Ten Books I Recently Abandoned

I really liked this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, which was ten books you’ve recently given up on.  I completely spaced it on Tuesday, but I’ve decided to post anyway.  I’ve been giving myself “permission” lately to start and stop books.  For one thing, some books just feel harder to read right now.  A lot of books on this list just felt too dark or difficult to read – although I’ve read and loved some really dark books lately, like My Dark Vanessa and No Visible Bruises.

But also, I get so many books from my library wait list there’s no point letting them pile up because one book isn’t grabbing me.  Things are stressful enough right now.  Still, I know it’s possible these are books I might love if I gave them another chance, so I’d like to get your input on whether I should give them another go.

There are so many books where, if I just give them more time, I’m very glad that I did.  And then, there are others where, if you don’t like the book from the start, it isn’t going to work for you.  The hard part is knowing which is which.

  1. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe: This is a nonfiction book about The Troubles in Northern Ireland that received rave reviews, telling me this is a great book to help me understand Northern Ireland’s recent history.  It begins with an attention-grabbing story of a woman who is abducted from her home in front of her ten children – but I found my head swimming once Keefe got more into the specifics.  Maybe this is just too heavy for me right now, or maybe I just can’t wrap my head around people tearing each other apart over religious differences.
  1. Writers and Lovers by Lily King: I started this on audiobook, and felt the narrator sounded a little annoying. But this is supposed to be an amazing book so I think I’ll try the print version and stick with it a bit longer.
  1. The Topeka School by Ben Lerner: another book with amazing reviews. I started listening to this one and really liked it, but just didn’t keep going with it.
  1. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli: unlike the three books above, I gave this one a really good try, on both audio and print. At first I loved the idea of this book, but then it just seemed to go nowhere (literally, two parents and two kids travelling endlessly in a car).  I also started to really dislike the narrator’s tone and her way of not giving their children names.
  1. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers: I loved the last book I read by Chambers, but this one, about a research mission on another planet, just felt like it was going nowhere. A lot of details about space travel, but no real plot as far as I could tell.
  1. Strangers and Cousins by Leah Cohen: in fairness, I didn’t read enough of this to say I gave up on it. It came in from the library, sounded kind of interesting, but I had other books that grabbed me more.
  1. The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett Graff: this book grabbed me immediately, and I really want to go back to it. The author compiles years of interviews with people who experienced the events of 9/11.  It felt very dark to me – as the author says, many of us have our own stories of that day, most of them unforgettable.  So I probably need to be in the right mood.  I also hear the audiobook is fantastic, so I think I’m going to try it that way.
  1. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo: I’ve heard mostly great things about this book, but also some negatives. I started it and wasn’t sure I liked the tone or the approach.  I’ve heard I should go back to it – what do you think?  Audio or print?
  1. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: I’ve heard so many great things about this book.  I started it as an audiobook, and I didn’t love the narrator.  I feel like this is a book I should give another try as a print version.
  1. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal: this is a story about three British sisters who travel to India at the request of their now-deceased mother. I was intrigued by the concept, and I love a good story about immigrants, family drama, and travel.  But this book started to feel both too melodramatic and too “cute” at the same time,  and I decided it wasn’t for me.

I’d love to hear any recommendations about books on this list I should continue with!


  4 comments for “Ten Books I Recently Abandoned

  1. May 15, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    I really enjoyed Queenie, but I’ve also seen pretty mixed reviews from other bloggers, so I’m not sure if I should recommend giving it another try. And I think a lot of people were disappointed by Writers and Lovers, even though it was really hyped!!

    • May 18, 2020 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Hannah. I’m not sure I gave either of them a fair chance, but I tend to give up on an audiobook earlier than would a print book. I’ve heard mostly good things about Queenie.

  2. May 16, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed Say Nothing, but it sure was heavy. And it’s hard to keep everybody straight. I would say, though, that the root of it wasn’t the religious differences. That was the tribal marker they used, but really it was about those two old standbys, colonialism and racism — and the accompanying centuries of oppression.

    • May 18, 2020 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Jean for the explanation. I definitely didn’t get far enough in to understand the complexity of the situation. I would like to go back to it at some point.

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