Saturday, January 5, 2013

Books I Did Not Finish in 2012

I think part of my mostly newfound ability to read a lot of books in a short amount of time comes from giving myself permission to set aside books I don't like without finishing them. This used to be almost heresy to me and I would plug my way through books I hated, despite terrible writing or characters I just didn't care anything for. Once I started compiling a comprehensive "To Read" list on I realized there are SO MANY books that I want to read and never enough time to tackle them all and that time wasted trying to get through books I don't like is time I can't spend on ones that I might like.

This year there were a few popular-fiction type books that I read a couple pages of and gave up on because of the awful writing style, but there were also a few books that I made it several chapters into before realizing I was wasting my time.

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series and while I knew Rowling's adult literature would be very different, I was disappointed in the overly bleak and depressing tone of the book. I read multiple reviews where people consistently had the same problem with this book and who said it never redeemed itself, even by the end. A couple friends who are big Rowling fans said the same, so I quit a couple chapters in rather than putting in weeks in reading the book only to be let down at the end.

Running with Scissors – Augusten Burroughs

Ew ew ew. I can handle a lot of dysfunction in literature, and often writing that shows sympathy and empathy towards very dysfunctional characters is what I love (Flannery O' Connor, Sherwood Anderson), but I do not like writing that glamorizes dysfunction. This psuedo-memoir absolutely did that and was not even amusing in the process. I tried to make it through the book, but gave up when descriptions of the young teenage Burroughs being sexually molested by an older man made my stomach churn. Blegh.

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

I like to have a decent grasp on the classics and there are many that I hold near and dear, including Jane Eyre. I thought I'd give the other famous Brontë sister a try since she seemed to have just as many fans as Charlotte. Sadly, I was not impressed with Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Heathcliff are out of control crazy without being interesting.  Most of the book that I read (I stopped about halfway through) consisted of them throwing giant temper tantrums for very little reason. I read enough to get a good grasp of what the book is like and now I can happily never attempt reading it again.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers

I was not impressed by this book. The tone was too intentionally witty and trendy for my taste. I quit a couple chapters in.

Did you have any books that disappointed you this year?

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