Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Surrender - Again

I've chosen my 2007 reading pretty well up to this point, only having given up on one book all year long, but I'm going to have to pull the plug on Ali Smith's Hotel World. I enjoyed listening to the audio version of Smith's The Accidental but I wondered at the time if I would have enjoyed actually reading the book rather than listening to it on my daily commute. Both of the books feature a structure that has alternating chapters being narrated by a different character who speaks in a stream-of-consciousness voice that can be confusing and hard to follow. They are so similar, in fact, that I now know the answer to my question. No, I would not have enjoyed the written version of The Accidental nearly as much as I enjoyed the audio version of it.

I find Ali Smith's writing style to not be worth the trouble. Her plots are sketchy, at best, and having to wade through this much gibberish as Smith attempts to be clever bores me to the point that I just don't care at all about the book. I managed to make my painful way through 91 pages of the book and I can't remember the last time I quit a book after having read so many pages. But I don't intend to waste even another five minutes on this book and I doubt that I will ever attempt another Ali Smith book as long as she continues to write in this style.

Just to be fair, I probably should mention that the book was a Booker Prize finalist in, I think, 2002.

Rated at: Complete waste of time


  1. I've never listened to the audio version of a book. You make a strong case for it, having actually enjoyed listening rather than reading. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

    The only book I didn't finish was Tess of the D'Ubervilles. But I plan to give it another shot.

  2. John, I only listen to the audio books when I'm driving alone. I find them to be great stress-relievers but I seldom listen to them at home.

    I admire your ability to stick with a book until it's done. I think that I have less patience with books that I'm not enjoying then ever because I start to feel that I'm wasting my time and need to move on to something that I'll like.