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Abandoned Books: First Quarter 2010

April 3, 2010

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I’m trying out a new thing this year…actually recording my DNF books (as long as I get to around the 50 page mark). And I thought I’d publish them all once a quarter. I realise I probably sound meaner than usual (since, after all, I did abandon the book), so let me know if you think I should keep this up or not! Also, since this is totally new for me, please give me formatting suggestions! And I totally understand if y’all don’t want to read about why books annoyed me…this is more for me than anyone. I will say, recording my DNF books makes it much easier for me to go ahead and stop reading once I’ve ‘invested’ more than 20 pages in. So if you too still flinch at the idea of just giving up on a book, this might help you. :) -Eva

The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey
Why did I want to read it? I’m always looking for a new mystery series to get into! Especially when it’s set abroad. Also the protagonist, a young single woman who teaches English in Japan, sounded like someone I’d identify with.
What page did I get to? 54 (Chapter 5) of 452
Why did I abandon it? The characters all just seemed to be behaving really, really oddly. They didn’t act like anyone I’d ever met, so I was continually being pulled out of the story. This might be because Rei is telling the story, and she’s incredibly quick to judge people for the negative. For example, a Scotsman who’s only lived in Japan for nine months and doesn’t read kanji very well accidentally walked in on her in the baths, even though she’d put the ‘Women Only’ sign on the door. He immediately apologised and ran out, and he apologises again later. But Rei seems to decide he’s evil incarnate, and she’s really rude to all of his polite overtures after that. Additionally, Massey likes to slip in lots of information about Japan, but it’s done in a clumsy manner.

“As a matter of fact, I teach. I’m a sensai.”
I was startled. Sensei was an honorific title used to describe teachers or physicians, but was too pompous to use when introducing oneself. In describing my own work, I always used kyoushi, the humble word meaning tutor.

It got on my nerves. The writing style in general was simply to much telling and not enough showing for my tastes. One final example:

The police chief seemed unsatisfied, staring at Hugh for long periods without speaking as if to incite him into more revelations. Too much time passed.

Who might enjoy this more than me? People who focus more on the mystery than the writing. Or those who are curious about other cultures-I learned quite a bit about Japan just in the bit that I read.

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
Why did I want to read it? I mentioned the Moby Dick read-a-long on Twitter, and Jason brought it up. We had both always meant to read it, so we decided to read it get together after Moby Dick!
What page did I get to? 201 (Chapter 37) of 666
Why did I abandon it? It’s historical fiction, but I found all of the characters completely unbelievable for their time. They were also unbelievable in general…the book felt so self-consciously literary, that the characters seemed like mere tropes. The storytelling was all over the place, with a ridiculous opening scene that doesn’t seem related to the rest of the novel. And it felt pretentious. I just randomly opened the book, so I could share with you a sample. I promise I didn’t search for this:

I thought of the miles and miles of thread that her thimble had pulled through the cloth. What song had the needle sung to the fibers of the fabric? When she quilted, the needle passed through three layers: the pieced top, the inner batting, and the sturdy muslin underlayer. If all the thread from all her quilts were measured, would it stretch a thousand miles? Had her needle trudged, as a man’s foot might trudge, over a journey of a thousand miles?
She sat still, I though, and yet she traveled. And when one stitches, the mind travels, not the way men do, with ax and oxen through the wilderness, but surely our traveling counted too, as motion. And I thought of the patience of the stitches. Writing a book, I thought, which men often do, but women only rarely, has the posture of sewing. One hand leads, and the other hand helps. And books, like quilts, are made one word at a time, one stitch at a time.

Who might enjoy this more than me? I suppose people who didn’t find the passage I quoted unbearably self-aware and over-written might want to give it a try. Or those who don’t mind modern-thinking characters in historical time periods.

