July 13, 2005

What do you do when...?

I am sure most of us, at some time or the other, have had this experience. You go to a book shop, find a book that interests you. This could be for a variety of reasons: you have heard a lot about the author, the blurb seems interesting, every one seems to be reading it these days. Whatever!

You spend some 500 - 600 bucks on the book and once you start reading the book you realize that you are not so interested in it. As Jedi Knight Joe Francis would put it, "It does not float your boat".

What do you do in such a case? Do you force yourself to finish the book? Do you dump it into some dark corner of the house and forget all about it? Do you gift it to your worst enemy? Do you return it to the shop owner?

I have been trying to complete Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum for a very long time. I have forced myself to 3/4 the length of the novel. But something tells me this might not be the right approach to reading the book. Maybe I will keep it aside for some time and maybe a couple of years later I will actually enjoy the book.

The question is this: what do you do when you end up owning such a book?


At 9:38 AM, Anonymous monkeypup said...

Uh....I assume that's not US dollars?
Anyway, in my opinion, if you have to force yourself to finish a book, you shouldn't be reading it. Reading should be enjoyable. An analogy might be this: I bought an expensive sandwich that my friends all like, but I hated the taste. I tried to finish it, but couldn't stomach it. Would I try to finish it? I would not.
Just my two cents...

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Piyush said...

Just let it be there on your shelf to bite some dust. I had heard a lot about Khushwant Singh's 'Delhi' but it turned out to be such a damp squib that I started reading it as part of my morning escapades in the loo. After reading 3/4th of the book, I had to stop it fearing constipation.

Similar experience with Hari Kunzru's 'The Impressionist'

So, don't force yourself into reading anything which you don't like!


At 10:04 AM, Blogger Jeet said...

1. Try to kick your self once or twice untill you fall.
2. You can use the book for excercising, though the shape is not appropriate for dumb-bell excercise but what the hack you have already spent the money.
3. I read in 'The Alchemist' that thicker books make better pillows... you might put them to similar use.
4. Try to get some of your friends to borrow it by doing some false publicity and sales pitch about the book. That way you might atleast derive some sadistic pleasure out of it :D

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you asked for it, here's my three/four paise

1. Pull each page out diligently and pile it all up
2. GOTO www.google.com
3. Type 'origami' within the textbox
4. Click on "I'm feeling lucky" (Even if you aren't, really)
5. Enjoy


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Jake said...

yeah i know the feeling. well keep it aside, at the least it will add to the number of books you have making someone go "oh! you own so many books! geee...". lol.

but if the book is indeed anywhere near halfway decent then maybe you didnt enjoy it because you were upto *here* in graphicl novels, and i dont think the pendulum has hot mama's inked beautifully now does it ? ;-)

so yeah, keep it. you might like it someday. give a book the benefit of the doubt.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Anuj said...

gift it to your worst enemy :)

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Watziznem said...

Ah! A fellow victim of Foccault's Pendulum :)

I eagerly bought it about a year ago in a fit of admiration after reading Name of the Rose. But I simply couldn't get past the first page when I tried the first time. Two attempts later, this summer when there was nothing better to do in the evenings, I finally managed to finish it.

Lack of a net connection in the room was a severe handicap. So I plan to read it again sometime with the wikipedias and Googles as reading companions. Yeah, I do have a masochistic streak in me :)

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Vivek Kumar said...

Oh my God! Not *that* book!!!

I got it for free from www.firstandsecond.com while I was at IIT.

I have no idea as to what the book was about, but I was obstinate enough to read it to the end. IIRC, it gets better towards the end and you can make some sense out of it.

But then, I have let "something happened" on my shelf for a really long time.

Let it stay. It looks good on the book-shelf. People are bound to be impressed since they wouldn't have understood one bit of it (that is assuming that they tried to read it) anyway.

And I am sure you, being an MBA, can pretend to understand every word of it and impress the hell out of (basically make them feel inferior) others ;-)

Try it, that is what I did.

And then I exchanged it with Sunny (http://spaces.msn.com/members/sunilpandey/) for a book on Algorithms :)

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

Aha.. looks like I am not the only person burnt by Foucault's Pendulum. :).

We should actually compile a list of such books to warn unsuspecting book lovers. But then one man's complete crap is another man's masterpiece...

The question now is this: have you ever found a book that was pretty painful when you started it but enjoyable when you persevered and completed the whole thing?


