To Read or Not To Read

File:Book red; question marks.svg

When my book club selected “Arcadia,” by Lauren Groff as the book of the month I read the back cover and said, “Please, not again.”

The blurb described a story centered on a group of people living in a commune. Nothing wrong with that, but I remember trying such stories before and not successfully. And I don’t want another unfinished book. I want to love the book and read it from cover to cover.

So, I did everything possible to avoid turning on my Kindle, even considered skipping the next book club meeting or reading the cliff notes.

I don’t know Ms. Groff; never read anything of hers before. But since friends took time to recommend the book and schedule it for discussion, I finally decided to give the first chapter a try.

And guess what? I’m glad I did. There is merit to the story, but the real beauty is in the writing. Words are strung together artistically and magically in such a way they fuel the imagination beyond description. The prose almost vanquishes the events by superior force, and there are many events as the story covers a time period.

Of course I’m barely halfway through, so there’s time for disappointment. And judging by the reviews on Amazon, there are disappointed readers out there.

But so far this book-club selection is a wonderful surprise … and to think that I almost didn’t give it a fair try.

~~~~ Have you ever been pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by a book or movie?


18 responses to “To Read or Not To Read

  1. All four ;-)
    I kinda hate book recommendations because I have so many author friends and have about 45 unread books on my Kindle already. Books made into movies always disappoint me. Hunger Games did not. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled with “The Help”. It was a recommendation from my best friend and we’ve discovered over the years that we do NOT have the same taste in books, not even murder mysteries, which we both like.
    I want to read now…but I should do the laundry…
    Tina @ Life is Good

  2. I really expected to hate Harry Potter, mostly because I expect to hate anything with that much press, but I ate them up. There are so many books that are sequels to books I love that ended up disapointing, Like Speaker for the Dead and The Vampire Lestat.

  3. Boy, can I ever relate to that story!! I have only managed to complete 1/2 of the novel “prescribed” by our book club for this month. I tried…. I really did, but just “not gonna happen”! Kudos to you for getting to the point where you like it. I feel I gave it a fair chance!

  4. Sylvia, if you only knew how many terrible books I’ve begun reading at the recommendation of friends. My Kindle is loaded with them. What I’ve taken to doing is reading the book reviews in the Wall Street Journal. I haven’t yet found one of their recommended books I didn’t like. One of the books recommended is called Wool – it’s a sci-fi with a good story and very imaginative/ I also just finished reading Edward Rutherford’s Paris. Not as good as some of his previous historical fiction but I learned an amazing amount about Paris!.

  5. I tried to work my way through the latest Ken Follette book, which chronicles the changes in England at the turn of the 20th century. I can’t remember the title, which means I have dismissed it entirely.

    *Pillars of the Earth* and *World without End* were amazing books, and I devoured them. But this last book was garbled and confusing to me. Oh, well. Maybe I will pick it up in a few months and be surprised.

    Good post. Now I must read *Arcadia*. Susan Kane

  6. I’m going on vacation on the 24th and already have two books purchased from Karen Michelle Nutt who is an A-Z participant and author.

    I’ll have to remember this book for another time, sounds like it might be interesting! I’ve also never belonged to a book club, is it enjoyable?

    Jen @ We’re Living A Full Life

    • Jen, I just signed up with my local book club some four months ago and already didn’t make two meetings. That’s why I’m glad this selection is a good one. Yes, it’s very enjoyable, very stimulating. I like it.

  7. It’s such a treat to find an unexpected good read. When I had my kindle I downloaded so many novels initially, and was disappointed that I only found a few amongst them I really enjoyed. But I read Dark Matter by Michelle Paver last winter, and can’t recommend it enough. It’s atmospheric, creepy and I couldn’t put it down even though I was so scared as the tension built. I’ll look out now for Arcadia on kindle.Thanks, Sylvia, for the recommendation.

  8. I think when we least expect it is when we most receive it. I’m glad you are enjoying the book so far (and hopefully until the end?).

  9. Hey Silvia! I nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger award! I hope you’ll accept it and spread the love!

  10. Hello, and thank you for checking out my blog! The A to Z challenge sounds exciting, unfortunately I was deeply embroiled in the NaPoWriMo Challenge at the time or I would have joined in the fun.
    Recently I met a most wonderful man who has been passing on some of his books to me. In the past I would simply have thanked him and put them aside–I like to choose my own books, thank you. But the way he talks about the books he reads brings them alive and once in my possession they draw me to them like sorcerers chanting on the bookshelf. So far I have not been disappointed.
    I’ll be back!

  11. I only occasionally read recommended books, mostly because my friends and I tend not to read the same sort of books. I did pick up the sample for 50 Shades of Grey, after so many people were raving about it, but I just couldn’t get past the bad writing and the creepiness factor to bother to buy the whole book.

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