Scandals, Vandals, and da Vincis by Harvey Rachlin
Why did I want to read it? For the Art History challenge. I thought it sounded neat since it was described as giving the back story behind twenty-six famous works of art.
What page did I get to? 49 (chapter 4) of 291
Why did I abandon it? In all three of the essays I read, the story was nonexistent. It was like Rachlin just randomly threw some facts together and expected it to all magically hold together. He also had this habit of asking interesting questions about the paintings, but then never answering them. Like this:

Was Mona Lisa not commissioned by the model’s husband? Could the “Florentine lady” seen by de Beatis have been one of the mistresses of the pope’s brother, Giuliano de’ Medici?

That is not a way to conclude a passage. That’s how you begin one. Oh, and the historical context he provides, so the history bit, felt so flighty and superficial.
Who might enjoy this more than me? Fans of trivia, since I did learn several random facts about the paintings. Those who prefer their nonfiction on the lighter side.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
, audio version read by Janet McTeer and David Timson
Why did I want to read it? I read this for the first time in middle school, and I thought it was good enough, but I certainly wasn’t in love with it. I reread it again in late high school, and I was even less impressed. So I thought I’d reread it one last time as an adult, just to make sure my feelings hadn’t changed in the meantime. Also, Claire, a blogger I really respect (and we usually have pretty similar tastes), loves it. Claire, avert your eyes.
What page did I get to? I got to the beginning of part 7 of 11; the total time is about 13 hours, so I listened to a little over eight hours of it.
Why did I abandon it? I found it ridiculous. I didn’t like any of the characters, I thought that they all created their own problems and then were vicious and whiny about it. It felt like something an angsty thirteen-year-old might have written. I finally just couldn’t bring myself to open the audio file again.
Would I be willing to give it another shot? Um, no. This was its final shot. At this point, I’ve accepted that Anne is the only Bronte sister I enjoy (yep, that’s right, I don’t like Jane Eyre. I’ve read it three times, and each time I liked it less…ratherlike with Wuthering Heights. Perhaps I shouldn’t ever try to reread Tenant of Wildfell Hall!)
Who might enjoy this more than me? Those who enjoy melodramatic classics (think Thomas Hardy).

Vanessa and Virgina by Susan Sellers

Why did I want to read it? I wanted to join in the discussion over at Not the TV Book Group.
What page did I get to? 43 of 213 (chapter 4)
Why did I abandon it? I have deep reservations about using real people in fictional books, and the more we know about those people, and the larger their role in the fiction, the deeper my reservations become. This book is told from Vanessa Bell’s point of view, and I realised I just wasn’t buying it. She didn’t sound like the Vanessa I’d imagined, and I was intensely uncomfortable with the idea of someone making up a voice for a real person, who lived recently, and about whom there’s a lot of documentation. Also, Sellers’ style was obviously a homage to Virginia, but coming off of Woolf in Winter, it was a bit of a pale shadow.

We are mechanical figures, you and I, controlled by an invisible puppeteer. We listen and observe, saying only enough to keep the ball of conversation lopping backward and forward across the table. We are its reluctant guardians, required to keep it always in motion, suppressing any desires we might have to send it spinning out of orbit or to allow it to settle for a moment at rest. We must pat it to the shy young woman in the corner, judging our stroke so that it will land gently enough to encourage her to raise her racket and participate in the game.

That extended metaphor continues for another couple of sentences too. Oh, and there were these awkward moments when Sellers needed to introduce some background knowledge/fact in case the reader knew nothing about Virginia or Vanessa beforehand. They felt off.
Would I be willing to give it another shot? Not really. I knew going in that this wasn’t a novel I’d pick up for myself. I tried to keep my mind open, but at the end, it’s just not my style. I’d rather be reading more of Woolf herself.
Who might enjoy this more than me? Readers who are less strongly attached to Woolf then me. ;) Also, anyone who doesn’t mind real people being fictionalised! I think if the book had been about imaginary characters, I definitely would have kept reading it.

