Booking Through Thursday – Read with Abandon?

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Today’s suggestion is from Cereal Box Reader

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

An abandoned book has been taunting me for almost six months now. That’s my fault, really, because I was fool enough to leave it out where I see it several times a day, so that I could keep deluding myself that I’d go back and finish it. I’ve heard and read so much praise of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, and I’ve found parts of it riveting. But it has backstory upon backstory, and it jumps around a lot – I’ve just found that tiring. I left it at the point where yet another backstory was introduced, because even though I do believe she’ll bring the threads together in the end, I was just out of patience with all the distractions.

I was in Starbucks with the book back in the spring, and the barista asked me what I thought of it; he said he’d been reading it too, and had a hundred pages left. He’d had them left for a year. I understand that now.

I really don’t abandon books very often, though. If I do, it’s usually for a reason like this – I just run of out patience. Sometimes it’s because it’s just not the right time for me to read it, or it isn’t really what I expected or wanted it to be. And sometimes – well, it’s just a poorly-written book.

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  1. I have the same book on my shelf half finished. I can’t make myself give-up on it but the narrative is lagging a bit too much for something that should be very exciting.

  2. Gautami – I do get torn over abandoning a book, but as I get older and my time seems more valuable, it’s getting easier.

    John Mutford – I haven’t read that; if it has a similar structure, I’d probably abandon it too.

    DM – I thought that too, and I blame the backstory :-). I need to talk to someone who’s actually finished this book, and let them make a case for why it’s worth it. (Looking at you, Alison!)

  3. I’ve finished the Historian, but really its probably not worth it. I kept going because I was interested to see where it goes but I really disliked the way it hopped around and I thought it was badly written. My advice would be – if you can’t carry on, don’t….

  4. The books I feel the most guilty about abandoning are the ones I want to try again some other time. I think the guilt comes in because I know that “some other time” may never come. I have no guilty feelings over abandoning the books I have no intention of finishing. By the time I get to the point of setting them down forever, I just don’t care.

  5. Literary Feline – I know what you mean. There are several books I’ve “set aside” but not officially given up on, and those are the ones that nag at me sometimes when I see them on the shelf, bookmark still in place where I left off.