21 July, 2015

Abandoning Books

For many book lovers, it seems to be a guilty and saddening task to give up on a book. Turning pages wistfully, dragging yourself to the next chapter, only to find that you still aren't engaged or excited. That's one type of book guilt. Alternately, you could find yourself just hating the points the author is making or the ways in which they're making them. With some books, there are portions you dislike, but the rest of the book is strong enough to pull you through. With others, you just feel strongly opposed to the author's outlook. This is especially frustrating when you're dealing with an author you've - at one time - enjoyed.

This past week I borrowed The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson because it was (sadly) the only audiobook of his available from my local libraries. I have very much enjoyed Thompson in the past. I love the sardonic, freakish tone of his observations. I adore his ability to portray the mundane as truly horrifying in ways that are also an essential depiction of reality. There were certainly aspects of this formidable skill in The Rum Diary. To be fair to the guy, he probably didn't get to hand-pick his narrator for this reading. But not only was the narration gratuitous, sounding like a Johnny Depp impersonator pretending to be Ron from Parks and Rec, pretending to be Hunter S. Thompson, but Thompson's sole female character was a travesty. This character, whose name I couldn't even be impressed upon to remember, is purely a testosterone-fueled humanization of tits and ass. Thompson takes some formidable digs at the Beats, but simultaneously fails to have the imagination to create a "real girl." Even a manic pixie dream girl would be a bit of an improvement upon Ms. Daisy Dukes whose sole purpose seems to be following male writers around in little clothing.

*Rant Over* I gave up. About two hours into the audiobook, I just couldn't take it. It makes me nervous to re-read or read some of Thompson's other works, in fear that I might see this stark chauvinism in a new light. The last time I'd read something by Thompson was when I was still in high school, and perhaps a bit more anaesthetized to lackluster depictions of female characters.

What books have you abandoned? Did you feel it was deserved, or were you frustrated that you weren't in the right frame of mind to finish them?

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