At 7:27 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

It is certainly not in US dollars. :-))

You are right. Have been reading too much of these damn beautifully inked Graphic Novels. :(

How did you manage to get something free from firstandsecond.com?

Dude, you have completely stopped blogging?


At 7:57 PM, Blogger Jake said...

in answer to the second question.
Oh yes! the book was Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness. that book is heavy. its actually a course in sociology draped in sci-fi. the first few days,( it came recommended by Sumo), i just couldnt move ahead. man it was dense. then i just it let be. then a couple dyas later, read it at in on single sitting. :)

and oh yes, the book _is_ recommended.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger L said...

Same is the case with movies I guess.. I cdnt even finish half of LOTR ....maybe the english was heavy with me...!!!

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

Well, I loved LOTR. I would easily put it in my top 10 set. But I do know enough people who did not enjoy the movie at all. Just curious L, what turned you off from LOTR? Others I know complained because they had not read the book. :(

Also, Jake... I read le Guin's "Wizard of Earth Sea" sometime back. While it is a decent book overall, somehow A Song of Fire and Ice has ruined it for me. Even excellent books (like Wizard of Earth Sea) seem so ordinary, so dull, so mundane and so predictable after A Song of Fire and Ice. :(


At 11:32 PM, Blogger Jake said...

@dhar : i really must get me the 'song of fire and ice'. Sumo's raves about it :)
but yes, wizard of earthsea is a favourite, well maybe because it was among the first fantasy boks i read, even bfore LOTR. and the other two books in the earthsea dont even come close. i liked the understated magic in the WOEsea. magic is there, and dark and sombre jed sparrow hawk.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Jeet said...

Actually, I tried reading P. G. Wodehouse twice. I got a golf related book 'Heart of a goop'. I couldn't go past 2-3 pages. But then I was given 'World of Psmith' and that's what got me hooked to wodehouse books. I read 'heart of a goop' after sometime and actually liked it, I had become good at screening golf out of humor :))

By the way.. I demand a @Jeet comment.. all others got a reply, I didn't :D

At 1:01 AM, Blogger L said...

No..no...I shall not blame the book...!! Just that the first time I saw it..I found too many characters and too many names to remember and too many reasons for their actions..but above all I think i found it spooky and as a rule spooky movies were mentally a backseat for me...!!!

Strangely I havent met a non-fan of LOTR...!!

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Vivek Kumar said...

I got it free because I had won some gift coupons at one of those game websites that used to be a craze in those days. I think it was www.tickle.com where I won the e-coupons.

Just to keep you happy ;-)

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I generally keep these books around prominent in my collection and wait till someone steps forward and claims it to be the love of her life - one she has been looking for all the time. Thats when I wave my 'flora fountain sellers association' badge at 'em.

Sometimes I even get a good deal. Recently got rid of 'Garden State' DVD and might even push out my Convenant series book to some insufferable dude.

-- Sumo

At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

insufferable?? push out convenant .. *grumble grumble* *no hope grumble*

-(pretty obvous innit?)

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Jeet said...

Oye dhar, too bad man.. this is not a course book that you can sell to freshie.. otherwise 500 ka book 600-700 main to araam se le lete hain freshies :))

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

Sumo man... I agree with Jake... The whole sentence seemed too damn obvious... Poor Jake and his love for Thomas Convenant..

Just like Slashdot has its mandatory Cowboy Neal option, we will henceforth have a @Jeet Section. :)

Yaar, freshie log kuch bhi kar leta hai...

We told a couple of freshies that they need to go register for a lathe machine with the Asst. Registrar. The Asst Registrar at that time was one sharp cookie. Instead of telling them that the lathe machine does not need to be registered, he slyly suggested that the Dean of Student Affairs was the one they should contact. Poor Freshies! :-)


At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I remeber correctly, then those couple of freshies were Uttam Kumbhat and Ashish Geol ?

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

> If I remeber correctly, then those couple of freshies were Uttam Kumbhat and Ashish Geol ?

Right on target Anonymous! Right on target! :))


At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And those guys went all the way to the workshop, and came back convinced that they were the lucky ones who won't have to buy a lathe in the next semester. kudos to the lab sideys who played there part well :))

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Dhar said...

Ahhh, I didn't know about Lab Sideys being a part of the prank. :))

BTW, do leave your name behind...


At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh..forgot to mention my name!
This is Puneet...from H-2

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Alekh said...

Try BuySellOldBooks.com where you can buy, sell, exchange old books. Many books are free as this is a community site so you don't have to worry about paying huge amounts of money!


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