Monday, October 5, 2015

Ten Books I've Abandoned

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

It is rare for me not to finish a book, though I've gotten better in recent years at letting myself abandon ones I'm slogging through. All told, there are only fourteen books on my "abandoned" shelf on Goodreads. Some of these are books I simply never got around to finishing before I moved onto other ones, but the ones below are those that I definitively chose not to continue reading.

1. 90 Minutes in Heaven: A Truth Story of Death and Life by Don Piper
Piper's supposed vision of heaven cleaved so closely to traditional imagery (with concessions like saying the Pearly Gates were "pearl-esque" rather than being made of pearls) that I couldn't take him seriously. It seemed that the majority of the book was actually about his recovery from the accident where he supposedly died (though at no point was he officially declared dead), and I didn't care to wade through it.

2. Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis
This book is supposedly hilarious, but after I got maybe a quarter of the way in without finding a single thing funny, I gave it up.

3. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
I was genuinely excited to read this book, to have flesh put on the bones of the Gospel stories, but something about the writing was so bad I couldn't get very far. I found Unafraid by Francine Rivers to be a much, much better option.

4. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
I learned about this book, believe it or not, because it's apparently listed often as a favorite by black women on dating sites, and then I saw it has incredibly high ratings on Goodreads. I really, really tried, but the narrator's voice was so whiny and irritating, and skimming the reviews it sounded like that wasn't going to change for the majority of the book, so I finally put it down.

5. Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults & Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber
Mike got me this book because it seemed to fall into the category of nonfiction books I love, but unfortunately the writing was awful. It was like the author would write out a sentence and then use a thesaurus to replace every other word with something longer, regardless of whether it obscured the meaning.

6. The Issa Valley by Czesław Miłosz
I only got halfway through this book club read, and that was more than anyone else in my book club save the woman who originally recommended it. It's basically just a description of this boy's childhood, and I found it super boring.

7. Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir Questlove Thompson
This turned out to be not so much about "the world" as about music. If you are really into hip-hop and rap or just a hardcore music junkie, then this book is probably right up your alley, but for someone like me, I was lost amid the persistent name-dropping of artists and albums that Questlove clearly assumes you'll recognize. The messy editing and constant format changes gave me no incentive to stick it out.

8. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, And The Greatest Treasure Hunt In History by Robert M. Edsel
How the book was described to me: Allied soldiers race across Europe to try to hide and save artwork from Nazis who want to steal it. How it actually turned out: Nazis steal a bunch of artwork, plus destroy a whole bunch more, and both sides destroy lots of historical monuments, and then Allied soldiers are sent out several years later to survey the damage and tried to recover the paintings and sculptures that haven't been damaged or destroyed. When I abandoned this halfway through, they still hadn't really recovered much of anything.

9. Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families by Natalie Nichols Gillespie
I put this one down almost immediately after I picked it up. From what I remember, it was way too much evangelical Christianese for my taste, and it made a lot of (incorrect) assumptions right off the bat about why the reader wanted to adopt and who they wanted to adopt. No thank you.

10. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
For some weird reason, plots involving voluntary time travel tend to make me really uncomfortable, as do plots involving extended deception. Once it was clear this book was going to contain a lot of both, I decided to let it go.

What are some books you chose not to finish, and why?

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