Difficult Reads – Persist or Give Up?

Today I want to discuss difficult books, and what we all do when we come across them!

As I’m sure all of you can relate to, I have misjudged books in the past. Thinking I will love something based on reviews, or recommendations, or the blurb, but once I start reading, finding myself in Struggle Town. However, I’m usually determined to get through it. It takes a lot for me to put a book down¬†without finishing it, which I must admit, can get painful at times. I can count on one hand the books I’ve started and not finished. And not for want of trying. There are also a small number of books that I’ve started and am YET to finish. Ones that I am determined to persist with. So I guess you could say that I’m currently reading about 5 books… some are just taking longer than others!!

Two books that I never plan to even think about again (after this post, of course ūüėČ ) are the second¬†Bridget Jones’ Diary – The Edge of Reason,¬†and¬†The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt.¬†I lost patience with Bridget Jones. I didn’t like the first book, so really have no idea why I even picked up the second. Actually didn’t get very far in before giving up.¬†The Children’s Book, I tried, I swear. So hard. I finally conceded that I had to give up when I had chewed my way through almost 200 pages of the 700-odd pages (and this much took me a month), and realised that I had absolutely NO CLUE what I had read. Other than that there were children in it. Sigh.

Apparently that lyrical style of writing confuses my brain. I’m led to believe these types of books are easier to understand if read aloud, but that looks (and sounds) slightly odd on a crowded train, and takes for-freaking-ever.¬† So I – grudgingly – gave up. I find it incredibly difficult to stop reading a book, even if once I get to the end my thoughts are solely “Well there’s 2 hours/days/decades of my life I’m never getting back.” I suppose I feel I have to give it every chance to prove itself. Not entirely sure why though, it’s not like I enjoy those particular books very much!

A couple that I’ve struggled but persisted through are¬†1984, and¬†Cloudstreet. One that I’ve finished, and one that I’ve yet to – but am still planning on.¬†1984¬†took 5 tries, and about¬†3 years, but the sense of satisfaction I had once I closed that final page was amazing. Cloudstreet I powered through the first half, then something interrupted me, and I never got back to it. Note to self: must have another go…

Why do I continue to do it to myself? Oh yeah. I (mostly) enjoy it. Give me a good book and a decent coffee and I’m set. Tim Tams don’t go astray either. But I digress. Silence or the iPod on shuffle and you’ve got my perfect Saturday afternoon. I know I’m completely hooked when¬†it takes physical violence to get my attention.

Anyway – back to the topic at hand. I tend to mostly find the books I struggle to finish through book club, we have an eclectic mix of girls and book preferences! One example is¬†Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates¬†by Tom Robbins. The first one ever that I hadn’t completed by meeting time. Oops. It took up over a month of my life, but I was DETERMINED to finish it, probably due to the fact that it is a friends absolute favourite book. And also, I enjoyed the story – it’s definitely different to what I usually read –¬†but I was Mayor of Struggletown trying to cope with the writing. It is roundabout, lyrical, and difficult for me to follow.

What do you do with books that are difficult to read? Do you DNF? Or persist through the pain?


A Song in the Daylight



Title: A Song in the Daylight

Author: Paullina Simons

Harper Collins Publishers, 2009



Nothing is what it seems…

Larissa Stark has a wonderful husband, beautiful children and a home she cherishes. Bus sometimes, having it all just isn’t enough. A chance encounter with a stranger changes her idyllic existence forever, leading her to question all the things she once believed were true. Irresistible passion drives her to contemplate the unthinkable. But if she dares to make the impossible leap, what will her life be then? Whatever choice she makes, someone will be betrayed…

A Song in the Daylight is an unforgettable story of the bonds that unite us and the desires that drive us apart.



I read this epic, almost 800 page book by Paullina Simons after reading¬†a few reviews for this book, not many of them particularly good. After finishing it and contemplating things, I realised that I liked the fact that I didn’t love Larissa. Too many books have that ‘perfect’ central character, while all those around her are flawed.

Larissa Stark had the perfect life. 3 children, loving husband, money. Through what you might call a twist of fate (or, you know, the plot) she meets a young man. And she then proceeds to make conscious choices that will change the course of her life and the lives of her family.

As she begins spending more and more time with her young lover, her life falls by the wayside. She loses touch with her lifelong best friend, and her current friendships lose their shine. After a couple of close calls and over a year of hiding what she has become from her family, she leaves.

