Book Reviews

Giving Up

I finish most books I start. (Can’t tell you how many books, though, I’ve read one page of, and then never picked up again).

But some books just are so painful for me that I end up giving up even after investing some significant time in them.

In the last year or so, here are a few of the books I’ve tossed aside:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I started on this one after it got wiiiiiiildly popular. And then a couple of my library friends, who I know and trust, suggested I would NOT like it. I was far enough in (about one CD) to guess they were probably right. I deleted it from my phone and never looked back. 
  • Pure by Julianna Baggott. I love dystopian books, and I even used my tried and true stuck-on-an-airplane method to read this book, but . . . no. Too bizarre and freaky (I just couldn’t quite stomach characters who were melded together with inanimate objects (furniture, kitchen tools, toys), animals, or even other people). 
  • Dark Parties by Sara Grant. I actually thought this was one okay-ish, but apparently not excellent enough to keep reading. Also dystopian. 
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’ve heard rave reviews of this futuristic, video-game-centric book, but it was a little too crass for me. And I wasn’t invested enough in the story to want to plow through it despite the content.
So! What have you given up on lately? Probably something I recommended, wasn’t it? 
(All is forgiven, unless it was The Wednesday Wars, in which case, I’m sorry, but I am very disappointed). 

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33 Comments

  • Reply Kristin @ Going Country October 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

    No! I got "Edenbrooke" based on your recommendation and could not put it down. Even though occassionally in the midst of some of the more flowery dialogue, there was a little voice telling me it was kind of ridiculous, I ignored the voice and kept reading because I LOVE books with innocent romance and a happy ending. And there aren't many of them. I was sad I can't request her next book–too new for the interlibrary loan to ship it to my tiny home library.

    "Edenbrooke" reminded me, though, of a book you've probably heard of and I think would like if you haven't: "The Flight of Gemma Hardy," by Margot Livesy. It's a re-telling of Jane Eyre, so same good story, much more modern language and story telling. I loved that one, too.

    I also read a book called "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Cline that I really liked. And in non-fiction, "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson was great.

    This doesn't at all answer your question, but I guess I've been on a winning streak with books lately.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      That Gemma Hardy book sounds right what I'm looking for! I'll definitely check it out.

  • Reply april October 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Today I'm giving up on Cutting for Stone. I've tried it twice, people keep telling me I'd like it and how much they loved it but I carried it around for a month without reading and a month trudging through and I'm still only about 1/7 through (and I read FAST). I just can't get into it. I gave it through the end of the month, but I'm done.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      That book killed me. I know everyone LOVES it, but I didn't like it until the last 10 pages.

  • Reply Kayris October 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I'm with you on Gone Girl. Although I finished it, I hated it. People kept telling me it would blow my mind, and then it didn't.

  • Reply Stacy October 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Recently: Existence by David Brin. Not-so-recently: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

    I keep thinking that I *should* like adult science fiction and fantasy and then I find that I don't like it 95% of the time (unless it's by Brandon Sanderson, who can do no wrong). I'll stick to my YA sci-fi/fantasy, thank you very much.

  • Reply Hillary October 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    A book called The Curiosity. It had an interesting premise — scientists revive a man frozen in ice for 100 years — however, in three chapters, we had three different narrators in two different tenses and unclear time frames. No. Not doing it.

  • Reply RA October 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    My latest quit book was The Zookeeper's Wife. I was listening to it on audio, and at one point during my commute, I spontaneously shouted, "Oh, my gosh, I don't even CARE!" It was unfathomable to me that a story about harboring WWII Jewish refugees in a zoo could be so BORING. But I am the only person in my book club who feels this way, so I don't know, maybe it's just me or a bad translation to audio. Whatever it is, I'm not motivated to try it in print.

    • Reply haverlee November 1, 2013 at 4:49 am

      I listened to that book on audio too. On a very long road trip. And I gave up on it too for the same reason! SO boring. (I also gave up on it for fear of falling asleep at the wheel and killing myself and my children. So yeah, there was that too.)

  • Reply Allie @ Everyday Adventures October 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Aw, I loved Ready Player One! I did plow through Gone Girl, because it was for book club, but other than the fact that it was well-written, I didn't like any of the characters. It was one of those "love to hate" books for me. The most recent one I put down was The Interestings, because after 50 pages, I couldn't find anything interesting about it.

  • Reply Carrie Jo October 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I read a few pages of Outlander (the first one) and I liked it well enough. And then I read the synopsis and realized that adultery was a big part of the story line and said "This book isn't for me, no matter how great it is."

  • Reply Melanie October 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    So many people raved about Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but I just couldn't get through it. It seemed so pointless (and crude) to me. I also got bored with Moonwalking with Einstein and didn't end up finishing it.

