Friday Book Chats: My Abandoned Books-shelf

This post is dedicated to those books that I’ve never been able to finish, but still sort of want to someday. Books I abandoned because I didn’t have enough time to invest, because I just couldn’t get into them, or because they were due back at the library and I had maxed out my renewals. I’ve read enough of these books that I like to pretend that I’ve read them, but I’m confessing today that I’ve never made it all the way through any of them.

There is a list of Kindle books that are currently on sale at the bottom of this post. These are books I personally recommend or that are on my to-read list. Kindles are actually on sale as well for the month of March, so if you’ve been thinking of purchasing one, this is a great time. The base model (which is a touch screen) is only $59.

hearbreaking A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I feel really awful about this one. Partly because I’ve started it four times, including once as an audio book and I’ve never even made it halfway. But mostly because my dear friend, Rachel, actually loaned me her copy of this years ago and I TOTALLY STOLE IT and then never finished reading it! (Hangs head in shame). I now have this on my kindle because I don’t have my enormous book collection in Korea with me and I got it on sale once thinking this would force me to read it. But I still haven’t. I honestly think I will really like it when I make it all the way through, but something has stopped me every time. This is an autobiographical novel based on the events of Eggers’ life, becoming and orphan and parent to his 8-year-old brother at the age of 22 when both of his parents died within 5 months of each other.

The_Casual_Vacancy The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I got this from the library after being on the waiting list for approximately 7 million months. I only had two weeks to read it because you can’t renew a book that other people are waiting for. This was during a time in my life when I didn’t have as much reading time as I do now and it’s pretty long and frankly, it just wasn’t that compelling. I could have bought it at some point after returning it to the library or tried to borrow it again, but I never went back to it. I stopped about halfway through. This was Rowling’s first adult novel and is about small town politics in a village where a parish council seat has opened up due to the unexpected death of the councilman. I enjoyed Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mysteries (written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) very much, but this one just didn’t hold my attention so well. I’d still like to finish it someday, but it’s not a priority.

atonement Atonement by Ian McEwan. I enjoyed the movie version of this book but have never been able to get past the first third when reading. I don’t know if it moves too slowly or if it’s because I already know the story and am not compelled by curiousity to keep reading and find out what happens next. I’ve tried reading the book twice and listening to the audio book once, but I’ve failed every time. Atonement tells the story of 13-year-old Briony Tallis who witnesses a crime in 1934 that her immaturity and precociousness cause her to misinterpret and embellish. The story tells about the repercussions of this crime through WWII and beyond.

short history A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Despite the title’s claim, this history is not so short. The length was the primary reason I didn’t make it through this one, but I also attribute it to reading it during a period of my life where I didn’t read a lot of non-fiction. Although Bryson is a fantastic and engaging writer, compared to the novels I’d been reading, it was dry and hard to stick with. I’m really interested in picking this up again now that I read and appreciate non-fiction so much more. I’ve found that I’ve become much more interested in non-fiction since finishing school and seeing it as a form of continuing education. As the title suggests, this book is about origins – the beginning of the universe, of time, of humanity, and of civilization.

storm of swords A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones #3). I’ve actually been on-board with Game of Thrones since high school, long before the television series was even on the horizon. But I only read the first one at the time (and there were only 3 published then). Since I was still in high school and very sheltered some of the sex and violence was just too much for me and I decided not to continue the series. Fast forward to when everyone and their mother is watching/reading Game of Thrones. I decided to pick it back up since I was a less sensitive reader at this point and I had really enjoyed the first one. The second book was decent, but by the time I got to this one, it just drags on FOREVER. It feels so unnecessarily long and I just don’t think the writing is that good. The story keeps getting more and more convoluted, which in my opinion is not necessarily a good thing, and I just got to the point where I didn’t want to spend any more time on it. I abandoned it mid-Book-3 and decided I’d either come back to it or just watch the show and catch up. I haven’t done either yet.

What’s on your abandoned books-shelf? 

Current Kindle Deals

Again, Kindle devices are on sale for the month of March starting at $59.

*As of March 6th. I use the US Amazon site. Prices may vary on other sites.

New on sale this week:

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins ($6.49) This is the lowest price I’ve ever seen this new release. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s recommended for fans of Gone Girl

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou ($3.99)

The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver ($4.99) One of my favorite writers. Kentucky native Taylor Greer tries to escape her roots but succeeds in collecting a 3-year-old native American girl along the way.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell ($4.99) I haven’t read this but am told fans of Eleanor & Park will enjoy this one as well.

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor ($3.99)

Still on sale from last week:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee ($3.99)

 Mistborn– The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson  ($4.99) This is the first book in Sanderson’s Mistborn fantasy trilogy. I’m currently reading this.

Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer, Micha Boyett ($3.03) One of my best books of 2014 and one of my favorite spiritual memoirs.

Girl Meets GodLauren Winner ($1.99)  I read Winner’s more recent book Still last month (review here) and am now curious to read this book, which tells the story of her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity.

Looking for AlaskaJohn Green ($2.80) This is the author who wrote The Fault in Our Stars. Read my review here.

Paper TownsJohn Green ($3.99) I haven’t read this one, but wanted to include it for John Green fans who might like to pick it up.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green ($2.99) So good, but read with tissues.

Me Before YouJoJo Moyes ($2.99) Ambitionless twenty-six year old Louise loses her job and takes a temporary position as a caretaker for a 35 year old quadripalegic who challenges her to live life on a grander scale. This is a quick read, but not a particularly light one.  Be warned that you’ll need Kleenex.

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd ($3.99). There’s a reason this book is so popular. It’s great.

Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell ($4.99)  One of my new favorite young adult novels. So sweet.

Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss ($4.99) I’ve already talked about this like 7 times, but if you need a refresher, read the blurb on this post.

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern ($4.99) I adore this book.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you use a link to make a purchase a small percentage of your purchase will go towards supporting this site. This does not affect the price of the items in any way. 

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26 comments

  1. Love it! I tried Casual Vacancy, too, and couldn’t finish. I also own the Game of Throne books and started the first one, but I kept getting confused by the bajillion characters and I ended up putting it down. I hope to try it again someday. I also tried to read Lauren Winner’s Real Sex and didn’t get much farther than chapter two. Girl Meets God was her gem for sure. There have been a couple of YA books I’ve ended up putting down because I just couldn’t get into them (Cress and the last book in the Gemma Doyle series). And I know we’ve talked about this before, but I almost didn’t make it through Jesus Feminist! I pushed through, though, and I’m glad I did, even though I still think the book was mis-marketed. I am back to reading Sarah Bessey’s blog again! Also, I had to read Ulysses (James Joyce) for a grad lit class. Fortunately the prof also made us buy a companion to the book – it wasn’t Cliff Notes or anything, deeper than that, but I pretty much just read that and didn’t get through the actual book Ulysses.

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    1. I haven’t tried Lauren Winner’s Real Sex but I was disappointed by Still. I’m curious about her new book though – I keep holding out hope! So, you couldn’t get through Cress but you like the previous books in the Lunar Chronicles didn’t you? I’ve just bought Cinder on sale a few days ago but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m glad you are back to Sarah Bessey’s blog. I think she’s such a good blogger. And I never had to read Ulysses but I also have no desire to because I know I would give up right away, haha. My husband is especially interested in reading and writing books that can be both literary AND entertaining. We talk a lot about why it is that if a book is entertaining it’s sort of automatically frowned upon by literary critics and the books that receive the most prestigious acclaim are technically sound, but often just boring. I want to read quality books, but I’m not going to force myself to read really boring things just so it seems like I have high-brow taste. 😉

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  2. We have some choices in common. I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but I had to make myself grind through it. It felt like Eggers did a lot of posturing in that book. I also didn’t finish A Casual Vacancy. The book was quite dark, and that took me aback. You know, I think this dark undertone was present in much of the Harry Potter series, but it had those childish moments to act as a foil to the harder things in the books. I would like to try to read A Casual Vacancy again if only to relish Rowling’s facility with the language.
    I’m trying to read All the Light We Cannot See right now, and it’s a slog. I wish they would go ahead and get to the part where they see/don’t see the light. I will finish it, though.
    I loved the whole Game of Thrones series, but I thought there were only four novels. When I got about two hundred pages into the fourth book, I realized there was no way all of the loose ends would be tied up in the next two hundred pages. I had to wait two years for the fifth novel, and by then I’d lost some of my initial enthusiasm for the series.
    Oh, and I didn’t finish the Bryson book, either. It was science-y, and I got bored.

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    1. I am with you on all of these except for All the Light We Cannot See which I thought was just stunning. It isn’t fast-paced, but I didn’t find it to be a slow read because of the short sentences and chapters. It painted some beautiful images in my mind that stayed with me long after I finished the book. I hope by the time you finish you at least have an appreciation for the beauty of the language and the story, even if you continue to feel that it was too slow and took too long. :0

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  3. Wow, it’s a bit scary really. I have A Casual Vacancy and a short history of nearly everything on my list as well. I finished the 3rd Game of thrones book, but got stuck in the middle of the 4th.

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  4. Paper Towns is on one of my “have not finished” books. Partially because my heart wanted to read something else at the time I was reading Paper Towns. And another part of it was I felt disconnected from the characters to the point where i could put the book down for months and not think about them. That is really rare for a John Greene book. Usually his books pull me in to where I care about the Characters and want to know what happens to them. I’ve read The Fault of Our Starts 3 times and have read Looking for Alaska (great book), But have yet to get through Paper Towns.

