I returned to my local thriftstore yesterday in search of book #10. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in front of these bookshelves (illuminated by the lights that “weren’t for sale”!), looking for books numbers eight and nine. Having spent time browsing the shelves, I realised there weren’t too many new additions to the selection, so chances of picking up one of my reject books from a few days before were high.
After some time picking up and putting back other options (too old, too romantic, too western, too dusty, didn’t like the front cover, no synopsis on the back), I sure enough resorted to those I’d contemplated earlier in the week: one was about a women’s knitting club in New York City (doesn’t sound quite right to me – a cocktail club possibly, or a SATC fanclub, but a knitting club in one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world?!); another was a futuristic tale of women’s roles in society (possibly a little too heavy for the beginning of the year at least!); so I finally settled on The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean. A New York Times bestseller the cover told me, a true story of beauty and obsession, and the inspiration for the movie Adaptation, starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep. Not a bad recommendation if I was looking for one.
I’m now four chapters in, 50 pages later, and I’m in despair. I don’t like it! It’s boring, confusing, too many big words, technical and I can’t quite get my head around what is going on. I know the first few chapters set the story up, and usually I would persevere to page 100 at least, but something is holding me back on this one – and I’m wasting valuable reading time!
Why is it that a “runaway best seller”, obviously purchased by thousands of readers around the world, isn’t capturing my attention? But a thought has occurred. It may be a runaway best seller, but how many of those buyers actually made it through the book to the last page? How many made it past chapter four and read page 51?
The Orchid Thief may be the first book of 2011 that I put down without finishing. That’s not to say I won’t return - the competitor in me won’t be beaten – but I think I may need to go in search of another.