Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Books I Couldn't Finish, April 2009 Edition

Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod (unabridged audio book read by Barret Whitener) — This first book in author Elrod's Vampire Files series begins well. Jim Fleming wakes up after his murder to find himself a vampire; he then sets off to find his killer. It's a classic plot (think D.O.A.) with a twist, and Elrod sets up the time (the 1930s — Dracula has just been released) and place (Chicago, the Al Capone era) with the proper amount of detail.

Fleming is a traditional vampire in some ways but not others, and the mix is interesting. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to talk more than do, and his nonaction eventually gets wearying. About a quarter of the way in, I shut off the audio (read by Barrett Whitener) of Bloodlist and never felt the need to start it again. Those more interested in vampires as characters may stick it out, but I was looking for more of the noir revenge tale.

The CEO of the Sofa by P.J. O'Rourke (unabridged audio book read by Dick Hill) — Humorist P.J. O'Rourke wrote perhaps the funniest piece I've ever read ("So Drunk" in Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut), and I was reading Give War a Chance when I met my wife, so I tend to give him more of an opportunity to make me laugh than I would give others of his ilk. But The CEO of the Sofa (at least the parts I got through) was pure disappointment.

This may be in part because of the date of publication: 2001. Timely humor can be terrific when experienced in a timely manner, but anyone who has watched reruns of Saturday Night Live knows that political humor especially grows quickly stale. The pieces in The CEO of the Sofa — including Bill Clinton jokes, a rundown of the presidential candidates of the 2000 election, and a rant on cell phones(?!) — are hardly interesting as anything more than history.


The Doctor said...

I'm doing quite well on the "book I couldn't finish" front this year. So far the score is zero.

Though Sarah Pinborough's "The Hidden" had me pretty close. Some effective horror set pieces, but the interstitial material just *plodded*.

Craig Clarke said...

Recently, I've become more experimental in what I'll pick up, and also less tolerant of mediocrity, which has led to a higher percentage of unfinished books than usual.

I used to be a completist and could count on one hand the books I'd not finished, but life's too short to stick it out with lacking material.

Here's hoping your choices continue to be good ones!

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