Where do the unfinished books go? Why here, of course.
It used to be that I would muscle my way through every book I started – even if it meant skimming my way to the end. I don’t do that anymore. With 500+ books on my tbr shelf I give the book the good ol’ college try, but I don’t finish every one of them. I thought I’d keep track of books I abandon and the reasons why here. Feel free to prod me if you think any of these books are worth revisiting.
Perfume – Patrick Suskind 44/255
This book has been on my tbr shelf forever, but when I finally tried to give it ago I discovered that it was just not my cup of tea. I don’t think I knew very much about it when I added it to my tbr; I certainly wasn’t aware that it was set in the 1700s. In anycase, just too slow.
The Body Artist – Don DeLillo 58/126
I appreciated the writing but I had no sweet clue what was going on – well, I know it’s a novel about grief – so I ditched it.
Cut – Marc Raabe 108/472
Maybe it’s the fact that this is translated from its original German, but I just couldn’t settle into this serial killer thriller that apparently “took Europe by storm.”
Under the Harrow – Flynn Berry 130/219
One of those books I thought I would love, but was just meandering and slow and ultimately not worth the effort.
Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger 71/386
I tried to like this book because I LOVED The Time Traveler’s Wife SO MUCH….but I just couldn’t get into this story about American twins and Highgate Cemetery.
After the Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyld 88/296
This book has been on my tbr shelf forever and I think it got quite a lot of buzz back when it first came out, but I just couldn’t settle into its deathly slow rhythms. I finally just had to give it up.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joel Dicker 374/640
It’s a reasonable question to ask: why did you read 374 pages? Well, I probably would have kept going just to see how this whole mess was going to resolve itself, but the next page I got to after 374 was 407. I was already fairly annoyed with all the characters, especially the dialogue which was just irritatingly awkward…but when I came to the missing pages I just threw up my hands in defeat.
The Devil You Know – Elisabeth De Mariaffi 122/306
Set around the same time as Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were captured, this story about a young reporter moved wayyyy too slow for me.
The Miothers – Brit Bennett 68/275
Although I wanted very much to like this novel, I just couldn’t settle into its narrative. It all felt like ‘tell.’
The Spider and the Fly – Claudia Rowe 88/276
Although I was super excited to read this book, the first 88 pages were such a slog that I finally gave up.
The Distant Echo – Val McDermid 48/404
My first McDermid book, but it just didn’t grab my attention the way I’d expect a mystery to. I mean the writing is good and everything, but let’s move it along. So, pass.
So Cold the River – Michael Koryta 126/508
I think there might have been potential in this ghost story about a creepy hotel a la Overlook, but it was just too s-l-o-w.
How Not to Let Go – Emily Foster 90/312
I was a fan of the first in this series, How Not to Fall, but I just didn’t groove to the next chapter in Annie and Charles’ sexual journey.
Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton 68/343
It sounded so good, on paper at least. Writer meets convicted serial killer who wants her help proving his innocence. It was well-reviewed, but I just couldn’t get into it.
A Stranger in the House – Shari Lapena 150/338
I bought this book at Shakespeare and Company in Paris. I needed something to read on the plane ride home. The writing is just so bad. Choppy. Repetitive. It’s all tell.
“Tom is tense and unhappy as he leaves the house the next morning. He’s put on jeans to go in to the office for a few hours to catch up on work on the weekend. (That sentence just makes no sense, but thank God he put on some pants.) He’s missed so much with Karen in the hospital. She seemed tired this morning.”
Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire 160/416
I should have abandoned this book wayyyy before I did. I’ll admit that it initially appealed to my predilection for stories about good girls and bad boys, but this was just awful. I didn’t believe a single word that came out of the mouths of these characters. The whole premise was ridiculous (and not in a ‘oh, sure, I can suspend disbelief because everything else about this book is awesome’ sort of way.) The writing was just…a thousand times no. Had I known it was originally self published, I would have saved my money.
The Uninvited – Tim Wynne-Jones 70/359
I was really looking forward to this book – although I can’t quite remember why now. I had to abandon it though because I just found it odd and slow and not, after all, my cup of tea.
Grief Girl – Erin Vincent 98/306
It seems heartless to give up on a memoir about a girl who is just fourteen when her parents are involved in a horrific accident. Erin’s mother dies at the scene, but her father survives and seems to be making a recovery when, a month on, a blood clot passes through his heart and he dies. It’s heart-wrenching, for sure, but I found the writing a little plodding and I just couldn’t stick with it.
Person of Interest – Theresa Schwegel 71/439
Come on. The New York Times called this a “smart, propulsive, tightrope-walking mystery” but I was on page 71 and it was b-o-r-i-n-g. The characters were grating and unbelievable and I just lost interest.
John Dies @ the End – David Wong 142/466
I really, really tried to get through this book because a couple boys from my 2012-13 grade ten English class wanted me to read it. But, try as I might, I just couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm to get through this wacky horror-comedy hybrid.
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare 186/485
Although girls in my 2012-13 grade 10 class gobbled this book up, I just couldn’t carry on. The whole thing just seemed so derivative – cookie cutter characters that were somehow familiar. Stands to reason: Cassandra Clare was a BFN (Big Fandom Name) a few years ago when she wrote – mostly – Harry Potter fanfiction under the name Cassie Clare. There was a huge kerfluffle surrounding her work and the fact that much of it was plagiarized.
