Monday, May 11, 2020

The Last Ten Books I Abandoned

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

Not a lot has changed since I shared ten books I'd abandoned as of 2015. It's rare for me to DNF a book, and so there are only a couple of new ones that have been added to this list in the five years since then.

1. Auntie Mame 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.

2. 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.

3. The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch
I picked this up to try to learn more about K-12 education before getting hired at TNTP. In the introduction, Ravitch conflates TNTP's Teaching Fellows program in New Orleans with Teach for America and says they both have some kind of secret agenda. I put this one down real fast.

4. Etiquette for an Apocalypse by Anne Mendel
I rarely abandoned book club books, but this one was so awful I gave up halfway through. The writing was terrible. If you're going to self-publish, you at least have to find yourself a really good editor who will stop you from putting commas after conjunctions and will tell you when you're being unintentionally racist. The premise of this book actually has a lot of potential, but I kept getting lost as the plot veered wildly in different directions and expected the readers to keep up.

5. 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.

6. Letters from a Martyred Christian by H.L. Hussmann
I made the mistake of seeing this book's high rating and requesting it on PaperBackSwap before checking how many ratings it had — only a couple dozen. I also made the mistake of thinking that this was a collection of actual letters from a martyred Christian before they died, only realizing after I got it that it was a work of fiction of a historical figure writing letters to Earth after he died. I was not surprised to learn that the author runs the publishing company that published this.

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. 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.

10. 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.

What are the most recent books you chose not to finish, and why?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Sadie and Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers
Five years ago I was reading: Gilead and Finding Your Own North Star
Ten years ago I was reading: The Children's Book

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