The Undressed Art by Peter Steinhart

Why did I want to read it? It looked really interesting when I was browsing my library’s shelves, and I thought it’d make a good Art History Challenge read.
What page did I get to? 111 (chp. 7) of 241
Why did I abandon it? He kept breaking out evolutionary psychology, which makes me raise my eyebrows automatically. And then he started matter-of-factly discussing the difference in brains between boys and girls, which makes my blood begin to boil.
Would I be willing to give it another shot? Unfortunately not. But I would be willing to read a different Steinhart book that didn’t have anything about psychology in it.
Who might enjoy this more than me? Those who have less strong reactions to evolutionary psychology babble. ;) In all seriousness, if the evolution stuff hadn’t been in it, I definitely would have kept reading. The way he describes artists at work, and their processes, is lovely, and I was especially intrigued that he profiles the (nude) models as well.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Why did I want to read it? I love classics.
What page did I get to? 60
Why did I abandon it? It just wasn’t catching my attention. I had thought that it was historical fiction, set in the 19th century. Instead, I found it was set during the Russian Revolution, which doesn’t interest me nearly as much.
Would I be willing to give it another shot? Yep! Once I’ve adjusted my expectations, hehe.
Who might enjoy this more than me? I know a lot of people are more into the Russian Revolution than me. ;) But honestly, this wasn’ a case of the problem being with the book; the problem was definitely with me as the reader.

81 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2010 6:43 am

    Eva, I remember trying to read The Salaryman’s Wife several years ago. I don’t think I finished it and I can’t really remember why. Something was annoying about it. :-)

    I’ve had Ahab’s Wife on my shelf for forever. I look at it, pick it up, and put it back. Just never the right time. Might be one that ought to go to the charity shop. I have a feeling it might never be the right time. I liked the idea of it, but don’t really know why because I’ve never read Moby Dick and don’t intend to. LOL

    • April 5, 2010 12:58 am

      lol I liked the idea of Ahab’s Wife too. But the execution…well, it wasn’t my style!

  2. April 3, 2010 7:16 am

    I love this feature, Eva! I always think it’s interesting to read about books people abandon, because I think that’s still useful information to have! It’s kind of like why I’ll write reviews of books I don’t love, because so long as I make an effort to articulate why I didn’t like the book, I think that information can be helpful to others. After all, things I don’t enjoy in my fiction, others might! Also, I think it’s clear that you gave all of these books a fair shake, and that’s important too!

    Oh, and I also hate Wuthering Heights! I’ve read it twice and that was two times too many for me! Hate! But I do like Jane Eyre! ;)

    • April 5, 2010 12:59 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the feature! I swear, I’m the only one in the entire blogosphere who doesn’t like Jane Eyre. lol

  3. April 3, 2010 7:18 am

    I made myself finish Dr. Zhivago. I felt like I *should* read it, because it’s a “classic.” But I knew little to nothing about the Russian Revolution, and I couldn’t keep all the names straight (people, places, whatever). I didn’t know the Reds from the Whites. I think I need a little more education re: the Russian Revolution, and then I might try it again, hopefully enjoying it more.

    • April 5, 2010 12:59 am

      Since I majored in Russian in college, I know enough about the Russian Revolution to get by. I just wasn’t in the mood for it, you know? I’ll try again at some point-hopefully this year! :)

  4. April 3, 2010 7:19 am

    I also like this feature, Eva … might have to consider doing something similar on my own blog.

  5. April 3, 2010 7:23 am

    Ugh, I feel the same about Wuthering Heights. Why must they all be so awful? But Dr. Zhivago I remember liking quite a bit, though it’s been a few years since I read it last.

    I like this feature! I meant to do the same thing, but I forgot, and now I can’t think of any books I’ve abandoned this year (I know there have been several).

    • April 5, 2010 1:00 am

      I totally expect to pick up Dr. Zhivago again and really enjoy it! :) I can’t remember half the books I abandoned last year, unless I see someone mention them. lol

  6. April 3, 2010 7:42 am

    I think this is a great way to record DNF books! I generally don’t like reviews that are for books people didn’t read all the way through, but they aren’t really reviews and it’s interesting to see why you stopped reading a book, so, like. Uh. Keep doing it?

    I may copy you, actually. Sometimes I really want to talk about a book I didn’t finish, but then I’m stuck because I don’t want to do a review, and…yeah.

