Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Chain - Oh, those SLOW starts!

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Shaun who asked the following:

What are three books you would tell people that they need to keep reading even if they aren't immediately sucked in by the first page?

I LOVE this question!!! Though, I'm not certain Shaun is going to like any of my answers.

Let me start by saying this - I am a very patient reader. No really, I am. I will usually give a book at least 50 pages before I abandon it.

At least that was true BEFORE I started writing. I will admit, the more I write, the less patient I have become. I'm not certain why, but...yea...it is what it is.

Although I have lost some of my patience, these three books are ones I waded through - and they were MORE than worth it in the end:


  1. Going Bovine by Libba Bray: I loved this book. Hard. I know, I know, there were a lot of mixed feelings reviews about this one. Many people found the beginning a little crazy and the main character unlikeable. But, here's the thing - he IS unlikeable! That is the point. By the end of the story, he changes. Dramatically. And along the way there is some fabulous humor, Big-Bang styled jokes and a just plain poignant fun. It is both silly and profound. I am so glad I stuck it out and got to the point where it settled into the book it really is. 
  2. Exile by Richard North Patterson: I am a BIG thriller lover. And this book is a masterful creation! It is a bit slow in the beginning...and even a bit confusing. In fact, most of Richard Patterson's books are - but once you get into it, it is masterful. It makes you think, reconsider previously held points of view of various topics, etc. I LOVED this book - and have since read it again - and yea, I liked even more the second time, catching nuances and subtleties to the plot I missed the first time.
  3. Helen of Troy by Margaret George. This was by far the HARDEST book for me to get into. I love the Helen of Troy story, so when I checked out the cover blurb and this was a helen story told from her POV, I was hooked. Until I opened it. First, it is LONG - 656 pages (small font and no chapter breaks, btw). It took more than 50 pages for me to want to stay involved....it took almost 200. Why I kept at it, I don't know. But I have never regretted that decision. I wound up reading the remaining 400+ pages in a couple of days, thoroughly enthralled in the story. This book is certainly NOT for the faint of heart - but it is a masterful retelling and I strongly recommend it.

So, there you go - my books that DID NOT hook me, but were more than worth it once I got through the beginning. What about you? What books would you add to this list?

To see more from us, check out Jon's post from yesterday, or hop on over and read Abby's tomorrow.

14 comments:

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was hard to get into at first, but once I started, I couldn't stop.

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  2. Dang it. I haven't read any of these, but your descriptions make them sound like perfect fits for this topic, Christine, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Haven't read any of these either, but I have been dying to get my hands on Going Bovine for a while. I'm putting your other two books on my TBR pile now! :)

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  4. I haven't heard of the other two, but GB was such a winner in my book. I like the way you described it.

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  5. Another recommendation for GB; someone must be trying to tell me something. ;)

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  6. Haven't read any of these, but I've been wanting to read Going Bovine. The mixed reviews are what keeps it lower on my TBR list. Good to hear what you thought of it.

    I've heard that the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a slow start but that it's worth the wait.

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  7. Ahhh, I LOVE Helen of Troy books. I've read several but I don't think this was one of them. Adding it to my list! :D

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  8. I would add Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Such a slow, dull beginning, but quite excellent once you get past the first 50-60 pages. It was required reading in high school and every single kid who quit reading had done so before the 60 page mark. Every kid who lasted that long? Well, we couldn't put it down.

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  9. I totally understand about your patience waning. Becoming a writing has definitely changed the way I read. Great post! :)

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  10. Wow 200 pages is a long time to hang in there with a book that isn't really grabbing you, but sometimes sticking around pays off in the end!

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  11. That's two in a row for Going Bovine! I'm really going to have to read this one now. Especially since I kind of like it when the MC is unlikable and grows through the story.

    With Exile's confusing beginning, I don't think I could read it. That's one of the, as I recently blogged on Operation Awesome, 'ways writers lose me.' I can put up with slow, but if it's confusing and I have to work too hard, my laziness wins. :)

    I love how thoughtful these posts are. It's clear everyone put a lot of consideration into their choices. Makes for an interesting book discussion! Thanks for your reviews!

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  12. Always makes you wonder what books publishers are passing by due to such slow starts. Good examples of stories to not only keep reading, but for us writerly people to keep writing even if we don't have that "flash-bang" beginning.

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  13. I had the same reaction to Going Bovine, but it's on my list to give another shot. The premise is so great!

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  14. I'm with you on Going Bovine. By the end, I just wanted to squish the main character because he'd become so awesome.

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Thanks for your input!