Monday, June 4, 2018

Ten Abandoned Books I Wish I'd Finished

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic is about books we abandoned too soon. I'm not sure how you can really know whether you abandoned a book too soon, though with some of the books I've abandoned, I'm pretty sure they weren't going to get any better. But for some of the books I haven't finished, I wish that I'd been able to make it through the whole thing, if only for superficial reasons. Here are ten I wish I'd finished.

1. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
This one I abandoned a quarter of the way through because I just didn't find it funny. I still see it crop up from time to time and I kind of wish I'd made it farther in the book so I could at least have the context of knowing the whole storyline.

2. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
I see this listed all the time as a beloved book of many black women, and I really want to understand why! But I found the narrator's tone so grating and the reviews I skimmed basically said, "Yeah, it doesn't get any better for 90% of the book" and so I couldn't bring myself to devote any more time to this one. Maybe someday.

3. The Issa Valley by Czesław Miłosz
Except for the truly awful Etiquette for an Apocalypse, this is the only book for my local book club that I haven't read all the way through. In my defense, almost no one in the club made it all the way through because it was so incredibly boring. But maybe, having been to Poland now, I should give it another go?

4. The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter
I made it halfway through this book before giving up because it was so depressing and not at all what I was expecting based on how it was advertised. I know so many people really loved it when it first came out, though! I wish I'd read all the way to the end so I could at least see if the second half redeemed it for me.

5. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
I generally like Bryson's writing, but it felt like you had to have lived in Britain in the '90s to understand even a quarter of the references he makes. The only other kind of humor seemed to be making fun of people, which is my least favorite part of Bryson's style. Still, I see this on so many must-read lists that I wish I'd made it at least a little farther.

6. Real Boys by William S. Pollack
This is one that I pulled from my mom's bookshelf when I was maybe high-school age? Some age that was definitely not the target audience for this book. I found it interesting but I was a much more scattered reader back then and I just never got around to finishing it. I have no idea if it would still jive with my worldview as a 32-year-old, but now that I have a son it could be interesting to read through.

7. Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly
Our former church gave out free copies of this book to the congregation and our priest made us promise that if we took a copy we'd read the whole thing and then pass it on to someone else. I tried, but I found it poorly written and edited and I just couldn't get past that. I wonder if I tried it on audio if I'd have the same experience or if I'd get more out of it that way.

8. "Shakespeare" by Another Name by Mark Anderson
So when I was in middle school we watched a video exploring the authorship question and laying out the evidence that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, may have written some of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. I picked up this book thinking it was going to be an exploration of the authorship question, but instead the author takes it as a given that de Vere wrote the plays and provides a biography of de Vere's life with the framework of explaining how he got the idea for each of the plays. I don't share the author's confidence in that premise, but it could be interesting to read again, knowing what I'm signing up for this time.

9. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
My dislike of voluntary time travel plots and deception-based plots is well-established, and so I felt justified in abandoning this one early on, but I see so many people recommending it as a favorite that I can't help but wonder if I chucked it too early.

10. Wizard by Marc Seifer
I'm honestly not 100% sure if I finished this book, but I'm pretty sure I would have recorded it in my book journal if I had. My husband and I listened to this audiobook on our 5-day move across the country, and it was super interesting, but I don't think we quite finished it. I would be open to rereading it / finishing it someday!

Which books did you DNF too early?

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Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Golem and the Jinni and The Millionaire Next Door
Five years ago I was reading: Eleanor & Park and At Home
Ten years ago I was reading: Groupthink

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