    • April 5, 2010 1:01 am

      Thanks Anastasia! I would feel really uncomfortable reviewing books I haven’t finished too.

  7. April 3, 2010 8:23 am

    Interesting post idea and I’d say you gave them a chance. I’m getting much better at dumping the (in my humble opinion) losers. Life is just too short!

    As for Dr. Zhivago, have you seen the movie? I think it’s quite close to the book and might help as a warm-up. Don’t worry about the politics too much; once you get the tension between private life and public/political life, you’re good to go.

    • April 5, 2010 1:02 am

      I majored in Russian in college, so the politics aren’t the issue. ;) I just wasn’t really in the mood for Revolution stuff.

  8. Lynne permalink
    April 3, 2010 8:36 am

    I think this is a great idea. I thought about doing it too, but thought “why would people want to read about books I didn’t like?” After reading your post, though, it’s actually very interesting and helpful!

  9. April 3, 2010 8:46 am

    Ooh, I like this new feature! It seems as though your reason for DNFing the first book is cropping up more and more in fiction. I don’t know why! I notice it much more and it IS very clumsy and annoying. I wish authors would stop trying to prove to us how much research they do into everything.

    • April 5, 2010 1:14 am

      lol! So true. :) Maybe they should include bibliographies at the end, so we can applaud them. hehe

  10. April 3, 2010 9:47 am

    Would it help to know that Massey is trying for some sexual tension and just not doing a terribly good job? I think she’s going for Mr. Darcy, but it’s not coming off that way. I was a big fan of hers for a while, and while I think you’re right that sometimes her characters don’t act terribly realistically, I do love the atmosphere and the subject matter of her books. Massey actually did live and teach in Japan, so at least you know her work is based on fact. It has been a while, though, since I’ve reread her work, so maybe my opinion has changed!

    As for the DNF reviews in general, I love them! I like the structure of each book’s section, and I always find it interesting to know why people don’t finish books.

    • April 5, 2010 1:14 am

      Well, I could tell she was attempting sexual tension. But it just didn’t work for me! I know that she lived in Japan, which is a large part of why I wanted to read the series, but oh well. I’m glad you like the structure!

  11. April 3, 2010 9:50 am

    Eva – This is a great idea and I love your format. I just keep a list and don’t jot down my reasons for abandoning a book but your comments are very helpful for potential readers.

  12. April 3, 2010 9:51 am

    I totally agree with you on Wuthering Heights and Dr. Zhivago.

    Unfortunately, I forced myself to finish Wuthering Heights, but it just never, ever got any better. I couldn’t stand Cathy or Heathcliff, and just wanted to brain both of them. I will not be picking this one up again.

    Dr. Zhivago, however, may have just come at me at a bad time. I think I only got as far as you did, but I read it on the heels of either Middlemarch or Main Street (Not exactly fluffy reads), so I think I just was not in the mindset to read it. I did put it back on my shelf, at the end of my TBR pile, to try again another day.

    • April 5, 2010 1:15 am

      LOL To me, if I was going to do one of those awful mixing classics w/ zombies, etc., I would have gone straight to Wuthering Heights and left Austen alone. I want to try Dr. Zhivago again pretty soon!

  13. April 3, 2010 9:52 am

    Like others who have commented, I really like this feature. Though I haven’t tried Ahab’s Wife, the self-conscious literary tone in books annoys me too. I just don’t have the patience for it sometimes.

    • April 3, 2010 10:12 am

      Also, that photo strangely creeps me out.

      • April 5, 2010 1:16 am

        I thought the photo was creepy too. But I was tired, and too lazy to think of anything better to decorate the post. ;)

  14. April 3, 2010 10:09 am

    I gave up on Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch. I had just enjoyed his Love in the Time of Cholera and wanted more. Not this one. Not only is there a really ugly patriarch on the cover, but the book is ugly inside also.

    Opening sentence: “Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside, and at dawn on Monday the city awoke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of the great man dead and rotting grandeur.” That is one of the shorter sentences in the book.

    Most of the time you don’t know where you are or when you are, you just know you want out, and now.