    I am loving these Friday book chats! They keep me engaged and make me want to go home and read every time I read a post! I haven’t actually READ something not related to church in a long time- like for small group and such. I recently started re-reading Narnia Series though, just because I miss Aslan. Silly, right? I cannot wait to see him again… 😀

    I honestly haven’t heard of any of the books on your do not finish list, except for Game of Thrones books. I watched the tv series for 4 seasons and it was so wrought with sex and violence and rape that I had to discontinue it. You have such a large span of book knowledge! How did you gain this?!

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    1. I haven’t read (or attempted to read) Paper Towns, but I probably will someday. I’ve read only read The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. It’s true that so much can depend on where you’re at in life as you approach a particular book. Sometimes it’s just not the right thing for that particular time.
      I’m glad you’re loving the book chats! I wasn’t sure if they’d get boring after a while, but I’ve enjoyed doing them because books are something I’m passionate about but that don’t fit as neatly into some of my other kinds of posts. I feel like I’ve gotten into a nice rhythm with my adventure posts early in the week to share some of my life, something more reflective/faith-focused mid-week and then something book-related at the end of the week.
      I honestly have just always read a TON. In college I slowed down a bit on reading for fun, but I still done a ton of academic reading because I was an English major. Books are a shared interest for me and Jonathan and we like to read the same books and talk about them sometimes. And we like to read up on what new books are coming out, which books are winning awards, etc. Also, this certainly isn’t completely responsible, but it helps, we have actually never owned a TV. We would watch plenty of shows on our laptops, but since we don’t have the option to kind of flip through and watch whatever’s on it’s limited our TV watching to shows we actively want to watch and is slightly less of a time suck. So we spend more time reading. And since I’ve been out of school I’ve really broadened the genres I read – I’m more interested in non-fiction than I used to be and I enjoy the opportunity to continue learning things even though I am finished with my formal education. So, yeah….I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying it’s a hobby and a passion that’s accumulated over a lifetime. 🙂

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      1. I really like that!! I need to get back into reading, but ever since finishing the chronicles of Narnia, all i’ve wanted to do is reread them! Hey, now that i’m off fb do you have an email I can email you at? I MISS checking up on you and just seeing what you’re up to!

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      2. The Chronicles of Narnia are pretty great. And sure! My email address is lily.e.dunn at gmail.com (pretty straightforward, haha). I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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  5. I’m interested in what reading Girl Meets God will be like AFTER you’ve already read Still. Sort of a knowing-the-future as you hear her ponderings. Hope to hear your thoughts.

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    1. That’s true, I hadn’t thought of that. I wonder if it will change my experience of it. I feel like being a memoirist is risky in so many ways, but partly because you write something at a specific phase in your life and then you grow and change, people expect you to stay exactly like you were when you wrote the memoir. Seems that would be an extra challenge.

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  6. Oh dear, I think I would be afraid to actually catalogue the books that I either wanted to read and didn’t or started and didn’t finish. I just have less time to read these days….I used to be able to have 3-4 books on the go and have another 3-4 out from the library and finish them all in a month….. Sigh. I LOVED the first Game of Thrones book. And quite enjoyed 2 and 3. But I had to force myself to finish 4. It was just TOO depressing, and not enough Jon Snow. The whole “kill all the best characters” off thing was getting a bit old, I thought.

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    1. Haha. Well, I’m sure there have been many more books than that and my to-read list grows longer by the day! I also used to read 3 – 4 books at a time but find myself less able to do that these days. Or maybe just less interested in doing it? I usually want tp really dig into one instead of dividing my efforts. I will occasionally have a fiction book and some sort of more contemplative book that you’re meant to read in small segments going at the same time, but otherwise I read one at a time. And yes, I think George R.R. Martin starts to run out of ideas and then just kills people to provide drama. It’s kind of weird. 😉

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      1. It was shock value at first – and it worked! But I found it got tiresome and annoying.
        At minimum I have one fiction book and one non- fiction book going…plus whatever devotional type stuff I’m reading. Usually I have at least one other book on the go. For eg right now I’m reading Perelandra (CS Lewis), A Cast of Stones (Patrick Carr), Walking on Water (L’Engle), A Heart for Freedom (Ling) and A Slow Regard For Silent Things ((Rothfuss). And I’ve got a Relevant magazine lying around waiting….ack. Just listing them all makes me realize perhaps I read more than I think… 🙂

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      1. Haha, that’s very kind, but probably wouldn’t do me much good. 😉 Maybe it’s one of those books that gets better in translation and that’s why you liked it so much. Maybe we should all read it in Dutch. 🙂

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