Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zorro: A Novel....Not Finishing

I picked out Zorro: A Novel by Isabel Allende to fit into the A-Z Reading Challenge that I signed up for. After's not that easy to find interesting books whose first word starts with Z. And, I always enjoyed watching the black and white Zorro films. So, gonna be a good read, right?

I'm afraid not. And I've decided to stick to one of my unwritten reading resolutions for the year and be a little more ruthless when deciding not to finish a book. In the past, I've always finished. Always. Because it just might get better. But this year I've decided if I get about 100 pages in and it's just not doing it for me...then I'm done. Unless there's an overwhelming reason that compels me to finish (like, perhaps, an author has sent me a book to review).

I think it quite likely that Isabel Allende can write and that there are probably a lot a readers out there who would appreciate her writing. She does have a flair for description. She manages to take me to the places that Diego de la Vega has been so far in his short life (he's not made it to Zorro yet). But I find her story-telling abilities to be less than stellar. She hasn't made me care about these people yet. The de la Vega house has just been razed by pirates, a number of people have been killed...and I just don't care. At this point, I can see the building blocks that will turn de la Vega into Zorro...but I don't really want to stick around and wait and see when that happens. Will I have to wait another 100 pages (I skim and it looks likely). Perhaps I might try this one again when I have a little more patience for the long transformation. But for now...put Zorro down as a Did Not Finish.

Now I'm off to look for other likely candidates to fill the "Z" slot in the reading challenge.


Jenny Girl said...

Sorry to hear this book didn't live up to expectations. I read half of one of her other books, and I just got plain bored. I give a book 50-100 pages and if it doesn't keep me hooked, it goes to the DNF pile.

Unknown said...

I liked this book, sorry to hear you didn't. My advice to those who read the book is to read it as if it is narrated by Selma Hayek. I know it sounds stupid but it would make the book come alive.

J F Norris said...

Heck, I always say: Life is too short with too many books to read to think I HAVE to finish everything. Good for you for having the courage to allow yourself to dump a book if it isn't doing it for you.

Last year, I threw in the towel on several books including Elizabeth Kostova's second novel, The Swan Thieves. She wrote that vampire tome The Historian that everyone was reading years ago. But in her "long awaited" 2nd book absolutely nothing happened in the first 100 pages. OK, the painting was vandalized. That's about it. It was turgid and way too somber for me.

Bev Hankins said...

@Man of La Book: I'm afraid I can't see imagining that it was narrated by Selma Hayek would do a darn thing for me. Sorry. :-)

@John: I have gotten MUCH better at throwing in the towel. I gave up on a couple last year and have decided to do better from now on. As you say, there are WAY too many books waiting to be read to keep going if a book's just not that great.

Teacher/Learner said...

I'm also more ruthless about giving up on books with a benchmark of about 50-100 pages. Luckily, it doesn't happen too often to me & hopefully doesn't or won't to you :)