As a general rule, I believe in seeing books through to completion. Some terrific books take a while to warm up to, and even bad books often have some redeeming qualities.
So for me, it’s really saying something to abandon a book mid-stream. When I do give up on a book, it’s usually because either: 1. The book is truly terrible, or 2. The timing is wrong.
I wish I kept better records of the books I started (as opposed to completed) in 2012, but these are the books I know I abandoned. This doesn’t count the ones I’ve completely forgotten about, were so bad I’ve blocked them from my memory, or the abandoned book graveyard known as My Kindle.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, Cheryl Strayed.
I heard rave reviews from readers with good taste, but I only made it to page 40. The trouble started right at the beginning, as Strayed watched her mom die of cancer. Because of my personal history, I hate cancer books (though I adored A Homemade Life, which began with a similar story).
Wild reminded me of Julie Powell’s (of Julie and Julia fame) Cleaving, a truly terrible book that I should have abandoned, but instead stuck with through the sad, sorry, never-should-have-been-published end. (For pure entertainment value, read the Amazon reviews of Cleaving, such as, “where insecurity and narcissism converge.” I concur.)
The Irrational Season, Madeline L’Engle.
This is the second book of L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journals. I love the first installment, A Circle of Quiet, so much that I read it three times this year. But every time I turn my eyes towards volume 2 my pace slows to a crawl and I stall out around page 30. Maybe one day I’ll summon the resolve to make it through. In the meantime, I’m enjoying Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices.
Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer.
This quirky, offbeat novel about the Holocaust sounded right up my alley and was recommended by fellow bookworms with excellent taste. I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t hang on long enough to get to the heart of the plot. I suspect this novel was a victim of bad timing on my end. Maybe I’ll try again in 2013?
At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bill Bryson.
I love books about cities, architecture, and the way we live. I adore A Pattern Language. I’ve devoured every book by Jane Jacobs and Witold Rybczynski. But I couldn’t make myself care about this one enough to keep turning the pages when there are so many other great books to read. Maybe because I felt like I’d read it all already?
What books did you abandon in 2012?