Tuesday, March 12, 2019

One less book

I threw a book away today. A new hardcover. Normally, I would donate a book I didn't want to keep to the library sales, but this book had some pages where the print was faded and there were odd splotches of color obscuring what little text could be read. If I had wanted to keep the book, I might have tried to return it for a clean copy. I didn't feel I could donate it in the shape it was.

On some level it feels wrong to throw a book away, particularly a new one in such outwardly good shape. But I didn't want this book in my house. I was enjoying it until it turned very violent at the end, in a way that I found deeply disturbing. The backstory of one of the main women characters was gradually revealed over the course of the story, with an episode of psychological abuse that involved a severed body part (someone else's). A minor female character was tortured and sexually assaulted for hours, and then left to die alone. This is presented from her point of view, though at least not in extreme detail. Forty people, whom we are told are bad though we never see them in action, are burned alive.

The book is Wild Country by Anne Bishop. It is the latest in her series of books about the Others, powerful predators who in an alternate reality control the world and allow humans only so much space in it. I really liked the previous books in the series, though I don't seem to have written about them before. If there are any further books in the series, I won't rush to read them.


Now I feel like something soothing and comforting, where absolutely no one dies, not even a mouse.

12 comments:

  1. I do know what you mean. I wish there was some way of grading books for gratuitous sadism, violence, etc. I have recently read 'Azincourt' which obviously has a lot of violent battle scenes in it, but I did not feel they were deliberately cruel. However, I started reading 'The Kite Runner', and was really enjoying until an unpleasant character described as a sociopath was introduced. I am now very reluctant to read on, as I expect somebody will end up being tortured, which I just do not want to read about in fiction.

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    1. Physical torture of either people or animals is usually an automatic "I'm done" for me in a book. I did keep reading this one, mostly because I was so close to the end. This series has a lot of violence - the Others regularly kill humans who break their laws (and often eat them). But they don't torment the humans, and they don't kill capriciously, so I could accept it.

      Serial killers are another "nope" for me, because they so often torture their victims.

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  2. I don't think you should feel bad about tossing this one. Violence like that disturbs me, too. Which is why I'm currently reading a Georgette Heyer...where happy endings abound and no one ever dies. (Or at least none of the characters you like.)

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    1. Anyone who dies in a Heyer novel usually deserves it :) Which one are you reading?

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    2. Sprig Muslin. And I'm already loving it! Amanda is hysterically funny.

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    3. And Hester is such a lovely heroine!

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  3. Ack! That sounds awful! I hate it when a book doesn't turn out to be what I expected, especially if it's in a grim way like this. When I was ten, I got a book for my birthday that upset me so badly I hid it under a mattress, but that was not sufficient to protect me from it, so I threw it in the trash and dumped coffee grounds on it. I FEEL YA, FRIEND.

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    1. You are a woman and a reader after my own heart. It would be under kitty litter in this house! I had to bury a book of short stories, with one involving the torture of animals, deep in the garbage can one night, because it was too late to take it out to the dumpster.

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  4. I feel exactly the same as you and some books I just have to get rid of. It doesn't happen all that often though as I dodge books that feature child murder or abduction or anything gruesome. I'm happier with vintage crime for that reason as it's rarely really violent or nasty.

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    1. I don't want to read about child murder either, which seems to be the main plot of quite a few crime stories lately. That's a very good point about vintage crime. I remember Harriet Vane telling Peter that serial killers are boring and unfair to the reader.

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  5. Sometimes when someone in my book group dislikes a book, she gives it to me to dispose of, knowing I will at least donate it to the library while she might toss it!

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    1. I have a bag next to my computer, where I put books for the library sale. I took several over yesterday - and noticed a big sign for the upcoming annual plant and book sale. I always look for the books I've donated there, and I rarely escape without buying something.

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Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!