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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lavinia (a DNF post)

I know, some of you are gasping in horror over the title of this post. Let me explain ...

*** How I ended up reading it ***

I'd been hearing great things about LAVINIA, by Ursula K. LeGuin, from a bunch of bloggers. It sounded like something I'd really enjoy so I put it on my TBR list. Since it is based on the events in Virgil's AENEID, my plan was to read/listen to that first (maybe for the Really Old Classics Challenge) then pick up LAVINIA.

Through a very complicated set of conflicting schedules and car swapping, I ended up driving by myself in my mother-in-law's car to join my family for a weekend at the beach. Just before leaving I realized that her car had a cd player so the audio book cassettes I'd been listening to in MY car were useless to me. This led to a last minute trip to the library before getting on to the highway.

I browsed the audio book section as quickly as possible and grabbed the first two titles I recognized: LAVINIA, and INTO THE WOODS, by Tana French. Within minutes I was back in the car and heading to the beach.

One look at the cover of INTO THE WOODS and I knew that it was definitely not the book I needed for this trip - too creepy. It was not the same white cover with branching black letters I'd seen previously. This one had a broken doll and lots of blood on it - NOT a beach trip book, at least not for me. So I was left with LAVINIA ... and I was pretty excited about it.

*** It's not you, it's me. ***

That trip was at the end of September and I STILL haven't been able to finish listening to this book. Here's why:
  • I should definitely have read THE AENEID first - I have basically no idea of the background of this story, other than the references to THE ILIAD that I do understand.
  • The best place for me to listen to audio books is in the car. There are no distractions and I can really take in the story. Once I gave my mother-in-law her car back, I was forced to listen to this book at home with LOTS of distractions
  • Because of that last point, I'm not really caring about any of the characters.
  • I dread turning on the CD and have been forcing myself to keep listening.
My problems with this book really have NOTHING to do with the book itself but rather with me. Because of that, and because I still think I might enjoy it if given the right circumstances, I plan to revisit this one once I've read THE AENEID.

*** Your Thoughts ***

Have you ever had an experience like this where circumstances prevented you from enjoying a book? Tell me about it so I don't feel so ridiculous ...

And here are some additional perspectives on this book that explain why I wanted to read it so much:


bermudaonion said...

I do think circumstances influence how much you enjoy a book. Maybe this one will work for you later.

Kailana said...

I know that I would probably enjoy a book at a different time instead of the time that I read it. Mood and circumstances strongly influence what I think of a book.

kelly! said...

You NEED to read In The Woods! It really would have been a perfect beach read - it's not as creepy as the cover leads you to think, and it is SOOO GOOOD!

Then read The Likeness as well. Those were 2 of my favorite books of 2009.

Dreamybee said...

I can't imagine trying to listen to an audio book in the house. Even with nobody home I think I would find too many distractions! Sorry about the bad timing. I feel your pain! ;)

Rebecca Reid said...

I was pretty surprized to see it was a DNF -- until i saw that you haven't read THE AENEID. I haven't either, so those two have to go together for me.

I hope you can get back to it once you've read AENEID...or at least, I hope it really is as good as I've heard from others!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Okay, first of all, I have this book and I plan to read it...someday!

Second, I am currently listening to The Vampire Lestat in my truck. Now anyone that knows me, knows I LURVE Anne Rice. And this is my second reading of this book. However, earlier today I found myself getting really annoyed with it. I don't know if it was the narrator or what. Sometimes I think audio books (and the people who read them) can really get on your nerves...especially if you have other crap going on in your life (which I seem to have a lot of lately)!

So don't feel bad about your experience. I think we all "go there" sometimes!

Here's a little cheer award for you!

Anonymous said...

I agree, there are times when circumstances won't let you enjoy a book! It's ok...take your time

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Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

bermudaonion - I HOPE so, b/c I really wanted to love this one.

Kailana - So glad I'm not alone!

kelly! - I agree, it didn't sound that creepy, but the cover turned me off. I'll have to READ that one rather than LISTEN to it, I think.

Dreamybee - Exactly - too many distractions ...

Rebecca Reid - I'm very hopeful that the 2nd try on this will be successful ... AFTER I've read the AENEID. ;)

thetruebookaddict - I'm sorry you're in a similar situation. :( But glad you know what I'm talking about. And thanks for the award!

Justin Narin - Thanks!

Lisa said...

This one has been on my radar. So I've learned a) do the advance reading and b) do not listen to it. I've had some problems with audio books before. Sometimes the reading really enhances the book and other times I feel like it has ruined it for me and I've given up on the audio version of the book.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Lisa - Yes, I think I'll be READING this one on my next try ...

Cara Powers said...

Thank you for including a link to my review! I just found it when I was getting the link for the Lavinia review for the Aeneid retelling Black Ships I'm scheduling for Tuesday. You really don't need to read the Aeneid first. The Wikipedia page and a little Wiki surfing will do just fine. Of course, if you WANT to read it, props to you. I personally don't like audiobooks because the narrator gets in the way. Also, I've had many experiences where I've put a book down in the first 50 pages only to come back to it later and love it. You're not alone. ;-)

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Cara - Thanks for chiming in! I actually DO want to read (rather, listen to) The Aeneid, especially since I'm co-hosting the Really Old Classics Challenge. I enjoy the old stories on audio ... which is why I think this particular story didn't work so well for me.

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