Gransnet forums

Books/book club

If you were reading a detective novel.........

(38 Posts)
whatisamashedupphrase Wed 15-Feb-12 09:40:24

and it had soooo many different baddies in it, all with different nationalities and, therefore, foreign sounding names which are impossible to remember, and the plot was becoming so involved as to be seemingly impossible to follow *without^ keeping track of who's who, would you:

a. Read it over and over, possibly to the extent of taking notes, until you did get it.


b. Skim read it just to know that the good guy and the little people he is protecting, came out on top in the end?

a. Would be a good brain exercise and would probably give more satisfaction in the end, whereas b. would bring quicker rewards.


Carol Wed 15-Feb-12 09:59:10

If I was finding a book fairly impenetrable, I would put it to the bottom of the pile and pick a book for sheer enjoyment. I used to persevere with them until the last couple of years - I've got too many waiting to be read now, and a quick check to see if there are any major revelations on the last few pages will satisfy my curiosity. Quick rewards for me!

bagitha Wed 15-Feb-12 10:28:13

c. give up.

If it's that hard, it's badly written.

Elegran Wed 15-Feb-12 10:51:13

DH writes a list of characters of whatever novel he is reading, to refer to when he gets lost, even for an Agatha Christie. But then, he is sometimes stumped remembering the names of my greatest friends.

Maniac Wed 15-Feb-12 11:04:45

I would give up!
Why can't authors put a cast list at the beginning?

Do you ever reject a book because of print size and quality?.
I borrow large print books from library for reading in bed

whatisamashedupphrase Wed 15-Feb-12 11:07:38

That is the answer. Write out a cast list!

Why didn't I think of that?!

It's a Lee Childs 'Jack Reacher book'.

gracesmum Wed 15-Feb-12 11:15:49

I wondered if you were talking about one of the Stieg Larsson/Larssen(?) books - I kept having to check who was a goodie and who was a baddie, but there was a list of characters if I remember rightly.
To be honest if I am finding a book hard going, I just jettison it, life is too short and we no longer HAVE to read books like when we were at school.
I also reject books if I do not like the font or layout.
Of course another good thing about a Kindle is that you can change the font size if you like!
This particular Lee Childs sounds like one to jettison.

Carol Wed 15-Feb-12 11:20:17

Funny you should say that gracesmum. I was thinking of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when I read this thread. Too much like hard work!

kittylester Wed 15-Feb-12 11:24:55

C, ditch it, as gracesmum said, life is far too short. I rarely read other than in bed and I need soporific stuff not a stimulating read!

numberplease Wed 15-Feb-12 17:02:06

I`ve never had any problems with Jack Reacher stories, but if I do have anything with a complicated plot, or I forget how certain things came to be, I just look back to the appropriate place and refresh my memory.

GoldenGran Wed 15-Feb-12 17:11:24

I would give it up, life's too short etc; A really good book is always readable.

jeni Wed 15-Feb-12 17:17:13

I'm thinking of giving up on the book I'm currently reading.
The trouble is I'm not sure if it's the book that is at fault, or the distractions of GN?

Ariadne Wed 15-Feb-12 17:24:22

If a book is like that, unless you are forced to study it, it is time for the "sod it" principle to activate.

As kittylester says, life is too short.

I do have a bit of a hang up with novels from the Scandinavian countries, and, when, I had to read them, hated the Russion novels.

Annobel Wed 15-Feb-12 17:36:51

The problem with the Kindle is that it's quite difficult to look back a few (or more) pages to see if you have understood something. Unless someone knows how to do it?

jeni Wed 15-Feb-12 17:38:35

Press the back button

bagitha Wed 15-Feb-12 17:45:12

Why does it matter where the 'fault' lies, jeni? Leisure reading is for enjoyment, so just read what you enjoy. Sounds as if you have to do plenty of serious reading as well with your work.

jeni Wed 15-Feb-12 17:54:10

You are not joking. I have just had a file
that has 617pages to read and when we hear the case we have been allotted80minutes to hear it in. We don't get paid for preparation time.

bagitha Wed 15-Feb-12 17:58:03

Hope you're a speed reader like Harold Wilson! smile

jeni Wed 15-Feb-12 17:59:59

Actually I am but I'm not looking forward to sitting down to read this one. The shear weight of it will hurt my wrists!

bagitha Wed 15-Feb-12 18:00:57


jeni Wed 15-Feb-12 18:16:47

Nah. Prefer to sit in my recliner with feet up. Helps pains in ankles. Fed up with being old.

whatisamashedupphrase Wed 15-Feb-12 18:20:14

You can put a relevant name or word in 'search' Annobel.

whatisamashedupphrase Wed 15-Feb-12 18:22:05

They've all got killed now anyway. smile It's quite a good book. The Jack Reacher ones usually are, but they do get a bit involved.

Greatnan Thu 16-Feb-12 08:30:10

I am a speed reader too - I can finish a 300 page novel in an evening. However, I no longer slog on with any book that is hard work. I gave up on some highly recommended books because I could not remember the names of the characters, (e.g. A suitable boy, War and Peace). In some cases, I couldn't work out whether they were male or female.
This does not mean they were badly written, of course, just that the foreign names made it impossible to identify the characters easily.
Badly written English books just infuriate me - the worst book I have ever read was 'Flowers in the Attic'. I kept reading out of sheer incredulity at the ridiculous, unnatural dialogue, let alone the implausible plot. Tristram Shandy was another that was never finished.
I don't mind Dickens's host of characters because they are usually such freaks that they are easily remembered.
I do wonder if studying English for a degree makes one too critical.

Annobel Thu 16-Feb-12 08:51:23

Maybe it does, Greatnan but I do so agree about 'Flowers in the Attic'. I was teaching in FE at the time it was fashionable and my young female students told me how terrific it was and like a fool I decided to have a look. What rubbish! However, it did get them reading which is something, I suppose!