I have never before simply looked at a book and felt like I couldn’t read it. This post is about the first book in my twenty-something years long love affair with reading to have stopped me in my tracks like a ten foot brick wall.
I received this book in August of 2014 from Bookbridgr. It had everything I usually love in a book. Horror, suspense, supernatural entities. All these things add up to my ideal read. Yet here I sit, on December 12th 2014, typing a blog post about this damned book and how it has, for the last five months, had me in a choke hold in the worst reading slump I have ever found myself in.
This 432 page novel has sat on my bookshelf taunting me. It’s menacing cover challenging me to read it. I picked it up many times and opened up the first page but I could manage 0nly a paragraph or two before I became frustrated and gave up. I did everything I could to conquer this book. Even signing up to Audible and downloading the audio book. I have sat all afternoon today trying to listen but could not make it past chapter one. It is not the narrators fault. She spoke with enthusiasm and expression. It is not the authors fault. Despite it being his debut this novel has many four and five star reviews on Goodreads with an average rating of 3.68.
What is this book I hear you ask? ‘The String Diaries’ by Stephen Lloyd Jones. Here is the synopsis.
A family is hunted by a centuries-old monster: a man with a relentless obsession who can take on any identity.
The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night–her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape an enemy with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves?
Stephen Lloyd Jones’s debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion–a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them.
If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.
‘The String Diaries’ has prevented me from reading any of my other books (of which I have many) for five months now. Every time I pick up one of my many books, be it a copy for review or an old favourite, out of the corner of my eye I see ‘The String Diaries’ and feel like I have to finish it, or even attempt to finish it one more time before I pick up anything new.
I feel like I must clarify that I am in no way putting down the author in this post. It is completely my fault for allowing this book to get into my head and affect me so much. However, now is the time to let it go. This post is my white flag, waved in surrender to ‘The String Diaries’. You will not delay my reading any longer. I banish you to the back of a drawer where you can no longer make me feel guilty for wanting to read something else. Perhaps one day I will pick you up again and attempt to complete you, but for now, I admit defeat.
Have you ever had this experience with a book? Which one?
Until next time,