These are three books taken from my Couldn't-Finish-But-I-Feel-That-I-Should-List. It is going to take forever to discuss all the books sitting on my shelf and I'm starting to doubt my sanity for doing this. Anyhoo, here are the three books, in no particular order.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
How I really wanted to read this book! I got about four or fivechapters in and started getting antsy cuz I felt that the story wasn't really moving along. Everyone told me that this was "tension" and "suspense," but to me it was like reading through writer's block. I kept thinking that JK Rowling had something to say, but was having a bit of a hard time of it, but decided to write through it. Then, for reasons I don't understand (probably due to publication deadlines or something like that), the editor left in the flabby writing. *sigh* Anyways, I want to finish reading the book, though, mostly because I want to find out how Sirius dies and because I got the follow-up, The Half-Blood Prince, as a birthday gift.
Humans by Robert J. Sawyer
If you don't know, Humans is the second book in Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax series (Hominids, Humans and Hybrids). I read Hominids and I thought it was a pretty good book. The basis of the story is that there's a parallel earth where the Neanderthals beat out Homo Sapiens as the dominant species of homonid and, through a freak quantum computing accident, a Neandethal crosses into our reality. It's a really cool book and while it can be a bit contrived and the Neanderthal world is way too idyllic for my taste (hammering in the "the environment is important, mmkay" message of the book), it kept me interested. But Humans was a whole other story. I got it as a gift and started reading it and could see right away where it was going. I felt even more manipulated by the lesson-of-the-week feel of some parts of the book and I really didn't like the sex scenes, so when I got sidetracked and put Humans down, I wasn't really in a rush to pick it up. But then all my friends read it and told me that it was good, so now I'm going to finish reading it. Eventually.
Island Dreams edited by Claude Lalumiere
Of all the books I've had a hard time finishing, this is the most interesting and well-written of the lot! It's an anthology of weird fiction, ranging from speculative fiction to macabre, by Montreal-based writers. It's a really excellent collection and I have to congratulate Claude Lalumiere for finding such top-notch fiction. I mean, the future worlds don't overpower the stories, nor do they seem like irrelevant contrivances; the future worlds just mesh really well with the stories, making them seem natural and almost commonplace (it's tough to make your spec-fic look like Blade Runner rather than, say, Total Recall). I stopped reading the anthology at a story called "Carrion Luggage" (Claude told me that the anthology was meant to be read sequentially). It was going to be the third or fourth macabre story and I was really starting to get freaked out by them. Already the zombie love story set in the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetary in Montreal had given me nightmares (probably because my psyche wasn't prepared for thinking of Montreal flooded by global warming and corpses rising in the cemetary where the bodies of people I know are burried), I didn't need to know about carrion in luggage. I have a really active imagination and this book was like caffeine and chocolate for it! So I stopped reading the book, despite the fact that I had to interview Claude for The Show. (I justified it as saying that he was the editor and not the author, so it was OK.) Now Island Dreams sits on my shelf, waiting for me to get a grip.