    • April 5, 2010 1:17 am

      Man, I WISH I’d given up on Autumn of the Patriarch. I read it a couple months ago, and it was SOOO bad. I’ve loved the other Marquez I’ve read, so I don’t know what happened. May I recommend 100 Years of Solitude, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and News of a Kidnapping (nonfic)?

  15. April 3, 2010 10:33 am

    This is great! I keep a list but no reasons for abandonment. I think you gave everything here a fair shot — why read something that annoys you. So far, I’ve only given up on one book. I’m sure the list will get longer as the year goes on.

  16. April 3, 2010 10:36 am

    I really like this post, Eva. I think it helps other readers to choose appropriate books and also those who might be struggling with the same books! I started Doctor Zhivago once but just couldn’t create the characters in my mind so I kept getting lost. I have it on my list for this year but am not sure I will get to it unless I’m in the right state of mind for sufficient concentration. (And that Ahab’s Wife passage is awful. I could never read something like that. Blech.)

  17. April 3, 2010 12:21 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who gave Wuthering Heights more than one chance and didn’t like it any better the second time. Someone else who won’t be joining the upcoming Read-along :-)!

    I like the new feature, Eva!

    • April 5, 2010 1:25 am

      Yep-not even a read-a-long could save that book for me! lol

  18. April 3, 2010 12:30 pm

    Wonderful idea. I favor Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall over the other Brontes. And I even think that Jean Rhys’s Wild Sargasso Sea, meant as a prequel(“?) to Jane Eyre is better than Jane Eyre.

    • April 5, 2010 1:25 am

      I love Tenant best as well. :) I wasn’t overly fond of Wide Sargasso Sea, but I definitely liked it more than Jane Eyre.

  19. April 3, 2010 12:45 pm

    This is an interesting feature. I like that part of the format is who you think would enjoy each book. I am going to say I like the feature overall because it is interesting to know why you don’t like books as much as it is to know why you DO like them. And you are ever diplomatic.

    • April 5, 2010 1:26 am

      Thanks-I worked hard to try to get the snark out as much as possible! :)

  20. April 3, 2010 1:13 pm

    Good for you Eva, for not hanging on to a book if it doesn’t hold your interest. Life is too short.

    I’m worried about Wuthering Heights now. I feel so much wanting to read it, but my colleague said the same thing, why study or read about characters which you hate them so much?!!

    I’d like to read more about your DNFs. It helps me to avoid wasting time on books I think I should read. :)

    • April 5, 2010 1:27 am

      You know, I don’t even hate the characters. I just think they’re silly, lol. But I know some wonderful readers who really enjoyed Wuthering Hieghts, so definitely still give it a try!

  21. April 3, 2010 1:45 pm

    I do like to hear of the books you couldn’t finish – especially as I was considering getting Vanessa and Virginia after I saw it on one of your Library Loot posts, and now I won’t bother.

    It’s a funny thing, about Wuthering Heights. I can completely agree with you on your summary: “I thought that they all created their own problems and then were vicious and whiny about it. It felt like something an angsty thirteen-year-old might have written.” I’ve read it twice now and I liked it more the second time, which was for a book-club and we had an interesting discussion about it. There’s a lot going on there. It’s weird for me, because I detest self-indulgent characters and stories, and melodrama too.

    BTW, Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books, but again I can understand why you wouldn’t like it (it comforts me, I have to admit, when I can say that, because of all the times people have attacked me personally on Goodreads for hating a book they loved, even after I explained why. Which you’ve gotta admit is pretty mean).

    • April 5, 2010 1:28 am

      Those Goodreads people are definitely mean! And childish. :) I think WH would lead to some great discussions for sure, just because it’s so polarising.

  22. Kathleen Dassaro permalink
    April 3, 2010 2:55 pm

    This is great idea, a quarterly wrap up of the un-readables. I only had one this quarter, Daughters of the Witching Hill, by Mary Sharratt. I am undecided about whether I will try again. We’ll have to see .

    • April 5, 2010 1:53 am

      I haven’t even heard of Daughters of Witching Hill before. Fun title-too bad the book didn’t live up to it!