I liked the ending. I am glad that things ended the way they did. Life isn’t perfect, people aren’t perfect, and tying it all up neatly would have felt fake. I did find this book had some similarities to “Tully”.

As with her previous books, Simons delivers. Her writing is clean, her language is simple, and the story easy to read. She pushes your buttons, ensuring that – love the book or hate it – you have to finish it, and you’ll definitely have an opinion!


Have you read this? Have you read any other books by Paullina Simons? Which are your favourites?

Me Before You



Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Penguin Books, 2012



Back Cover

Lou Clark knows lots of things

She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.



When Lou loses her job at the Buttered Bun, she needs to find another one, and quickly. Her family depends on her. And totally take advantage of her, all the time. But anyways. So she ends up working for Will Traynor, formerly very active driver in life’s fast lane. The fast lane, however, was not kind, and an accident on his motorcycle robbed Will of not only the use of all 4 of his limbs, but also of the desire to live. So, employed by Will’s mother, Lou starts working with Will, trying to lift his spirits and get him to see that life is worth living. He has a nurse, so *all* Lou has to do is cheer him up. Harder than you might think.


Over the course of their friendship developing, they both learn a lot about themselves. And to be honest, they taught me a few things along the way as well. I don’t want to say too much about the details, but there are some big issues discussed in this book. It will make you think long and hard, and presents things from different perspectives. I really enjoy Jojo Moyes writing – this was the first of hers I’ve read but I may have purchased a few (read: all) of her others and am loving them.

This book is amazing. Everyone I know who has read it has loved it, and I’ve read stacks of glowing reviews. Do yourself a favour and read this one! It’s going into my top ten favourites, possibly of all time. I just LOVED it, and I’m willing to bet you will too. Do yourself a favour and read this one.

Past the Shallows



Title: Past the Shallows

Author: Favel Parrett

Hachette Australia, 2011




Everyone loves Harry. Everyone except his father. Three brothers, Joe, Miles and Harry, are growing up with their father on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers’ lives are shaped by their father’s moods – like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man, warped by a devastating secret. Miles tries his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can’t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers, in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a big mug of Milo, and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother’s love, are not enough.



Gosh, I read this twice – partly because I was gobsmacked, and partly because sometimes I struggle with ebooks, and I think I will absolutely be reading it again. It was definitely a quick and easy read, but there’s just… so much there. It’s such a simple story, about Harry, his family, his friends and his life, but there’s such… struggle… there.

It’s a sad life, and there is a lot below the surface that isn’t spoken about – with Harry’s dad, with Joe. The town knows, and many people try to look out for Harry. He befriends his neighbour, his brother Miles tries to look out for him, his friend and his friends mum look after him, but is it enough? ¬†I don’t want to say too much about this book – it’s really quite a simple plot with many facets and depths explored.

This is Parrett’s first novel, and it’s a kicker. The writing is simple and beautiful, though the subject matter ends up being quite deep and heavy.

Conversation about this one was minimal – only myself and another read it. This has been kind of the theme lately. Might need to advertise for new members!! However it’s always good to catch up with friends and have a gossip session, and I always read the book. It’s good as it means I read stuff I wouldn’t pick up normally, although it was me that nominated this one. Regarding Past the Shallows, we both really enjoyed it though, and found it somewhat deceptively easy to read. It will stay with me for quite a while though.

How about you? Have you read Past the Shallows? Do you like debut novels?

March Wrap Up

This is a monthly post done at the beginning of each month to quickly recap what I’ve read through the previous month.

March – work is finally starting to settle in for the year, I think we’re over the stupid busy bit, and down to the regular busy. I continue to surprise myself with how many books I’m reading in a month. Though it’s probably increased over the last month as I have ceased driving to work and can read on the train. Easter was lovely, my family decided that we weren’t going to do chocolate this year – we didn’t need it and just getting together for a few days was all we wanted. So I only ended up coming home with about 2 kilos of chocolate instead of the usual 5.


  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • A Good Woman by Danielle Steel
  • When Chocolate is Not Enough by Nina Harrington
  • The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour
  • The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman
  • Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood

Goodreads Challenge Update – 22/100


  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood
  • Further Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour
  • Girls Night In 4


  • April – Canada by Richard Ford

How was your March?