The Wednesday Letters – Jason F. Wright 54/280
I knew early on that this was Christian fiction; God made an appearance on the first page. But then I thought, don’t be such a snob; give it a chance. But then when the two pastors were waiting on the front porch for the arrival of the prodigal son I just couldn’t go on. Blech.
The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire – Abigail Gibbs 300/552
Seriously. Why is this even a book and why did I read 300 pages? It’s HORRIBLE. In every possible way. Poorly written, often non-sensical (how, exactly, does one clench their palms?), with so many instances of clunky exposition and laughable dialogue that I just…had to read out loud to my thirteen year old son. Never mind the dhampirs. OMG. And I thought Twilight was bad. I must do a post on the glut of vampire fiction because I am sure Bram Stoker and Joss Whedon are bent double with nausea.
Who Stole the Funny? – Robby Benson 19/349 read
Not even my girlhood crush on Robby could compel me to read this “insiders” look at Hollywood. The ‘nudge, nudge; wink, wink’ approach to story telling probably works for people who get the joke, but pulling back the veil of Hollywood wasn’t all that interesting to me.
The Torn Skirt – Rebecca Godfrey 112/199 read
I really wanted to like this book. I did. But in the end, it was just all over the place for me. Accolades aside, I just didn’t get it. And I ran out of patience.
The Class Project: How To Kill a Mother – Bob Mitchell 148/356 read
Hmm. First of all despite the claim that the girls who committed this crime are ‘infamous’, I’d never heard of them. I don’t read too much true crime anymore, but I’ve read enough to prefer that the story read like fiction. This is straight up ‘reporting’ which makes sense since the author was (is?) a reporter for the Toronto Star. The crime was cold-blooded; the sisters whacked, their friends heartless but none of it added up to too much.
A Child’s Book of True Crime – Chloe Hooper 110/238 read
I wanted to like this book. The writer is clearly talented. The premise was intriguing: a young teacher begins an affair with the father of one of her students. His wife is well-known for having written the true-crime story of an adulterous affair gone horribly wrong. But then there’s this whole thing where animals retell the story of the affair and it was slow and all right, I give up.
Stone Creek by Victoria Lustbader 178/366 read
I probably should have given up on this book sooner than I did. It was a classic case of a three dressed up as a nine. The characters just weren’t believable (even though they were all beautiful and smart and amazing and damaged.) I felt like I was reading a gussied up Harlequin.
D/S by Gary S. Kadat 186/448 pages read
Despite the subject matter, a journalist leaves the safety of his fiance and begins down a dark road of domination and submission, and despite the fact that Gary Kadet can write…this book was too slow moving for me.
Slayer – Kiersten White 29/401
The lesson here is that I do not give a shit about slayers who are not Buffy.
Beach Read – Emily Henry 108/313
I thought this might be the perfect end-of-summer palate cleanser, but it just wasn’t for me. I don’t blame the book, I blame me. Perhaps I am just past the “cute romance” stage in my life.
Family Album – Penelope Lively 28/225
Although I have read and enjoyed other novels by Lively, this family drama just didn’t float my boat or I didn’t have the patience for it – despite the fact that it was well-reviewed by many others.
Dresden, Tennessee – Carolyn Slaughter 84/225
I am so sad that I wasn’t able to make it through Slaughter’s novel because I have read most of her other works and loved (like, seriously, top 20 books of all time) some of them a lot. This book, though, was odd and I just couldn’t do it.
Omens – Kelley Armstrong 114/467
I know this is a really popular series, but I just couldn’t settle into it. Like at all. Is it supposed to be scary? Funny? None of the people seemed real and as it’s a series and I knew I was never going to continue, it seemed silly to waste any more precious reading time to it.
The Sisters – Claire Douglas 86/363
I tried…and I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t do it. None of the characters were believable and the writing was mediocre.
Eat. Pray. Love is at the top of my graveyard pile….I just couldn’t get through it. It has to be one of the most annoying books I’ve ever read. xo
I did finish it. I think Gilbert is a great writer, but I can’t say I loved the book.
My most recent abandon was BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Brezican. It was every teen cliché you could shake a stick at — and a few out of your stick’s reach, too. Truth be told, you’ve come to the reality I’ve observed my whole life: There’s no time for bad books, so get out the minute one starts to engulf you.
I hear you. I have too many unread books and too little time to invest in books that just don’t do it for me…and for that, I make no apology!
I’ve always felt guilty when I don’t finish a book…like I’m a bad person or something. So the only book I never finished was Atlas Shrugged. I’ve been keeping this dirty little secret for decades. Your post has released it and I feel free!! haha Seriously, I won’t feel bad any longer knowing you have these in your graveyard. Still plodding through that finger something book…she just kissed her. Totally saw that coming.
I’ve felt guilty for not finishing a book, too. Lately, I’ve gotten a thicker skin or something. Just this month, I had two DNFs and I’m not a bit sorry.
I used to feel really guilty when I didn’t finish a book – but now I have too many books on my tbr pile to worry when a book just doesn’t float my boat. 🙂