Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Couldn’t Finish that Lots of People Love

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is about books that I couldn’t finish.  (It was supposed to be Ten Characters You Like that Other People Don’t or vice versa, but I couldn’t think of singular characters that were that divisive.)  I used to be the sort of person who tried to finish every book I read.  Thank God I got over that!  Unless it’s a book for my book group, I will give a book between 50-75 pages, and if it’s not doing it for me, back it goes.  With a Goodreads TBR approaching 600 titles, and little free time, I don’t have any reading time to waste!

So here are my books that, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t commit to.  There are a couple of titles that I may try again sometime.  (Because sometimes it’s simply my mood, and not the fault of the book.)  I’ll put asterisks by those.

  1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  My Goodreads review: “Too saaaadddd…”6334
  2. Swamplandia by Karen Russell.  Gave this one 100 pages.  It was going nowhere.
  3. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.  Also gave this over 100 pages.  Found it too quirky and the characters unbelievable.
  4. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I KNOW, GUYS.  I know.  I feel like the only person in the world who doesn’t love this.  I love Rainbow Rowell, and have really enjoyed all the other novels if hers that I’ve read.  But I just couldn’t get into this one.  I think it just had too much teen romance for me, and the stuff with Eleanor’s family was depressing the hell out of me.  I think Rowell’s terrific, and if I had read this when I was 14 years old, I would have thought it was fantastic.  But I read it at 37, and it just wasn’t for me.
  5.  One More Thing: Stories by B.J. Novak.**  I should have loved this.  I love The Office with a passion, and I loved his children’s picture book.  But for some reason I totally lost interest midway through the audio book.  The stories started to feel the same to me.  I think this one might play better with me in paper book form.  I’m going to try it again sometime.31QP52KiWDL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir.  Most people LOVE this book, but I just couldn’t get into the very technical, really flat writing.  I think the storyline is original and exciting, though, so I’m thinking that the movie would be awesome.
  7.  The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.  From my Goodreads review:  “Got halfway through it.  I got fed up with these tragic characters repeating patterns and making each other unhappy.”
  8. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen.**  Usually I love her stuff.  I might just not have been in the mood for it when I got it.  It’s a sequel, and the writing felt a little forced.  I’ll try it again sometime.
  9. The Quick by Lauren Owen.  I have no specific memory of why I abandoned this one.  Lots of people liked it, though.
  10.  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Classic, undeniably still relevant today.  It was just so. Damn. Sad.  Maybe I’ll try again one day.  Probably not.

Have you read any of these?  When you DNF a book, do you tend to go back and try again at a later time, or do you let it go forever?

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21 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Couldn’t Finish that Lots of People Love

  1. Ha! I was just talking to a friend about Grapes of Wrath yesterday! I finished it but it was so depressing! I just wanted to see what other tragedies would befall that poor family and if they’d be okay.

    I usually go back and try to finish a book I started later. For some it’s years and years later. I’m pretty bad though. I only give a book a chapter or even the first page. I’m like an unimpressed agent at times. Lately I’ve been in a second chance phase which has worked out in my favor.

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  2. I have a thing about One More Thing. I haven’t read the book (don’t plan to), but he had a short story in One Story mag (they publish one short story a month, as name suggests), and it was…okay. And I got really angry that they decided to publish his story because he’s famous and has an agent and yadda yadda. How many writers are struggling to get stories published in that magazine, and he’s taking up space with just an okay story? I loved The Office, and I think he’s talented, but this trend of actors becoming writers and crowding out people who really struggle for it–oh, it makes me so angry. Okay, sorry. Rant over.

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  3. When I DNF a book, I usually tell myself that I’m still willing to go back to it, if circumstances merit it. So if someone really strongly recommends a book that I’ve previously DNFed, I’ll often go back and give it another try. That happened with Shirley Jackson’s novels! And I love her now!

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  4. I go back to books that I DNF quite a bit but a lot of the times it turns out that I was correct the first time.

    Recently, I “went back” for Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and couldn’t read it beyond 20%. I just couldn’t connect with the stuff she was saying–they were simply words to me.

    Same thing happened with Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing Of The Dog . . . I’m beginning to lean in the direction of letting DNFs lie as DNFs ‘cus there are just far too many books out there that I want to read. . .

    My husband read out a few of the B.J. Novak stories to me and they were quite funny (I distinctly remember the “market” one and the one about months in the calendar). Also, a fellow Office fan! Again husband’s the reason! He adores the series and kept insisting that I watch it till I gave in. And now I’m the one who wants to watch it anytime we decide to watch some T.V. We’re nearing the end of season 5 now!

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    1. Juhi, I’m pretty much with you, that there was a reason something was a DNF. Some of the Novak stories I listened to I quite liked – there was a hilarious one about John Grisham called The Something that I particularly liked. So glad to know another Office fan! I need to watch some of it again.

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  5. You are not the only one who didn’t love Eleanor & Park! I put both of them on my list today of characters everyone but me loves. I actually read the book twice because my book club picked it after I’d already read it, and I didn’t like it any more the second time. Also, I read the entirety of The Family Fang, and it was THE WORST. Be glad you didn’t waste your time finishing it.

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  6. What’s wrong with you?! Kidding, just kidding 🙂 When I DNF a book I rarely go back to it unless I didn’t finish for a reason like it wasn’t the right time and it seems like in the future it would be something I really liked.

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  7. I love The Family Fang, just for the record. I rarely put down a book without finishing, but if I do, I try to go back to it, sometimes years later. Some of my favorite books are so difficult I couldn’t get interested in them the first time I tried.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂 I intend to read Martian. I hope it will agree with me. I am a sci-fi reluctant. So, I am skeptical already. 🙂

    I abandoned Catch 22, and Men are from Mars… I couldn’t endure both the books. I recently abandoned A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing because of its style. I want to go back to that book. But maybe a few years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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