The Books That Didn’t Make It

In recent years, I’ve learned to stop reading a book when I don’t like it. I used to keep going out of principle, but then I realized that I didn’t have time to read all the books I want to so why should I keep reading something I didn’t want to?

After all, I’m not reading these books for school. This is supposed to be for fun.

In 2017, I decided to keep a list of every book I abandoned and why. It’s the first year I’ve done that.

Abandoned books in Pripyat, Ukraine. Photo by Magalie L'Abbé, 2011, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

I walked away from 17 books. Some are probably favorites of yours. Some I felt horrible about putting down – they were supposed to be good and came highly recommended.

I don’t remember all of these books and the short notes I took on why I stopped reading may not be all that insightful.

Some of the books may have been better than I thought, and maybe reading them at a different time in the year or in different circumstances would have put them on the list of completed books instead of the abandoned.

Here’s my list of the unfinished. What books made you close the covers never to return? Or do you force yourself to stick with everything you start?

  1. I Am No One – Patrick Flanery: way too much description instead of action
  2. Razor Girl – Carl Hiaasen: not my style
  3. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeline Thien: boring style
  4. The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things – Courtney Elizabeth Mauk: bad writing, but it stopped me trying to read the free monthly books on Kindle
  5. Welcome to Night Vale – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor: I wanted to like this so much, but it didn’t grab me
  6. Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George: it turned into a bad romance novel
  7. The Mirror Thief – Martin Seay: it just got boring
  8. Shelter in Place – Alexander Maksik: flash over substance
  9. All Our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai: too clever
  10. The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Potzsch and Lee Chadeayne: kept losing momentum
  11. Fantasy Fiction Formula – Deborah Chester: I even bought this one, but I started disagreeing with the author too much
  12. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams: Another I really wanted to love, but I couldn’t find a plot to grab me
  13. My Absolute Darling – Gabriel Tallent: bored
  14. Everfair – Nisi Shawl: The 1-3 year time jumps between chapters made it hard to get attached to characters or plots
  15. Last Days of New Paris – China Mieville: too disjointed to follow the beginning; maybe try again?
  16. War Paint – Lindy Woodhead: inconsistent writing
  17. The Berlin Project – Gregory Benford: too dry

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