Monday, October 25, 2010

Recent DNFs, mostly abandoned because I'm a moody reader

Before I dive into book reviews for the week, I've decided to go ahead and describe a few books I Did Not Finish (DNF'd in the current slang) and share why they ended up abandoned.

Please bear in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these books, even if I mention something specific that stopped my reading. I simply have been trying my best not to allow myself to sink back into a slump and the best way to do that, I've found, is to simply abandon anything that isn't grabbing me like crazy. All of the following titles will get a second chance. I have not abandoned them permanently; they simply either weren't right for the moment or require greater focus than I was willing to devote to them.

The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart is a book I intended to take along with me to London, for obvious reasons. As it turned out, the book didn't make the final cut when I was choosing vacation reads. And, then I ended up falling into bed exhausted the moment I'd doctored my feet with sticking plasters and antibiotic ointment (oops . . . bad shoe story that makes me blush) in London. So, it's likely I wouldn't have gotten to the book anyway.

However, I did eventually pick The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise up; and, it was just not the right book for the moment. At the time, I recall thinking I really wanted to read something suspenseful and taut, instead.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan is a totally different story, when it comes to Novel Abandonment Issues. When I picked the book up, it captured me so thoroughly that I couldn't put it down. I read about 100-150 pages in the first sitting. And, then I got busy and didn't read any more for about a week. When I picked up the book, again, I'd forgotten enough of what was going on to totally mess up the fun.

I became frustrated because of that gap between readings and opted to set Of Bees and Mist aside till later. Obviously, this particular case of Did Not Finish was my own darned fault. Like many books that I set aside for stupid reasons, Of Bees and Mist is one that I think deserved my full attention. It's a book I plan to return to when I can devote myself fully to the reading.

Solitary by Travis Thrasher had the misfortunate of hitting the top of the pile when I was still in the midst of my reading slump. I read about 50 pages or so and it didn't seem like anything was happening. But, I'm not sure if that was really the case, since I was in such a "grab me or I toss you" mood, at the time.

Maybe it just wasn't the right book for the moment. It's a YA suspense and I typically love suspense. But, almost nothing was grabbing me, during the week I happened to pick up Solitary. I set aside so many books that week that I can't even remember what all I abandoned. Solitary stands out in my mind because I was looking forward to it and kind of ticked at myself for not being able to get into it.

Wicked Company by Ciji Ware is my most recently abandoned book. I think it may be the fact that it's not only a chunkster but pretty dense-looking chunkster that's putting me off, in spite of the fact that I love Ciji Ware's writing and actually have enjoyed what I read. It's one thing to enjoy the writing and another to want to pick a book up, every time you sit down. This one simply isn't calling out to me, at the moment, but it's about a young playwright who is female, "a love story, and a compelling glimpse into what life was like for a strong and independent-minded woman in an emphatically man's world."

I know I'll come back to this one, hopefully very soon.

In other news:

I dropped off 30 books at the library, this weekend (donations) and checked out 4 DVDs. I intended to watch Northanger Abbey, last night, but discovered I'd ended up with an older version and I really was hoping to watch the Andrew Davies version. So, I turned that off and watched The Student Prince with Robson Green, instead.

Isabel says, "Females love a man who reads."

I did watch "The Making of Pride & Prejudice" (the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version) and the Jane Austen bio by Biography, today. More on those, later.

Just walked in:

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce - The story of a 12-year-old boy who looks like he's about 30 and cons his way into a special civilian space flight for kids . . . as the adult chaperone. The cover flap describes the book as "a funny and touching story of the many ways in which grown-upness is truly wasted on grown-ups." Doesn't that sound fun?

Pre-slam announcement:

Before I bury you in book reviews, I need to make two disclaimers:

  • I'm only planning to bury you in book reviews. I don't know whether or not it'll actually work out, since I'm as moody in my writing as I am at reading.
  • If it does work out, there should be about 8-10 reviews posted by the end of the week. But . . . who knows if that'll happen. If I do succeed, I promise I'll take a break after I'm done. The idea is to catch up, not to kill my readers. Aren't you grateful that I care?

How was your weekend?

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  1. You're awesome. I love how you are so upfront about your DNF books. I am like you and found myself abandoning several books recently and it does seem like it's my fault this time. Each book is something I want to remember and come back to, just not right now. Now, that aside, what makes it different when I get sucked in right away?? Is it the book or is it me - - the eternal conundrum that every author wishes they had the answer to.

    Thanks for sharing what you left behind as well as what's ahead. I think I might try that myself. I might feel like I'm getting something done besides school work.

    Have fun!
    (PS - I loved Fiona Friday this last week!)

  2. I've had more DNFs this year - I think I've just gotten better about walking away from books that I'm not enjoying, which explains the fact that most of the books I've finished this year have been 3-star reads and higher.

    Looking forward to all your reviews!

  3. Oh, I hope you share more about a "Making of Pride and Prejudice" that you can watch -- I've only found the book that you can read! And while searching (unsuccessfully) for what you watched, I discovered that Pride and Prejudice has been completely restored to HD Bluray -- hooray!

