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broodings from the burrow

May 12, 2020

ten recent book abandonments & if this, then that
posted by soe 1:04 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to share The Last 10 Books I Abandoned.

This is a problematic category for me, because sometimes I put a book down for years and then come back to it, pick it back up where the bookmark is (or start over again — it depends on how much story I remember), and plow through to the end. And other times a book lingers on my currently reading list before I reorganize and dump it back into the to be read category. I mean, I have a list of more than 4000 books I’ve either read or mean to read on Goodreads and only 12 are listed on my “couldn’t finish it” list. And often, if a book doesn’t catch my fancy, I just don’t ever note that I started it. So… I cannot tell you what the ten books I last abandoned are.

So, how about I look through the 44 books I have marked on Goodreads as “currently reading” and tell you ten that are no longer in the house with me?

  1. American Street by Ibi Zoboi — I am something ridiculous like 5 chapters from the end of this YA novel. And I can’t bring myself to keep listening. I keep thinking I’d just pull it off the shelf at the library and read the final pages in print, but so far I haven’t found myself at a branch where it’s in stock.
  2. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders — This is no longer on my currently reading list, but I kept getting bored by the award-winning, full cast audiobook. I’ve heard from some others who also usually like audiobooks that they recommend trying it in print. Maybe.
  3. Little Fires by Celeste Ng — Another book where it got stressful and I decided I didn’t feel like contuing on into the stress. Not sure if it’s a for now or a for always decision.
  4. The Body Papers by Grace Talusan — Written by the sibling of someone I was at college with, this memoir talked about having survived incest. I know it’s am important topic, but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading. When someone else put a hold on it, I let it go.
  5. Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda — I got bored. If I’d owned it, I would have completed it eventually. But when a hold came up, I took it back unfinished
  6. Insomnia by Marina Benjamin — The writing detailed living through insomnia. So, I decided, why do it twice?
  7. There, There by Tommy Orange — I tried. I kept plodding ahead. I even read the ending, which I absolutely never do, in the hopes that it would allay the feeling of dread. But it did not. I had similar feelings to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I abandoned decades ago, which I did not think boded well.
  8. Creative Quest by Amir “Questlove” Thompson — In the end, while it was more interesting than I expected it to be, particularly in audiobook form, it was still a self-help book and I didn’t want to waste my reading time listening to it when there was fiction to be consumed.
  9. Girl Squads by Sam Maggs — This was a cute nonfiction look at specific women’s friendships. In the end, it was a little too cute and felt very young, despite focusing on super interesting women. Again, if I’d owned it, it’s quite possible I would have dipped into it periodically and would have finished it.
  10. Glad Tidings by Debbie Macomber — This is cheating a little bit, because technically it’s still in the house. But one of these days I’ll remember to take it to the local Little Free Library. I suffered through the first of two Christmas-themed novellas (it got better, but then it got stupid again at the end) and then I remembered I had freedom of choice not to read past the first irritating, sexist chapter of the second novella.

What have we learned here? Stressful moments in books will cause me to put them down and I may not want to pick them up again. Nonfiction, particularly episodic nonfiction, often bores me. Audiobooks are way easier for me to let go than print. And if you piss me off, I’m probably going to punish you by shutting the cover on you.

How about you? What books have you let go recently?

Bout of Books
Day Two of Bout of Books 28 invites us to play the “If this, then that” game, wherein I suggest books you might enjoy reading based on certain criteria.

I am currently listening to Louise Penny’s The Cruelest Month and Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed. (The Penny is what I was listening to today.) I thought I’d give you a recommendation for each:

The Inspector Gamache novels are set in the Quebec village of Three Pines, a Canadian Cabot Cove, if you will. If you like mysteries with a very distinctive setting, then you may also enjoy M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series (Death of …) set in the Scottish highlands. Beaton’s books are cozier than Penny’s and it doesn’t particularly matter in what order you read them. But the sense of place is very strong. (As it is in her other series, Agatha Raisin.)

Yes, No, Maybe So is told in alternating points of view. I often like books in spite of this stylistic approach, not because of it. However, if you like books told by two main characters, you may also like Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare, a charmingly fluffy book about two Londoners who share a one-bedroom apartment (one of them gets it during the day, the other at night) that actually takes on some decidedly non-fluffy issues in a sensitive and not mawkish way.

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