  • Reply NGS October 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Oh, man. Delirium. I've checked it out three times. I just can't with the entire premise and the character is weak and vapid and I know every teenage girl is reading it, but I'm just going to be the old woman who refuses to read it.

    But I LOVED Ready Player One. So, to each her own, I guess!

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I think I would have liked Ready Player One better if I wasn't listening to it.

  • Reply Jessica October 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I am completely loving Ready Player One, but it's SO NERDY that I almost can't understand how so many people liked it…

    I don't DNF books very often, but I do pass on books when I have better options available. I just let my check out of Nancy Grossman's A World Away expire after listening to the first part, read the first chapter of The Interestings and decided there were too many words on the page, and even though I read half of Maya Banks's Rush, I wasn't really upset when I had to return it. And maybe a little embarrassed to admit that I even read half of it.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Kept meaning to read the Interestings, but two people saying it stinks is enough to make me give up on those plans.

  • Reply Lisa {MoneyHipMamas.com} October 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Bringing Up BeBe. I was most interested in the sleep portion which was right up front. The food portion was kind of repetitive since I'd just read French Kids Eat Everything. Then I hit the day care section. Which went on. And on. I was listening to it on cd so it was hard to just skip this section since I switched to the next cd and she was STILL talking about day care. Anyway, I had my baby right about when I hit this section anyway which meant I wasn't driving anymore, the cd came due, so I re-listened to the sleep section and returned it. Did you read this book? Did I miss anything important after the day care section? 🙂

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      I thought the food and sleep was the most important. And now it's been long enough since I read the book that I can't remember much more than that!

  • Reply Audrey October 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Night Circus. I just could not get into it. And 50 Shades, the first one. It's so not my thing but someone gave it to me to read. Personally, I thought it was so badly written that I quite after the second chapter. I so rarely read Fiction books but I actually really enjoyed Gone Girl. I read it in a couple of days….

  • Reply Erica October 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I also threw Gone Girl aside after a few chapters. But The Flamethrowers was the most recent one I've tossed aside, that and A Devil in the White City.

  • Reply preethi October 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I also listened to Gone Girl for maybe an hour and was DYING, I thought it was so bad. So I quit. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

  • Reply Audrey October 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I wish I'd given up on the Mists of Avalon instead of trudging through all 900 pages over several months. So many people said such great things about it, I kept thinking it would redeem itself, but nope! Just more boring nothingness, page after page after page.

    I totally gave up on the Matched trilogy mid-way through the 2nd book. I was rolling my eyes far too often at all the angst, so when my library copy expired, I didn't bother to renew it. I was relieved to be done with it.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      I hoped the third book would redeem Matched. It did not.

  • Reply Colleen November 1, 2013 at 3:58 am

    I used to finish every book, but after a few really awful ones I decided life is too short to waste hours on books that I hate, so I have a 60 page rule. If I still hate it after 60 pages, I'm done. My most recent unfinished books were "Bossypants," "Me Talk Pretty One Day," and "Steve Jobs." I know, everyone loved them, but I just couldn't get into any of them. And I'm just more of a fiction kind of girl.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Couldn't get through Bossypants either. Even after six million folks recommended it to me.

    • Reply Margaret January 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      I enjoyed the audiobook version of it as it was narrated by Tina. I also enjoyed the audiobook version of Cutting For Stone, but not sure I would have gotten through it in print. The narrators sometimes help make or break a book.

      Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

  • Reply haverlee November 1, 2013 at 4:54 am

    I gave up on Outlander after 120 pages (I was sorta starting to like it….but not really. It was due back at the library and I'm undecided if I'll ever check it out again.) and A Fine Balance. It was just a bit too wordy for me for this phase of my life with three kids when I'm only reading late at night. I agree with Colleen above. Life is too short to waste on mediocre books. I'm so thankful for Goodreads.com because the mediocre books are SO much fewer and farther between since I don't read anything below 4 stars now unless it's a subject I'm very interested in.

    • Reply Janssen November 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      It's so nice that you can spend five minutes and get a good feel for if you'll like a book or not. I love Amazon and Goodreads for that!

  • Reply Abby November 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I made it halfway through the audiobook of GONE GIRL before deciding that I just didn't CARE what happened to those horrible people and gave it up.

  • Reply Laura H November 2, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Listening to Killing Jesus. So disturbed o the brutality of the time.

  • Reply Little Gray Pixel November 4, 2013 at 1:16 am

    I recently gave up on "The Cuckoo's Calling." I don't care if J.K. Rowling wrote it; it's the most boring detective novel I've ever touched.

  • Reply Cami! November 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Good call on Gone Girl – I read a recommendation on it, and for some reason I thought it was you that had written it. So when I started reading it (and started hating it) I went back to your blog to find your review. Nothing. So I read other reviews and found most people thought the 2nd half was amazing. I kept going and can tell you the second half was not amazing. The whole thing was a waste of thinking.

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