  4. Say it ain't so about The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise - I'm hoping to fall in love with that book.

  5. Inside a Book,

    I just wrote a big old reply and then accidentally erased it. Raspberries to me. So, where was I? Ahem.

    Haha. Thanks for calling me "awesome". You've just given me my warm fuzzy for . . . well, probably the month. LOL Isn't it fascinating how a book can suck you in, one day, and another time it's just not right for you at all? I don't know why that is, but I can tell you that there are some books that took three attempts for me to get into and then turned out to be favorites (Great Expectations is one of them). For that reason, a book has to really turn me off in some way or strike me as totally not my thing in order to not earn a second chance.

    Oh, do write about your DNFs. It never ceases to amaze me how interesting it can be to read about why a book was abandoned. I guess it's a nice change of pace from reviews.

    Thank you! I had such fun watching the kitties play with that box. It was such a hoot!


    I've found that's true for me, too -- when I start granting myself permission to move on, I find that I enjoy my reading much more and rate the books higher (or more highly recommend them). It's good to know you're not trembling in fear of the coming avalanche of reviews. LOL


    Oh, yes, I'll post about the Jane videos I've watched. Today was rather an all-Jane day. After the bio and the "making of", I watched the Rupert Penry-Jones version of Persuasion, so I'll devote a post to all three when I've knocked out that ridiculous review backlog!

    I acquired a remaindered 10th-anniversary edition of P&P (book, entire Firth/Ehle series and extras) online, so it may no longer be available. But, it's such a classic that I'd imagine it'll be re-released in some form. Maybe the blu-ray version will have the extras?

  6. Ok...I'm absolutely in love with the cover of that first book :D It's just so adorable!! Has to be something decent about that book ;) And Bees and Mist just SOUNDS really good. And I really like the cover of that one too.

    Ooooh and I'm looking at your sidebar and speaking of covers, can't wait to hear your review of The Reapers are the Angels...cover looks good and creepy.

    Love the picture of Izzy on the tv :p What a cute and curious little kitty.

  7. Kathy,

    I'm still hoping to fall in love with The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise, too. It just wasn't the right moment. I'll give it another go, when the mood strikes me!


    Isn't that a cute cover (The Tower, etc.)? Of Bees and Mist is really quite magical and likely right up your alley. Like I said, I loved what I read . . . I just waited too long between readings. Such a ridiculous reason to abandon a book, but I hate back-tracking. I'd rather restart later than reread something I've recently read. Okay, that sounds even stupider. I think you'd like Of Bees and Mist, though.

    The Reapers Are The Angels is good and creepy and you need to check your email, fella, because I'm sure I already told you it's one you must read. Okay, okay, I know you're a busy boy. ;)

    Izzy just came in, said hello to me, clawed her little scratchy pad and left. She's a doll. I think it's official: I am, in fact, a crazy cat lady if being crazy about your cats is all it takes to qualify. LOL She was hilarious, walking around and around the screen, batting at Robson Green and then climbing up and over the books, nearby!

  8. Anonymous11:06 PM

    The little illustrations in The Tower, etc. were just about the best part of the book. While I liked the story, and it's quirks, it still wasn't what I was expecting, and I think you have to be in a mood to completely appreciate it. Although what kind of mood I'm really not sure.

  9. Miz Fizz,

    Well, I'm glad to know you liked The Tower, etc! Who knows what the right kind of mood is for any book. It's all so very individual, isn't it? I just know that I'm happier if I let my moods rule, when it comes to reading.

  10. Apparently Isabel thinks every tv show would be better if they had more cats in them. I concur. :)

  11. Kookie!!

    Well, yes, all TV could be improved with the addition of cats. But, Isabel did seem to have a thing for Robson Green-with-book. LOL It was pretty funny. :)

  12. I, for one, appreciate it when people are up front about not finishing a book. Honest reviews, of any kind are so important. And if you don't like it? For heaven's sake, set it aside! Life is too short to read books we don't like.

  13. Holly,

    I so agree with that. Life is far too short to read bad books -- although, none of those I DNF'd were bad! They just weren't right for the moment, in this case. Truly, my reading has been so much more enjoyable since I granted myself permission to set books aside.

    I used to not write DNF posts because I thought doing so might be cruel to authors, but then I realized not finishing isn't necessarily a negative thing; it just means this particular reader didn't happen to finish a book *this* time. Most books I ditch still get a second chance because I'm moody and I know it. There are books that I've attempted 3 times before they clicked. Wild, isn't it?

  14. So...Good to know that it's you and not the books...I guess?

    After reading The Hunger Games, it's been a bit hard for me to get really engrossed in anything besides graphic novels. That often happens to me after really engaging books, so I'm reading a few at once right now...but I find myself saying, oh, let's see what's going on in the blogosphere, rather than reading any of them.

  15. J.T.,

    Well, I'm not thrilled that it's me, but it does mean I still have some books that are worth a second chance so I guess that's good!

    Ah, yes, that's often what happens to me. I'll find distractions if I'm not thrilled with anything I'm reading. In that case, I'll often dump everything I'm reading and start an entirely new set. It usually gets me back to reading (not always -- I'm a fickle thing).


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