When I go to the library, I try not to have too many ideas of what books I want to take out because for me the thrill is in finding a story I might not have considered or come across before. It’s about as spontaneous as a bookworm like me gets and it’s had some mixed results. I couldn’t get through First Novel by Nicholas Royle fast enough but found myself disappointed by Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere. You don’t always get what you were expecting and that’s a good thing.
But when I got around eighty pages into Under the Skin by Michael Faber I realised that it really wasn’t for me, and I felt guilty. I’m not sure if this is a new thing since I started blogging about the books I read and at the back of my mind I was already panicking about how I was going to write a review, or I was simply ashamed that I hadn’t managed to finish a book because abandoning a book not even halfway through feels a little bit like failure.
The truth is there was nothing wrong with the prose. It was detailed. Faber’s Scottish highlands were eery and untamed, the perfect place for Isserley to pick up male hitchhikers. The sense of unease built gradually, Isserley’s predatory nature revealed as Faber slips between the distinctive voices of her passengers. The truth is that there are things that happen in the book that disturbed me and I couldn’t stomach reading any more.
It might seem like a flimsy excuse but its the same reason why I avoid horror films, and forcing myself to read a book that made me feel uncomfortable just for the sake of saying I’d read it seemed a bit silly to me. I still felt guilty though even when I decided I wouldn’t write a review and no one would know there was another book to add to the pile I’d never finish. To some respect, I think its the fear of being caught out, of having someone find out and worse disagree. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If every book was for everyone then there wouldn’t be the excitement of finding a book that’s perfect for you, and there would’t be much to talk about. So, it’s ok if a book isn’t your cup of tea because the next book might be the brew for you.