BTT: Unread

Today's question on Booking Through Thursday:

Is there a book that you wish you could "unread"? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it? (Suggested by C in DC)

I'm one of those people who rarely stops reading a book after starting it, so there are a few books that I wish I had never picked up. As for "unreading", I don't think I want to forget that I read those books; at least I should be able to remember not to read the same books (or similar ones) in future.

If I had to mention books that I would rather never have read, I'd name Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and The Road to Gandolfo/Omaha books by Robert Ludlum.

Do you ever continue reading a book despite knowing that you won't like it, thereby adding list of books to "unread"? Or do you stop reading the moment you know the book isn't the kind you like? I believe I'm in the minority that reads books anyway even when the know they don't like it.

The Book of Evidence (John Banville)

When I first picked up this book, the title sounded a lot like that of a mystery novel. This book is nothing of the sort, it's more of a look at the mind of a murderer after he has committed a totally pointless crime.

The Book of Evidence is the confession of Freddie Montgomery, a 38 year old ex-scientist, who murders a servant girl when she finds him in the middle of a ridiculous attempt at stealing a painting from an acquaintance.

The story is narrated by Freddie as he sits in jail awaiting trial for the murder. In the first half of the book, he talks about his past, the events leading up to the crime and the murder itself. The latter half of the book is a recounting of Freddie's actions until his capture.

John Banville's work has been compared to that of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and I could see some similarities (and contrast) between this book and Crime and Punishment. The protagonists in both the books do not have a clear motive for their crime. However, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment is filled with remorse about the crime, whereas in The Book of Evidence, Freddie is completely remorseless. When speaking about why he murdered the girl, he casually says that he did it just because he could, and not because there was any real reason to do so.

This isn't the kind of novel you choose if you wanted a nice fast-paced crime novel to read, but it's definitely worth a read if you want to read about a crime from the perspective of the criminal rather than the detective.

Rating : 8/10

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