  23. April 3, 2010 3:21 pm

    I enjoyed reading your list here, even if you are totally wrong about Wuthering Heights. ;-)

    I think we should all probably abandon more books. I’ve abandoned several lately, but I do tend to force myself to finish most of them so I can review them. Doing posts like this one make it possible to have my cake and eat it, too.

    It’s a good idea.

    • April 5, 2010 1:53 am

      Thanks CB! Yep-this style post has definitely made it easier for me to abandon books. :)

  24. April 3, 2010 4:20 pm

    Hmm.. Ahab’s Wife is on my list. I wonder if I’ll feel the same as you did about it.

    • April 5, 2010 1:53 am

      Well, what did you think about the passage I quoted? I think it’s a good litmus test!

  25. April 3, 2010 6:41 pm

    I haven’t tried any of those except Wuthering Heights I was made to read in school, and all I remember now is that it was gloomy. But I have to say I flinched when I saw that photo! a positively mildewy book makes my skin crawl! Ugh.

  26. April 3, 2010 7:33 pm

    I’m not a Wuthering Heights fan either, but I do think I would like Doctor Zhivago.

    • April 5, 2010 1:54 am

      I think eventually I’ll enjoy Dr. Zhivago!

  27. Lynne permalink
    April 3, 2010 8:01 pm

    You inspired me to do my own Abandoned Books post

  28. April 4, 2010 12:24 am

    I love this new feature & forbid you to abandon it! It’ll make it easier for me to face my own stack of DNFs.

  29. April 4, 2010 2:55 am

    I love this post! I think it just shows what a different taste in books we have. I loved Ahab’s Wife. It has been a while since I read it, but I just remember it being a fantastic story. I guess I didn’t really think about the characters not behaving realistically and just loved the atmosphere.

    I also enjoyed Wuthering Heights – perhaps I should give your other DNFs a try!

  30. April 4, 2010 3:00 am

    A great new feature, Eva. I occasionally mention a book I haven’t finished, but only if there was a problem with it. Sometimes I know that I’m just in the wrong frame of mind and there isn’t anything “wrong” with the book itself, I’ve just, for example, picked up sci-fi when I should have been reading a mystery.

    But it’s always really interesting to find out why people don’t get on with certain books, especially ones I’ve enjoyed myself. I liked Wuthering Heights but I was only 16 when I read it, and wonder what I would think of it now that I am (considerably) older?

    • April 5, 2010 2:00 am

      Yeah-usually, if I’m not in the mood for a book, I only get 10 or 20 pages in before switching, so it won’t end up in my DNF stuff. :)

  31. April 4, 2010 8:04 am

    I JUST STARTED DOING THIS AS WELL! Like, on Wednesday. We = twin brains.

    One of the reasons I started a book blog in the first place is because this one time Einstein published the failed results of an experiment that took him 6 months, and they were all like, Dude, why did you publish this? It didn’t work! And he was like, So that no one else would waste 6 months trying the same thing. The DNFiles is analogous to publishing your failed results, methinks.

    • April 5, 2010 2:00 am

      This whole comment is why I love you. The end.

  32. April 4, 2010 8:48 pm

    I also HATE Wuthering Heights, even if I quite like Jane Eyre. I prefer Thomas Hardy over any of the Brontes, though!

    I am glad to hear your take on Vanessa & Virginia. I also have strong feelings about the use of real people as characters. I find it a disturbing appropriation of an individual’s voice and soul. I would much rather have original characters with a note like “Based on the life of Vanessa Bell” …. etc.

    • April 5, 2010 2:01 am

      Really? I’ve only read Tess by Hardy back in middle school, and I wasn’t a fan. I suppose I should give him another short one of these days!

  33. April 4, 2010 9:12 pm

    I abandoned Ahab’s Wife when my book club chose it. I think I got about 50 pages into it and just literally tossed it across the room. I seemed so disjointed to me.

    • April 5, 2010 2:01 am

      If it hadn’t been a library copy, I would have thrown mine across the room too!

