The Unfinished and the Cornered
Recently I started reading Ghost of a Chance by Simon R Green. It was the first book in the Ghost Finders series by the author. I made it to page 77 before I came to the conclusion that I will never finish this book.
Don’t get me wrong. I usually finish most of the books that I decide to read. Well, eventually. There have been a number of books in the past that I have not finished.
I have started to read Fellowship of the Ring after watching the Peter Jackson movies. I got maybe a third of the way into the book before I got sidetracked with other books.
I had started reading Dark Mission by Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara. The heady material involved made it tough going. The book itself covers a lot of the history of NASA, with a lot of astrophysics involved. I also had an issue with the fact that the book was “written” by Hoagland, but he often refers to himself in the third person. It left me with two possibilities: either the book was more written by Bara than Hoagland, or that Hoagland was pulling a Julius Caesar and chose to write his own book in the third person.
I have started a number of computer and writing books. Most of those I never finished because I got what I needed out of them and set them aside… just in case.
Then there was The Count of Monte Cristo, which I started one Labor Day weekend while trying to get to sleep after the first night of the MDA telethon. That book I lost before I could finish it. You would be surprised how often that happens. I misplace the book, or I loan them to someone, there are a lot of reasons why I don’t finish these books.
In most of these cases, I would have tried to finish the books at some point. The computer books I would have fallen back on with questions. The writing books I would have used for reference again and again. Besides, I don’t think anyone actually expects to read The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook (second edition) cover to cover. The books I lost I would have eventually replaced and restarted. And I eventually would have tried to wrap my head around the physics of Dark Mission again.
Still, there are some books that I just can’t finish because they are that bad. These books never get finished because they are so painful to read that all I want to do is throw them into a corner and forget about them. These books are known as corner books.
Ghost of a Chance has now become one of these books. Granted, I have read other books by Green, well, one book. Something From The Nightside was an okay book, even if it was about as subtle as a chainsaw. I thought that maybe Ghost of a Chance would have been better. The book dealt with ghosts and not an alternate reality like Nightside. I made it through 77 painful pages of Ghost of a Chance before I said I could not take any more. I decided that I could not stand to read anymore. And once I got home, I literally tossed it into a corner of the room.
I have to admit that books are not the only thing that get banished to the corner. Movies, video games, tv shows and even comics can end up there. The original version of Last House on the Left ended up in the corner after I stopped it half way through.
As for video games, they most often end up in the corner because I get frustrated with them. Ultimate Spider-Man ended up there after the game glitched right as I was about to beat the Rhino (which took my 12 tries). The same frustration came from Star Trek Encounters where I found that the Voyager level that required me to fly an extremely precise path to outrun an alien ship took 20 tries, only to find out there was another level of this space race… and no save point.
The corner is a way of dealing with frustration. That frustration may be from buying a book that sounded good, but ended up horribly unreadable. Or it can be from having such a tough time with a game that you just say, “To Hell with it” and toss it aside. Throwing things into a corner does not really solve anything.
But it does feel good to banish them to the corner.