This week’s list was a challenge for me. I have to confess that I am a love ‘em or leave ‘em reader. If a book hasn’t grabbed my attention within the first 50-100 pages then I’m out. There are way too many great books out there for me to waste time reading something I’m not really enjoying. As there are not that many books I’ve almost put down but didn’t, I thought I would do something else with my list in order to complete it!
Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t
Theft: A Love Story – Peter Carey
I really hated Theft…, yet a struggled with it to the end mainly because I have previously not only enjoyed but really loved Peter Carey’s other work. I kept believing it would get better and it kept…not getting better. I’m sort of proud of myself for battling through. Sort of.
The Chemistry of Tears – Peter Carey
Like the book above, I read my way through Chemistry… because I am a Peter Carey fan. However, unlike Theft… it did improve and I’m glad that I stuck with it. My thoughts on it can be found here.
The Circle – Dave Eggers
So, I am reading this book at the moment. I am committed to it as I am almost at the end and again, I am a fan of the author. BUT, I have almost put it down soooo many times now. I keep recommending it to people and then wondering why, as I’m finding it really rather boring. I am keen to find out what happens though, so am sticking with it to the bitter end.
Books I ‘paused’ – ones I struggled with but enjoyed and still really want to finish
Dr Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Ahh, my Everest. I have started this book three times over the years and still can’t seem to finish it. It’s a very dense, very long book and the assortment of Russian names (everyone has more than one) is confusing to follow. However, I enjoyed the writing and I know I like the story as I’ve seen two adaptations (there’s commitment for you) and neither of them use the ending in the book, so I’m really keen to see what Pasternak’s original ending was.
Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
Another book that was abandoned as it was long and dense. Dickens goes off on lots of tangents and I kept getting fed up with some of the characters we kept revisiting. As much as I know that they will become key to the story, it was winter and I was tired and I lost my enthusiasm. I am a fan of Dickens though, so I will return to it!
The Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
This is a university reading list casualty. I started reading it as part of my course, but as I was on a tight schedule (three novels a week, plus outside reading) this was too long to finish in time and had to be put aside. I really enjoyed what I read though and kept it to revisit.
The Unconsoled – Kazuo Ishiguro
I am a big fan of Ishiguro and am working my way through his novels. This one was intriguing but I found it hard to get into. As I like Ishiguro so much, I have set it aside to come back to in the future.
Books I’m happy I ditched before the end!
The Casual Vacancy – J K Rowling
Yikes, so boring. I couldn’t get past a page at a time without feeling sleepy; dumped about 50 pages in.
The Group – Mary McCarthy
I had heard such great things about this novel; it was considered important to women’s writing and to the subject matter discussed in popular novels after. It was recommended by lots of interesting writers (including Hilary Mantel). And yet – it was appalling. The writing was so bad. I mean, like really really bad. I was cringing as I read. Dumped about 60 pages in.
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
This is a Nobel Prize winning book, you guys. Recommended by one of my favourite professors, I expected to be bowled over by amazingness. Nope. I found it very dull and super pretentious. I considered carrying on, but I think reading certain books just to look smart is unnecessary. Dumped 60ish pages in.
What books did you nearly put down? Are there some you wish you had?