Saturday, March 7, 2009

To abandon a book isn't a sin - or is it?

For some reason, I have been reading extremely disappointing books recently. First After Tupac and D Foster, and now The Astonishing Tales of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, both of which were award winners of famous awards. It just goes to show you that random adults who think that they know what kids will like in literature and give out awards to praise themselves are sorely mistaken.

Octavian Nothing was about this slave boy and his mother, the princess of some African Tribe, but now a slave. It is boring, boring, boring. And not because there is no interesting story, like in After Tupac and D Foster. There is just no hook at all. There is nothing to keep you reading, and I discovered that the hook is vital to a book. Without it, the book is boring whether or not the rest is perfect.

In this case, unlike After Tupac..., the book is over 500 pages and on 8 1/2 by 11 sheets, quite a substantial amount. Therefore, I abandoned, and I know that I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry, but I have so many books to read. I just hope that abandoning a book isn't considered an act of evil.



  1. Ugh. I hated this book, too. There's one cool thing, after the pox party--flip through the pages and you'll see it (I blogged on this book here:

    Anyway, I remember the book go good around page 200....and I rememebr thinking, why on Earth would anyone write a book boring for 200 pages?! And how did it win so many awards?! This book was built around a history textbook and a gimmick...ugh.

  2. While a book award is not a guarantee that you will like a book neither is simply saying you didn't enjoy a book mean the book is no good. Why didn't After Tupac work for you? These books are vastly different but you give us very little information why they are disappointing.

    Should a book's merit be based solely on personal likes and preferences? What about the quality of the writing and if the book appeals to a group of readers who like the writer's style?

    And for what it is worth, I'm an adult who knew very little about hip hop and Tupac, but I suspected my readers and legions of Tupac fans would find this title appealing.

    I promoted the book before it was shelved and I had a waiting line. It is hugely popular.

    I learned something about why Tupac was important and the story does resonate with a lot of readers.

  3. Eh, it's not a sin. Barnes and Noble doesn't have a return policy for nothing. I'd be afraid to pick up that door stopper in the first place! I think paying attention to where the reviews for the books come from is a major thing. Sure the books are award winning but what are the *readers* saying? That, to me, is more important than the guys that wear leather patches on their elbows and handing out awards.

    As a writer, I want to write books that people want to read. If they win awards, cool, but the Booker isn't going to pay my electric bill, now is it?

  4. Beth: I'm glad that I am not the only person who didn't enjoy it.
    Susan: I would appreciate if you could explain, WHY DO READERS LIKE IT? You seem to understand the psychology better than I do.
    Donna: 2 words: Hear hear!

  5. Both of you, Susan and book critic have points.
    Susan: It's her blog so I guess she has the right to run it how she feels fit. Just like everyone has the right to read what they want.
    BC: Susan is also given freedom of speech. That means if she doesn't like what you say she can tell you. It's your blog. Dont like it delete it.
    I just want us all to get along :)

  6. I liked "Octavian Nothing" because of its tangy written style and interesting plot. I concede that it dragged a little after about half of the story, but people have different opinions depending on their likes and tastes..