Nom, nom: Eating Crow

A few days back, I penned a post about Special Topics in Calamity Physics.  I was 5 discs into the audio book and getting seasick from Marisha Pessl’s ocean of figurative language and obscure references; I found the the novel gimmicky and pretentious.  But hard-headed Sicilian that I am, soldiered on, refusing to wave the white flag on this book.

In recent days, Pessl has won a few battles and is gaining ground.  I’m still not 100% sure who the victor of this little skirmish will be, but am seriously considering decamping.  12 discs in, I’m hooked on this book!

Tonight after work, I sat in my driveway for 20 minutes listening to the novel’s pivotal camping scene, unable to tear myself from the car.  Sure, Pessl’s writing is still tiresome with all the similes, metaphors, and esoteric references, but I’m finally invested in the story, characters, and mystery.

I’m reserving final judgment until the end, but will gamely admit that I prematurely hung Pessl out to dry without listening to enough of the book.

Historically, if I don’t like a book by the fourth or fifth chapter, I don’t hold out too much hope for the rest of the novel.  I always finish the books*, but in recent memory have not fallen in love (or even in like) with a book after being irked or disappointed from the outset.  Maybe this book will be my exception.

Have you ever prematurely judged a book and ended up feeling differently by the end?

*House of Leaves and The Book Thief are the only two books I’ve ever broken up with but have intentions of completing both one day soon.

21 Comments

  • At 2010.10.27 07:47, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    Oh, I’m sure I have, but I can’t think of a specific book I’ve done it with.

    • At 2010.10.27 09:11, Steph said:

      You know, I very rarely have a turn of heart with books either. Normally I can tell within the first 30 pages or so what kind of book I’m going to find it to be… In rare cases I start off loving books and they slide downhill, but it’s incredibly unlikely that I start off being lukewarm and tumbling head over heels with a book.
      Steph´s last blog post ..Chanel No 28

      • At 2010.10.27 10:17, Dishy said:

        You know what Nat, I bet you would have been more taken with the book from the onset if you’d been reading it vs. listening to it. You mentioned it yourself, but I really think that’s the case. Especially since you’re so riveted now. Just my 2 cents. PS: about to test the email subscribe, wish me luck!
        Dishy´s last blog post ..Fair Weather Friend

        • At 2010.10.27 10:18, Dishy said:

          WOOHOO! check & check.
          Dishy´s last blog post ..Fair Weather Friend

          • At 2010.10.27 10:44, Liz said:

            I agree with Steph- once I give up on a book there’s normally no going back. My thought is always too many books, too little time to spend reading one I can’t get into!
            Liz´s last blog post ..What Makes A Classic

            • At 2010.10.27 11:00, Ti said:

              I think you will end up liking this one in the end. I know I did.

              I also broke up with The Book Thief. I got bored. It’s still noted in my list of books read for 2010 though so I either need to remove it, or actually read the darn thing.

              My recent experience with soldiering on happened with The Reapers are the Angels. I was three pages in and I thought, “WTF is going on?” but I pushed on and loved it in the end.
              Ti´s last blog post ..Review- Proof A Play

              • At 2010.10.27 16:49, g said:

                the book thief?? really? i can’t believe it. give it another chance lady.

                • At 2010.10.28 06:25, Natalie said:

                  i know, i know. my 2010 new year’s book resolution was to read this one once and for all. i still have 64 days left…

                  • At 2010.10.27 19:19, Lisa said:

                    I have had books that have redeemed themselves some as they went on but never anything I fell in love with. Conversely, I’ve had books that I really liked a lot i the early going that ended up being such a disappointment. I’m not sure which way I would prefer.
                    Lisa´s last blog post ..Stranger Here Below

                    • At 2010.10.28 07:10, A Southern Cousin said:

                      Oooh, I read Physics. It took me a while to get through it. . . It was recommended to me by a Lit. professor, so I had very high expectations. I enjoyed it, but it was not a 4 bookmark read. . . I, too, broke up with The Book Thief this year, but I have intents to go back and try again, as everyone I talk to has loved it.

                      • At 2010.10.28 14:46, Jenners said:

                        Sounds like you are having a huge battle over there. Can’t wait to see how it ends up.
                        Jenners´s last blog post ..Writer’s Workshop- Walking On the Moon

                        • At 2010.10.28 18:21, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                          There are very few books that I actually break-up with. I’m more of a “we need to take a break” kind of girl. I find myself setting a book aside because some shiny new one has caught my attention but I almost always go back to it, and the funny thing is they turn out to be some of my favorites (which includes The Book Thief so I think if you give it another try you will not be disappointed).

                          • At 2010.10.28 19:23, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said:

                            Oh good, I’m glad this one improves. I bought it awhile ago and was really excited about reading it. I don’t often gives books up — I’m a stick it out kind of person — but wish I was better at letting bad books go.

                            • At 2010.10.28 19:41, Mrs. Q: Book Addict said:

                              I’ve had this book since it first came out and i’ve never read it. I read “Interpreter of Maladies” and couldn’t get through it, I put it aside and came back to it after reading “Unaccustomed Earth” and I loved it! I’m so glad I came back to it.
                              Mrs. Q: Book Addict´s last blog post ..When You Follow Your Heart Finale

                              • At 2010.10.29 12:22, Belle said:

                                I don’t think I would have stuck it out for this long. I tend to give a book one chapter, and if I’m not into it by then, I have a very difficult time finishing.

                                • At 2010.10.29 13:01, Beth F said:

                                  I have stuck it and been surprised but can’t think of an example. These days I’m more likely to put the book aside and try it again later and then give up entirely if I still don’t like it. I have this is audio too, but I haven’t listened.
                                  Beth F´s last blog post ..Review: Fables 3Storybook Love by Bill Willingham

                                  • At 2010.10.29 14:31, Sheri/Bookie said:

                                    Just recently, I almost ditched Stiltsville. I’m glad I didn’t because the end was quite moving, but damn I was close.

                                    I ditched Atonement, and everyone says I should give it another go. I dunno, for me the first couple of chapters were tortorous.
                                    Sheri/Bookie´s last blog post ..This is ME right now! and I couldn’t be happier

                                    • At 2010.10.29 18:57, dw said:

                                      wow i’m impressed! you’ve only broken up with two books? i can’t even remember the number of books i stopped reading half way through, although like you, i always made that promise that one day i’ll eventually get around to finishing the book.

                                      • At 2010.10.30 20:55, softdrink said:

                                        Whew.
                                        softdrink´s last blog post ..Trick or Treat

                                        • At 2010.10.30 21:28, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                                          just finished it tonight–and am happy i didn’t abandon it! it was twisty and turny but enjoyable! thanks for the recommendation, jill!!!

                                        • At 2010.10.30 22:56, bybee said:

                                          You’re a brave soldier! Salute!

                                          The only book I can think of lately is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo..I wanted to break up with it 200 pages in, but kept on since it was MY recommendation for book group.
                                          bybee´s last blog post ..October 2010- Buying

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