books and stuff


Toe-curling sex scenes (not in a good way, either)

When you’re half way through a book and you realise that you’re not enjoying it.


I was optimistic when I picked up I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers. Owen is a great poet, so I figured I wouldn’t be disappointed, but I really was, and it proved difficult to carry on reading.

My main issue was that the narrative seemed completely irrelevant. It felt as if three stories had been cut up and shoved together without any consideration as to if it made sense. I wasn’t interested – the characters didn’t develop quick enough. It dragged. I even managed to get through a cringeworthy sex scene, of which, would have felt more at home in a porn script. Read it, you’ll understand.

By the time I had finished the novel, I didn’t care about the ending, I just wanted it over with. I thought about the time I had wasted. How many books could I have read that I did like?

After discussing this book with a friend I discovered that often poets are encouraged (or forced) to write a fiction novel, in order to keep them ‘out there’. This made sense – it felt forced. No passion.

So although I understood why Sheers had supposedly written the novel, I came to the decision that I wasn’t going to waste any more time on books that I wasn’t enjoying, no matter how guilty I felt. (Sorry, Owen).

Reading time is precious. Don’t waste it. Reading bad books, or books that are wrong for a certain time in your life, can dangerously turn you off the activity altogether.

– Lionel Shriver

Worryingly, after reading this novel, I didn’t feel like reading for a while. Normally I’d jump straight into the next, but this had put me off – what if I didn’t enjoy the next?

I would hate to be put off reading all together (what would I even do with my time?!). So next time, I’m not going to force myself to get to the end.

See what you think of I Saw A Man.




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