You know how there are some books that you want to like, you really want to like, but you just don’t? I’m not even talking about I-wanted-to-like-but-couldn’t-finish. This is its more extreme cousin; I-read-it-and-can’t-remember-what-happened.
This has only happened to me with a couple books. The two most notable ones I’ve reread at least once (on the off chance that I was doing it wrong the first time), and yet I can barely remember the main characters and basic plot structure.
One is Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Yes, yes, just shoot me now. It’s the love child of two authors I adore, and I just can’t do it. I’ve read every Discworld novel (yes, even the crap ones like Moving Pictures). I’ve read the entire Sandman series plus many of Gaiman’s other books. These guys are seriously awesome.
And yet, I couldn’t tell you how Good Omens ends. Or begins, even. Or most of the middle bits, though I do recall something about a hellhound (named “dog”?) and Famine leading people to starve themselves because it has become trendy.
The second book is The Eyre Affaire by Jasper Fforde. I’ve read it a number of times. Hell, the first time around I chased it down with whatever other books in the series were out at the time. Obviously, these did not make painful reads.
And yet. I remember something about the Crimean war (because I still don’t know what the hell that is). I have an image of Thursday shaking a glass jar filled with equal parts beans and rice (or something like that) and having them separate perfectly. And I know Wales comes into it somewhere.
That’s it. Oh, there was some nonsense about her having a pet dodo, but half the time I think it was a penguin. And she fed it pez?
The only notable effect this book had on my life was to ruin the ending of Jane Eyre (which I had to read for 11th grade English). I knew that a crazy lady and a burning roof came into it, in the very least, which is more than I would have known had I not read it.
I can’t say that this is the fault of those books. By many accounts, they are appreciated by quite a large percentage of their readers. Somewhat recently, I have realized that my first impression was true: I wasn’t doing it right.
I’m still not.
But this is not my fault, either. Obviously, there is something about these characters or these situations which does not at all appeal to me. My continuous-onset amnesia is caused by my focus always being on what happens next, as opposed to the scene that is unfolding in front of me.
I’m guessing, at least. Does anyone else experience this?