Saturday, 5 February 2011

Discussion (& Mini Reviews): Book Traffic Jams & Books I Couldn't Finish...

This post is in two parts. Part 1 is the discussion, part 2 is mini/half reviews of some books I couldn't finish (seeing as it relates to the discussion topic).

Part One:

Here’s the thing: I have a major book addiction, which I guess is probably something you lot can relate too seeing as you’re reading a book blog. But anyway, because of that addiction… my to be read pile is insane. I built up a new book case for my TBR pile and all the books didn’t even fit in it (that’s just the TBR ones, not all the books I own).

I used to always force myself to finish books because sometimes I’ll be reading a book and it can take me about a third of the book to actually get into it and by the end I love it. But until I reach that point where the book gets good? It’s like nails on the chalkboard of my mind… I hate forcing myself to read a book that just isn’t doing it for me, it takes the fun out of reading.

When I'm forcing myself to read a book I don't really like, my reading sometimes comes to a grinding halt completely. I sometimes read multiple books at once, but when one of those books is one I don't want to finish, it makes me not want to read any books at all -- it's like it creates a book traffic jam.

And now, because of the insanity that is Mount TBR, I’m beginning to realise maybe I should stop doing that. I have a lot of books to read, so I shouldn’t feel bad about being unable to finish some.

And sorry for that long intro, if I do another one of these posts ever then I can leave that part out - I just wanted to explain what this post is about.

Discussion questions:

1. What do you do when you can't get into a book? Do you force yourself to finish or just give up on it? (Do you feel the same way I do about it?)

2. Out of curiosity, is there anyone who felt the same about the books I mention below (the ones I couldn't finish)?

Part Two:

Here are the half reviews of the books I couldn’t bring myself to finish and I’ll try to give my reasons (some of the books on this list may surprise you -- Harmony and Julie seemed horrified at a certain book on this list):

Tell Me No Lies by Malorie Blackman

I think this is the first book I ever gave up on. It was a few years ago and just… I couldn’t stand the characters, the plot wasn’t that great from what I read and it almost bored me to tears. I have heard great things about Malories other books, particularly the Noughts and Crosses series, but this book made me reluctant to try them.

Verdict: I will never finish reading that book. I totally give up on it.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I tried reading this one a bunch of times over the years and I really, really wanted to like it. I mean, I own the entire trilogy and I’ve heard such fantastic thing’s about the books but it just bored me really. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t even really care about the plot and it’s one of the historical fiction books where the historical element does nothing for me at all. Books like Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare manage to be historical in an awesome way… I just wasn’t feeling that with this book.

Maybe it would get awesome if I stuck with the book till the end or read the sequels, but I really don’t want to anymore. Reading it was so dull, like being forced to read a boring book in school.

Julie did not approve when I officially announced I was giving up on the book to her on MSN a little while ago, she loves this series.

Verdict: I don't see myself giving these books another chance any time soon. I even talked to Julie about maybe giving away my copies (something I never do unless I have doubles). Finishing the book = highly unlikely.

Logic of Demons by H. A. Goodman

I was sent this book for review just after Christmas, I think, and I actually do like the book (I’m not just saying that). But I’ve dragged out reading it over a few weeks… I’m a fast reader usually, if I’m into a book then I’ll finish it in a couple of hours. At the most, sometimes I drag it out over one week… but this book? Any time I put it down, I just didn’t find myself wanting to pick it up again.

I enjoyed the book while I was reading it (from what I‘ve read right now, I‘d give it 3/5 stars), but the story and characters didn’t have me hooked to the point where I needed to know what was happening.

Verdict: This isn’t a definite “I completely give up on this book”, I will finish this one at some point but right now it feels like it’s blocking me from reading other books and it’s really frustrating me. I have a lot to read, like I mentioned and this one is kind of causing a traffic jam in my TBR pile.

I’ll leave it at that for now… there’s a few books that I started reading, put them down and then a year later, I still haven’t gone back to them. They haven’t made the list because I actually did/do intend of finishing those, they just didn’t get me hooked fast enough.

Please note: with all of these books, these are just my opinions. Just because they didn't work out for me doesn't mean you won't like them. I've been known to have unpopular opinions on certain books that everyone else seems to adore (one was mentioned above, another is Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes - that book bored me, I really didn't like it but other people seem to absolutely love it).
I keep the books, so maybe one day I’ll give rereading them another try, but for now I’m going to get into the habit of letting myself give up on books if they’re not working for me.


  1. Since beginning blogging, my TBR list has exploded, too. Now I have to be pickier about what I finish because there are so many other books I have to read due to deadlines and such. If I'm not feeling a book I try to give it 50 pages, and if I still can't get into it then I put it down and move on. Depending on my issues, sometimes I go back to them and sometimes I don't. Not everyone likes every book, and sometimes we're just not in the mood for certain things. The first time I picked up Water for Elephants I nearly threw it across the room I was so bored. I finally picked it back up a year later, and it's become one of my all-time favorites. It's easy to become overwhelmed by an ever-growing pile, ARC deadlines, and commitments, but when it comes down to it we started doing this because we love books - so we have to remember to read what we love and blog about that.

  2. I've had 2 DNF books so far this year, but I don't feel bad because they weren't sent for review or anything and one was a public domain ebook. I stopped reading because they were both over my head and a little too complex.

    Also, I do put books on hold or pause I guess you could say. Like with Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake. At first I couldn't get into it. So I set it aside for like 4 months. Then, I was really feeling something romance-y, and picked it back up and enjoyed it immensely more. I mean, there's a difference between wrong book at the wrong time and wrong book period.

  3. I HATE leaving a book half read, but sometimes I just have to do it. I'd rather be reading something I love instead of something I have to force myself to read.

    But at the same time I almost stopped reading The Book Thief because I couldn't figure out the narrator at first. I found it really frustrating, but I also knew people were raving like crazy about it. So I told myself I'd read 50 pages, and if it didn't improve my then, I'd leave it. And what do you know, those 20 extra pages made all the difference. I fell in love with it.

  4. LOL I completely agree. I made that one of my goals for this year. If a book feels like a chore to read, put it down. Perhaps later on you might be in the mood to pick it up again. That happens.

  5. Although I haven't actually read tell me no lies, Noughts and Crosses is my favourite series EVER. Its fantastic and I recommend it to everyone!! I stopped being interested in YA for a while and I think thats why I haven't picked up any of Blackman's other books but I really want to see if I can read some soon as this series fascinated me so much!

  6. I have a huge TBR list as well. It's taking over my apartment to the chagrin of my fiancee. I am like you when a book isn't doing it for me, I tend to kinda shy away from reading altogether and this upsets me because I LOVE READING. *sigh*

    I think in the future if I can't get into it I will put it down right away, try something else and maybe try giving the book another shot later. But if I still cannot get into it, then DNF it is for this book. I can't help it if I can't finish a book. It should be fun and not a chore.

    PS I've given you an award today... hope you have a great weekend and don't fret about not finishing books.

  7. Aside from required reading for school, there aren't that many books that I started reading and couldn't finish. My list is really short:
    The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm not prepared to give up on Earthsea since I bought two of the books in the series. As for The Return of the King...I put that book down 9 years ago, and I haven't picked it back up yet. But, I'm determined to try re-reading it (the entire series, actually) since I think I'll appreciate it better now. Who knows if I'll ever get around to it though.



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