The Abandoned – books I did not finish this year

We’re half-way through the year. I have read 29 books until now. Time to look at all the books I actually didn’t finish.

Yes, I abandon books if I do not like them. And that’s okay!

There are books that are worth the effort. Sometimes you have to work yourself through hundreds of pages in order to truly appreciate a work of literature. Sometimes a novel’s ending or final plot twist can make all the difference.

But there are also books out there that simply aren’t worth it. And for the sake of all the great books I might miss out on while reading something that bores me to death I quit while I can. This is something I had to teach myself. It is okay not to finish every single book.

Here are this years DNF’s (so far) and the various reasons why I couldn’t make it through them.

With Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie and The Seance by John Harwood it was a case of right book at the wrong time. I feel that these are more of the Winter-reads variety. Something for dark days and cold nights. I will probably pick those two up again once the days are getting shorter.

The Rental Heart by Kirsty Logan. It is a rare thing for me to finish a short stories collection in one reading session. I tend to pick them up from time to time and read just one or two stories. Since this one is actually quite magical and beautiful I’ll probably finish it over time. But right now I have to take it off the “currently-reading” shelf in order to not stress myself out over it too much.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Oh. my. God. I was so bored. You’d think a story about a hermaphrodite told in first person and over the span of several decades would make an interesting read. Well, I thought so. And I was wrong. Plus, in terms of its tone it reminded me a lot of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which I LOVED. I felt that Eugenides had taken the narrative style of an unconventional and beautiful novel and applied it to his own – and, alas, it did not work. Sorry, Mr. Eugenides, I do love your other novels, but this one was a complete bore that I abandoned on page 170.

The Goldfinch. Sorry. I can’t stand Donna Tartt. Sorry. I always feel like I have to apologize for not liking Tartt. I didn’t like The Secret History (which I finished!) and I couldn’t make myself read another one of her brick-like books filled with a lot of intellectual navel-gazing and bullshitting. Sorry. I just don’t get what’s so engaging about her prose. I know a lot of people (whose taste in books is normally similar to mine) who love her. But I just can’t. Again, I’m sorry.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This author and I will never live happily ever after. Too gimicky. Not enough plot. Nice try. But this sort of thing has already been done so much better. See S. by Doug Doust.

Do you abandon books if you don’t like them? Do you have a “did not finish” shelf? Or do you think every book needs to be finished no matter how boring?

Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to hear your take on this. 

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4 Responses to The Abandoned – books I did not finish this year

  1. jeff duvall says:

    read your comment aout this on the guardian. i checked every reply, all 500+ and nobody said they quit a book because they didn’t like the author. when i start a book i can tell almost immediately whether he/she is a jerk or not. can’t stand masochism, sadism or meanness. or small-mindedness. i’ll read almost anything if i like the author/the writing. what do you think?


    • jedigirl says:

      Thanks for your comment!
      For me it’s not really about the author as a person. It’s just once I disliked a book by an author for their style or maybe their choice of themes/topic I tend to think twice about reading anything else by that author.
      Donna Tartt, in particular is an author a lot of people love. But I have read The Secret History in its entirety and I didn’t like it. The Goldfinch bored be from the very beginning so I quit that one rather quickly because I had already trudged through one of Tartt’s novels.
      You are of course right when you say that some books need to be given the time and sometimes it’s worth finishing something that’s at the moment quite boring.
      Do you have any authors you don’t like and would never give a second chance? Or maybe an author who changed your mind with the second or third book you read by them?

      And what is it about reading that some people cannot admit that sometimes a book is not their cup of tea and that quitting / abandoning a book CAN be an option?


  2. Oh, I loved MiddleSex!


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