To read or not to read…

Neil Gaiman, that is the question. The last… 4-5 weeks I suppose, I’m not a very fast reader and my reading opportunities have been few lately, I have been struggling with Gaiman’s American Gods. He’s been on my to-read-list since forever, I’ve several friends who basically swears by the guy and he’s in the fantasy-section of fictional literature, which is where I usually find my favourites. But, to put it mildly, Gaiman keeps eluding me.

I tried to read Stardust too once or twice – it was recommended to me as a good Gaiman-starter-book. But nope. I got through the movie, thinking it was a great story, but the book… nah.

And with American gods I’m really torn. I want to like it. I like the main character lots, I even like his curious character of a boss, Mr Wednesday. And I ADORE the general ”theme” of the book – which is about long lost gods walking around America struggling against being forgotten and hence doomed by the modern society. I mean  – that story is so…me!

But still I have to motivate myself to pick the book up and keep reading. So far I’ve done so by having a book-club meeting to look forward to, where this book would be discussed. But today it turns out the book club meeting will be when I’m back in Sweden for a summer visit – so there went that particular motivation.

Question now is – do I keep reading it, or do I give up? I’m pretty much exactly in the middle of the book; 300 pages done, 300 pages to go. Give or take a few. I think I will have to finish it – despite my motivational struggle. I need ”closure” before I can give a book up. If it was really crap, I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving it up and devoting my precious reading moments to better things. But… It’s a good story – hidden in too much detail, too much irrelevance, too much debris, keeping the story back. It’s a damn pity, but then again – perhaps there’s something to be learned from that, too.

(And the only reason I’m writing this in English is that I’m reading the book in English, so it sort of felt… right.)

  1. I have the same problem with American Gods and Stardust. I couldn’t finish them either! I’m on page 163 of American Gods when I gave up. I found it very hard for me to go on, and I was almost convinced that it was because I’ve lost my love of reading :(. I have another friend who told me that some people could love Neil Gaiman, and some other would find it very hard to read. She was the second group, and so was I. Still, I must say I’d like to give it another go someday.

    If you find it hard to finish, there’s still other wonderful books out there. And perhaps we can always come back to this one ;).

    1. Funny thing is… I got to page 300 motivated by the book club I wanted to join in – and then only to discover their meeting will be when I’m in Sweden… So I couldn’t really drop it at that point, and now I’m nearing page 400 and… well, it’s growing on me. I still think it’s at least 200 pages too long (=slow), but I’m sort of enjoying it.

      I’ll report after I finish it what I thought of it as a whole!

      (But I’m not surprised the opinions are different about this author, actually…!)

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