”.  Ummm.. Seriously?  Is Sherrilyn Kenyon a misogynistic dude in disguise?

I was assuming that this horrific set up was going to lead to some kind of a renaissance where Caillen learns that women are not helpless, worthless punching bags good only for scratching that itch.  I decided to hang in.  But then the book descended into descriptions of how life-changingly hot Caillen is, how no woman has ever turned him down, his good friend Darling can’t stop hitting on him and Caillen is also the best fighter ever and real real smart.  But he’s not perfect, oh no… he had a “tragic childhood” it’s made him…horrors…improper and afraid of too much clothing.  AND OH MY GOD how about just giving him this thing called a “personality”?  Would that hurt too much?  The entrance of the heroine is in comparison minor and her name is Desideria (what?) which made me grimace every time it was said (I was listening). So I basically gave up before figuring out if Sherrilyn Kenyon was going to make up for the early woman hating blather.

This book has a 4.33 rating on Goodreads. 

So this is apparently not my kind of book – it definitely works for other folks but not me.  The uber Alpha male thing… just …ugh.  I cannot take it anymore.  Anybody have some recommendations of romances with a more beta hero?  Or at least on the mild side of Alpha?  If so I would definitely like to hear about it.  Romance more than any other genre is hit or way, way miss with me.  I feel like I need some guidance before I wander into that minefield again….


  1. Whew, I don't think I'd like that Kenyon book much, either. I'll have to try a different one when and if I try her.

    Don't feel bad about DNFs. It's OK to stop reading if a book just isn't right for you (or if it's groaningly bad, of course!)

    1. I'm pretty sure I have read a couple of her books in another series and while I don't remember loving them, I definitely didn't have such a strong negative reaction. But perhaps I was just in a different place and didn't notice the disturbing woman hating? I dunno. But I'll be interested to see, if you do read one of hers, what your thoughts are.