Friday, December 18, 2009

Unfinished Friday

Marie at The Boston Bibliophile is testing out an idea for a new book meme - Unfinished Friday. Here's how she describes it:

I know most of us endeavor to finish everything we read, but we don't have to, and sometimes it's impossible- it just doesn't work for us, for one reason or another. But it's still possible to get some mileage out of that work for your blog- by sharing it with us here on Fridays!

I really like the idea behind this meme, for a couple of reasons. First it allows me to give my opinion of a book that didn't resonate with me without having to write a full blown review. I'm not interested in writing lengthy reviews of books I didn't like, especially if I didn't finish them. Secondly, for those of you who look at my Goodreads widget and notice what I'm reading and what books I've given low star ratings to, now you'll have a way to know if I read the whole book and didn't like it or if I abandoned it early on because it didn't appeal to me. And thirdly, it serves as a way for others to have a realistic gauge of my Books Read This Year widget, because I include all books there, even those that I didn't finish .

Recently, I've been in a real book slump. It seems as though nearly every book I pick up, I abandon early on. This is a bit unusual for me. The idea behind this meme is to update your unfinished books every week, but since the meme is new I'm going to update for the last two months - especially in the light of the fact that my books have been dropping like flies recently.

So far in December I've given up on two books:

The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault - A mystery that takes place in the offices of a dictionary publisher. Two lexicographer's find clues to a mystery hidden in the citation files for new words. It sounded intriguing and it was mildly interesting. I got about half way through this one and I might have finished it, but a book I was anxious to read finally came in at the library.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - I've seen this book come up on numerous lists and decided to give it a try. It takes place in France, which was interesting and it involves two quirky characters who live in the same apartment building. One a middle aged concierge the other an intelligent and sensitive 12 year old girl. I gave up on this one because the writing was so pretentious I couldn't stomach it. Yuck!

In November, I gave up on:

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan - The latest Oprah book. I don't usually pay attention to Oprah picks, but this one sounded promising. I liked the idea of stories of hardship and poverty as told through the eyes of children. Depressing, I know. But a child's perspective could be enlightening (think Slumdog Millionaire). Anyway, it wasn't what I was expecting. The stories did not move me in any way. I kept waiting for one to be over so I could see if the next one was better. I finally gave up after 2 or 3.

A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Anonymous (actually Marta Hillers) - This book was originally published anonymously and was the diary kept by a female German journalist (Hillers) during WWII. It chronicles the living conditions, sights and sounds of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion. I found it terribly repetitive and uninspired as a "story".

And just because I'm completely anal, here is the list of the other books I started and left unfinished so far in 2009:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Gone Tomorrow by P.F. Kluge
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

So do you have a book you haven't finished that you'd like to tell us about? You can leave a comment here and also at The Boston Bibliophile.


foxy said...

You know, I won't let myself trudge through a book just for the sake of finishing it. There are far too many other books out there for that! I can't even remember the name of the last book that I was unable to finish, but it was definitely one of those "smart" books. But smart or not, I just couldn't get into it. It was awful.

Cheers to you! And thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogworld! ;)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I like this new meme. I'm such a stickler for finishing a book. For some reason it seems I can't list it if I don't finish it. You've made me realize how silly that is.

Seems so many books out there, right now, by many of my favorite authors, stink. Thanks for this post.

tori said...

I know we already talked about this but one of the books (or series) I didn't finish was Twilight. My teenage daughter begged me to read them. I made it through the first two (torture-pure torture and only because she kept saying it got better) and finally gave up on number three. I tend to keep my opinions to myself because I have found the frenzy over these books causes a strange loyality that could bring bodily harm if you say anything negative. Proof that we all have different tastes...

Marie said...

Nice :-) I want to read The Broken Teaglass and I can understand your issues with Elegance. Thanks for joining in and welcome aboard! :-)

Ginger said...

It's actually very helpful to know what books not to read! I am often overwhelmed by the selection. I did just finish a good one, though - Night After Day by Anita Diamant. She wrote The Red Tent, if that helps.

I hope you're having a fantastic week!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea.

I always try to finish my books but every once in awhile I find one that I just can't finish.

Happy SITS Saturdays Sharefest!

MissKris said...

I'll add Pat Conroy's "South of Broad" to your list. What a disappointment that was! I slogged my way thru maybe 50 pages of it and couldn't take it any more. I skimmed thru the last 50 or so pages of "Geometry of Sisters" by LuAnne Rice this was an ok book but I lost patience with it towards the end. Get it OVER with, ya know? The story line got to be a drag line.

Tina said...

Pam...I forced myself to finish Hedgehog, but I sure wouldn't do it again. Also thanks for the heads up on Broken Teaglass-- I think I'll pass on that one.

Right now I'm on the fence about picking two I abandoned earlier this year: "Cutting for Stone" - I got about 1/3 thru it, and "Shadow of the Wind". I've not seen anybody say they didn't like it, so i'm going to try them one at a time after the New Year, and see what happens.

Karen said...

That sounds like a cool meme.

The only book I've really abandoned in the last while was Dune. I just couldn't get into it.


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