  34. April 5, 2010 2:48 am

    I read about some book group recently that has a rule that readers must stay the course with a book they’re not enjoying until they get to the page number that’s their age. If you followed that, you wouldn’t have to suffer long. Of course, I hate to give up that easily. I like to fight and fight against the book till I can’t go another round, then complain loudly and bitterly.

  35. April 5, 2010 5:11 am

    Interesting format, Eva. I sometimes remember to blog about the books I’ve abandoned, but it’s usually a picture and a small blurb. I like the questions you ask; really gives us an idea of where you were and why you stopped there.

  36. April 5, 2010 5:48 am

    I haven’t read Ahab’s Wife, but I did read Abundance (same author) and felt the same way. Actually, I never finished Abundance – I left it at a train station when I rushed to board my train. And I never, ever, ever leave books places (by accident). It really lacked pull if it was that forgettable.

  37. Alli permalink
    April 5, 2010 6:36 am

    I like what you’re doing here. I haven’t read any of these books (although I do own Wutering Heights, but I haven’t even begun it myself). But I enjoy reading why people don’t like certain books, even when I disagree completely.

    My friend’s dog is named Dr. Zhivago! I think it’s a great dog name.

  38. April 5, 2010 8:39 am

    I liked Wuthering Heights even though I also hated every single character. They were all morons and I couldn’t believe some of things they did to each other.
    I haven’t read Dr. Zhivago yet, but I will eventually. The Russian Revolution is one era I feel really confident about, so I hope I get a lot out of it.

    Oh, and I will totally get back to you about doing a Night and Day read-along! It would be a lot of fun!

  39. April 5, 2010 11:42 am

    I have such a hard time abandoning books, actually it seems pretty impossible to me. But, I did abandon one over the weekend and, by taking that step, my hubby welcomed me to the next level of reading!

    I love Jane Eyre, so I may give Wuthering Heights a shot one of these days.

  40. April 5, 2010 1:15 pm

    I almost always force myself to finish — maybe I’m a bit compulsive? But with that in mind, I’m very picky about the books I start. In the past two or three years, I’ve stalled on only two: “House of Leaves” and “Parting the Waters.” I found the footnotes in HoL to be very disconcerting; I have no real excuse for PtW, which is an outstanding work. But in each case, I feared that I would be lost when I started in again.

  41. April 6, 2010 12:03 pm

    I don’t particularly remember liking Wuthering Heights and I’ve read it a few times. But I do like Jane Eyre!

  42. April 7, 2010 12:00 pm

    Re: The Undressed Art who needs a book like that when you can play Evolutionary Psychology Bingo instead?!

  43. Jenny permalink
    April 7, 2010 2:24 pm

    I have a good friend who told me I HAD to read Ahab’s Wife, so it’s been on my TBR list for several years. Based on that quotation, I may quietly slip it off the list.

    Do try Hardy again one of these days. I hated Tess (BO-ring — a bodice ripper with no bodice) but really liked Far From the Madding Crowd.

  44. April 8, 2010 10:10 pm

    I’ve had Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund for about five years now. I don’t even remember why I wanted to read it. Maybe because it was sold at a very low price? I had such noble intentions getting into this book, but I just couldn’t get past a pinch of the pages. Your 200 is just admirable from my standpoint. And yes, I did feel as though “the book felt so self-consciously literary”–I understand that authors want an agenda, but it gets grating when it’s just so, well, so obvious.

  45. April 9, 2010 9:54 am

    Hahaha! Well, you tried. I loved the rawness of Wuthering Heights and the dark mood, etc. I think it shaped the way I was as an adolescent and teen. Not the Sweet Valley High reading type at all.

  46. July 30, 2010 8:15 am

    I hated WH when I first read it in college, and still hated it when I tried it again quite recently. And I don’t like Jane Eyre. And I’m not even wowed by (whispering) Jane Austen. You might like the movie of DZ better, though it is very long. I thought this was a great, great post. Very well thought out, and very well written.


  1. Abandoned Books: Second Quarter 2010 « A Striped Armchair

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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