Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bad, Bad Ending!

by Alan

Is there a well-known mystery in which you would have changed the ending/murderer?

[Note: In this blog post, no book/author names will be used to protect the not-so-innocent.]

About ten years ago, I picked up a book with a great premise. I read about 200 pages, then decided that it just wasn’t “working” for me. But I wanted to know what happened. So I finished the book. And it didn’t end any better than it started. I guess you could say it was underwhelming (or hokey, contrived, ridiculous, unbelievable—pick one or pick all).

Fast forward five years. I picked up a book with a great premise. I read about 200 pages, then decided that it just wasn’t “working” for me. But I wanted to know what happened. So I finished the book. And it didn’t end any better than it started. I guess you could say it was underwhelming (or hokey, contrived, ridiculous, unbelievable—pick one or pick all).

Yes—I. Read. The. Same. Stupid. Book. TWICE. Without realizing it. Trash_Can

To prevent me from torturing myself a third time, I actually threw the book in the trash (the only time I’ve ever done that, with the exception of a college text,  Elements of Vibration Analysis, which is another story altogether).

I suppose it goes without saying that I would definitely change the ending of this book. Along with the beginning. And the middle. (The title was fine.)

[By the way, as I was writing this blog post, I looked up the book on Amazon. Judging from some of the reader reviews, I was not alone in my opinion! One representative review header sums it up: “Man, this is a BAAAAD book.”]

As you can tell, my memory about books I’ve read can be spotty (to say the least), so I really can’t remember any other specific books in which I’d change the ending.

But I’m sure they’re out there!

Does anyone else have trouble remembering books they’ve read?

7 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

Pray tell, what would the book be? But I guess that's Top Secret and on a Need to Know basis. So we'll just have to do with our own regretful reads.

I used to persevere through to the end of just about any book or movie I'd started. These days, my thinking is that life is too short. If a book doesn't hook me in the first 100 pages, or a movie in the first half hour, I'm outta there.

Art Taylor said...

That's hilarious, Alan! I've done that as well with books: Have I already read this? But usually I catch myself much sooner! (And I'm with Paul; these days, if a book's not working for me, I just move on.)

Susan C Shea said...

My first thought : relief. My books weren't published ten years ago. (Whew!) I have terrible trouble remembering book titles. I can describe the plot, name the protagonist, talk about the setting easily, but the name.... It takes a great name to stay in my head. One example, my friend Terry Shames' new book, THE LAST DEATH OF JACK HARBIN. Great title, yes? Also, the ending is good.

Dana King said...

I have trouble remembering titles, especially in series. I once picked up an audio book from the library for a long car trip and realized 50 miles out I'd read it before.

Now I keep a spreadsheet of all the books I read, and refer to it before buying anything new.

Meredith Cole said...

I have read several Agatha Christie books over again without remembering the ending (until near the end), but I don't think I've read the same book twice (without remembering that I did).

I'm with Paul, though. If a book doesn't grab me, I set it aside and move on.

Alan Orloff said...

Paul - My lips are sealed. Now, if we were to discuss this in person...

Art - I agree. Life's too short to waste on books that "don't work."

Susan - You're safe. It was actually a sci-fi thriller. And now I don't think I'll ever forget it!

Dana - I know what you mean, especially if all the titles are similar, like John Sandford's Prey series. I couldn't remember which ones I'd read and which I hadn't! Maybe I should try a spreadsheet...

Meredith - Christie wrote so many books, I wonder is she wrote the same one twice, without realizing it.

RJ Harlick said...

Yup, I can re-read and re-read books and it's like a new book every time because I remember so little of it. Saves on the pocket book. But, Alan, I'm dying to know what your 'bad' book was as is everyone else who's read this blog.