Life is too short to force ourselves to read books we’re not enjoying at all until the very end. Although I sometimes persevere to the last page of a book I’m not really liking as much as I was expecting to, I only do so when I sincerely hope that it will get better or the ending will surprise me. I hadn’t DNFed a book in quite some time, probably years. But this month I already didn’t finish two: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell and The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino.
I’d had The Road to Wigan Pier (more precisely the Portuguese translation titled O Caminho para Wigan Pier) on my shelves for quite some time, and to be honest I was not that excited about it. I didn’t choose it myself. It was an offer from a bookshop for buying a certain number of books there. As I was trying to read more non-fiction in November, I decided to finally pick it up. But the writing style was not grabbing my attention, and I wasn’t that interested in the subject being covered either. The book delves into the life of the English working class in the 1930s, which could be a fascinating topic if the first pages focused on just a couple of specific people and were more insightful.
The other book I didn’t finish this month, The Castle of the Crossed Destinies, is a collection of short stories based on interpretations of tarot cards. I was expecting the stories to feature characters based on the cards’ drawings, but I thought the plot would be taken a bit further. However, after reading the first two stories and flicking through the others, it felt like we were just being presented with possible meanings for the cards being picked up by random people at a hostel, which used to be a castle, instead of being told a proper story. Continue reading