Abandoned Books…

abandoned-bookAbandoned books? I know, appalling for someone who’s barmy about books.  But I admit it, I sometimes don’t finish books – even those well-reviewed best sellers thrust upon me by bookish friends or praised by other book bloggers.  And it’s happening more and more often as I get older — you know the so little time, so many books theory.    The 50 page rule prevails — I’ll give any book at least 50 pages before I put it down…sometimes more.  This cold rejection of an author’s herculean effort always tears me apart a little bit.  But, I’ve been told I’m too sensitive.  So I’ll just pull up my big girl panties and give you a rundown of the books I’ve abandoned recently.


51Vu-F8bxOLThe Little Paris Bookshop:  This just seemed the perfect book for me.  What’s not to embrace?  A bookshop on a boat — in Paris — and just look at that cover.  But I found it just too whimsical and sticky-sweet.  I struggled on, actually reaching chapter 28 – as the bookshop owner pilots his boat away from its long-time berth in Paris.   But, just as the bookshop/boat meanders down the Seine, so too the plot – to the point where I practically fell into a sugar-laced coma.




51IyLG-dL5LI eagerly opened Wild wanting the adventure it advertised, a broken hearted woman sets off, totally unprepared, to hike the Pacific Coast Trail.  I read ten chapters into this one, but I found her grief unbelievably extreme, so raw she seemed broken beyond what a hike (or sex along the way) could solve.  Her lack of emotional maturity, simply put — bored me.   N.B. The author has written the complete opposite of a book, Dear Sugar which I am dipping into and so far, I’m very moved by it, so stay tuned.


J5LI place Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s first book The Shadow of the Wind  on my list of all time favorite books.  Set in a Barcelona bookstore with many secrets, I lost myself in that novel for many days. So, I had expectations that the second book in this series – The Angel’s Game – would carry on the magic.  But this book is dark and very different with weird supernatural elements. I read through pages of violence and disturbing psychological ugliness. It seemed the author was angry with this writing – as he punches the reader with unresolved hard truths and unflinching observations.  In the end, what made me quit reading, was the many, many characters (and some with multiple personae)  — I just got plain confused. I was never sure what was going on in the convoluted story line and kept having to flip back and forth to see if I could figure out which character was which.  So with a slight headache, I took an aspirin and went to bed without a backward glance.


513BtSEHi7LI’ve had Nothing Daunted for several years now and keep doggedly trying to get through it. Just read this blurb:

The acclaimed and captivating true story of two restless society girls who left their affluent lives to “rough it” as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916.

The reviews were wonderful, I was hearing about this book everywhere. And you got to  love the cover, with before and after photos of the actual subjects?  The introduction is just as enticing, as the author describes coming across a folder of her mother’s forgotten letters from this adventurous time in Colorado. The author has penned an historical work, which is comprehensive, but not compelling enough to keep this reader enthralled.   The landscape of the area and time period are well written.  But there is no emotion written into this account and the characters are one-dimensional.  The author had to obviously imagine parts of the story, why not insert some emotions as well?   Sadly, as exciting as these two women’s personal experiences must have been – their story suffers from a dull and dry telling.  Like ordering a beautifully described, but disappointing meal in a restaurant, I finally gave up and put it aside unfinished.


51T46MvBZQLI read The Dinner by Dutch writer Herman Koch, when it was a bestseller.  It’s a masterfully crafted psychological novel with the evil incident revealing itself largely by dialogue around a restaurant dinner. (Read it – it will grab you and not let you go.)  So, once again I had expectations of a similar read with his second book Summer House with Swimming Pool.  What happened to Mr. Koch’s writing?  Where is his craft?  This book, written entirely in the third person, lacked any plot as of five chapters in and the main character, whose revolting thoughts and dreary ramblings we must endure, is entirely unlikable. With The Dinner, the reader could relate and even empathize with the protective parents.  This follow-up has none of that soul or depth.  It is almost as if Mr. Koch dusted off one of his earlier writing attempts and the publisher ran with it.


mLI had great hope for this glowingly reviewed memoir wherein a woman adopts and trains a Goshawk for falconry.  (I had my own, albeit limited, experience helping injured hawks back to the wild — but that’s another post).  Mabel, the hawk and her training is said to be a remedy for the death of her father, but that connection is never fully developed or understood. Why a mean-spirited hawk – why not a kitten or a dog?   Ms. MacDonald started to loose me as she details her poor raptor’s “training” in a tiny apartment with some less than humane activities.  H is for Hawk has some beautiful writing, especially when Mable’s training moves out into the open British countryside.  But, I set the book aside and let it gather dust when Ms. MacDonald’s writing became tedious over her obsession with the deceased author (and even more heartless falconer) T.H. White.


51Loetvs5xLI loaded  Hausfrau onto my Kindle for our trip to Switzerland, as it takes place in and around Zurich. So I settled in to read about a bored ex-pat housewife coping with a new culture as I traveled through the same country.  Anna is privileged, bored and frustrated.  She takes no interest in her husband or his work.  Her mother-in-law cares for her house and children.  Anna (even after 9 years) hasn’t bothered to learn the language or tried to assimilate. She can find no redeeming qualities in the Swiss culture or people.   So naturally, she turns to meaningless sex with a series of English-speaking men. (Even the sex scenes were boring).  An Anna Karenina character, but without class.  That’s when I closed the book  — but only after I’d mentally slapped her.


There you go, my pile of abandoned books, most of which were gladly donated to the library. Let them find a reader who will appreciate them and give them rave reviews.

Not to worry, I’m into some great reading with nothing abandoned for now.

What books could you not finish?


1 Comment

  1. katie jane
    Nov 14, 2015

    Ha, I really enjoyed Wild but can’t stand her Dear Sugar writing–I’ve found people tend to resonate with one or the other!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *