Throwing in the Towel

Books are easy to stop reading. Heck, I read over 200 pages of Tom Clancy’s “Clear and Present Danger” and found it to be very boring, so I quit. I don’t often do this, however, as I like the sense of accomplishment of finishing a book. It took me over a year to finish Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I was probably around 16-years old. And though I wish I never started reading that over-hyped piece of literary trash, I did finish it and can tell you about its anti-climatic ending and talk about characters like the Trashcan Man. But, I didn’t read the version that came out back in the 1990’s (?) when it was re-released with MORE pages. I can’t even imagine.

Anyway, I recently checked out a collection of short stories from Ursula K. LeGuin, who wrote I novel I read about a year ago (title escapes me at the moment) that I really liked. The very first story in the book is about 40 pages long and is called “Half Past Four”. It’s split into about 6 different sections. When I started reading the 2nd section, I knew there was something really peculiar about this story. It had the same characters as the previous section, but all of a sudden the relationships changed. I read the 3rd section and it happened once again, this time getting even more confusing. A few days went by until I read the next section. And though I couldn’t remember what was going on, I realized it didn’t matter. It didn’t appear to tie in at all to the section before it. I skipped to the end and as far as I could see there wasn’t an explanation for what was going on, so I quit with more than half of it read.

I searched on the internet to see if I could find anything about the story and its meaning, but came up empty. Instead, someone raved on Amazon about it being a “virtuoso” story about change in perspective. OK. But I am not really wanting to read someone’s writing exercise; I am reading to hopefully be entertained or informed. I wasn’t getting either. Maybe I am just an ignorant reader, and that’s probably true, but it seemed like a daring way to start off a collection of short stories. Now I am not sure I want to read anymore.


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