Did Not Finish… Won’t fit on the shelf.
Inspired by the forthcoming release of Alan Moore’s shelf-shatteringly heavy novel, Jerusalem, we take a quick look at five books you may have bought, but almost certainly haven’t finished reading…
Jerusalem: Heavy in every sense
Acclaimed genius and writing legend Alan Moore is best known for his comic book work, but recently he has been making waves in the world of publishing with his latest book, Jerusalem. This 1,312-page stonker of a novel is so large that it requires three volumes to contain it. The text has been favourably compared to the likes of James Joyce, John Bunyan and even Enid Blyton. Moore is notorious for putting complex ideas onto the page, as anyone who has read his seminal comic book The Watchmen can attest. His previous novel, Voices In The Fire, was a tough and heavy read and that was only 300 pages or so long. This new epic promises to change style, approach and meaning all the way through, and is rather loftily described as mythology for the impoverished. We suspect that it is doomed to lay on many a shelf, barely read and poorly misunderstood by most. Only the bravest of readers will tackle the whole thing.
The Wheel Of Time: Spins on and on and on
The late, great Robert Jordan is a well-loved and well-known name in the realms of fantasy novel writing for The Wheel Of Time series. His dense fantasy world captured imaginations across the world. It’s a great setting, one filled with dragons, elemental powers and magic. The title of the series refers to the cyclical nature of the world’s history, each spoke on the wheel is a great epoch in the sagas. The entire series is also over three and a half million words long. At a total of 12 novels in length, many fantasy fans admit to only getting first three books read, with the rest of the mega-epic waiting in a pile to be read. If you’re brave enough to try, we recommend the e-book version. At the very least you will never be out of reading material. Still it’s not as long as Terry Brooks Shannara series which is 28books long and still going strong.
Stephenie Meyer is the mind behind the popular Twilight series. Despite the books getting legions of new people to read horror and urban fantasy novels, many dedicated fans of scary stories still point to Meyer’s vampire books as one of the worst things to happen to the genre. Hot on the heels with success with Twilight, Meyer then set her sights on science fiction with The Host. This awkward tale of alien invasion and the loss of identity failed to make the same impact, however. The hordes of fans that went nuts over vampires, werewolves and indecisive teenage girls readily admit to not having gotten through the first chapter of The Host, and many of them had already moved on to other writers and genres. With the inevitable movie only being a modest hit, Meyer seems to have shelved plans for a sequel. The project, much like this book, seems destined to be labelled Did Not Finish.
Before there was Dracula, there was Varney The Vampire, Or The Feast Of Blood. This Victorian era novel is the quintessential penny dreadful, in every sense. It was released in serialised parts at the time and lapped up by a blood thirsty audience. So popular in fact, that it ran to a total of six hundred and sixty thousand words and eight hundred or so pages. Varney himself is every bit what we think of when we imagine a vampire; he has fangs, hypnotic powers, amazing strength and dresses like a gentleman. His creation predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by a good 50 years or so. Varney is frequently cited as a big influence on vampire fiction, and the collected works are frequently added to shelves of those who like tales about pale-skinned blood drinking monsters. However, it was terribly written even for the time, and that was in 1845. Appropriately for a vampire, time has not been kind to poor Varney, and the collected volumes of his adventures tend to lie in a secluded place on many a bookshelf, unloved and unread.
The book that no one can read
We shall finish off with a little bit of a cheat. The Voynich Manuscript is the ultimate book that you’ll have to get for your collection, but you won’t read or understand. That’s because no one has a clue how to read it. The Voynich Manuscript is an early 15th century codex written in a language that probably never existed. It has detailed illustrations, filled with plants and animals that don’t exist. The manuscript itself has been regarded as a mystery for years, but only recently have full copies been made. Conspiracy theories abound as to what it is. Was it a very obscurely coded book of herbalism and alchemy? Is it an ancient hoax? Could it be a spell book transported to this world from another realm, or the earliest example of Dungeons & Dragons supplement? No one is quite sure, but this precious and mysterious manuscript is being reprinted in a luxurious hardcover just in time for Christmas. You won’t understand it, but you’ll almost certainly want to own this weird and wonderful tome.
Article by Ed Fortune