Back when I first started blogging, I tracked my abandoned books. That year (2008), I abandoned three, and I remember each of them because I mini-reviewed them. As my reading pace skyrocketed, I mostly stopped reviewing abandoned books. Periodically, I’d write about books I abandoned when I felt that they needed blog-time, even if they didn’t work for me. This year, I decided to do something a little different. If I abandoned a book (not the same as previewing and deciding not to read), I would track it on Goodreads. If I abandoned the book after the 50% mark, I’d save it up for mini-review at the end of the year, because I feel those books still deserve blog time, even if they didn’t quite work for me. Someone else might love them!! So, in order of when I read them, these are my abandoned books of 2015:
1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – I started this one near the beginning of the year, loving the idea of a project to increase happiness in a time when I was personally very miserable. I read about half the book, and while it wasn’t bad, I didn’t feel like this was the kind of project I needed.
2. Cold Magic by Kate Elliott – I’d had this book for years, and the beginning of it was fascinating. I loved the idea of a temperature-based magic system, and the situation the narrator is immediately put into. After about 350 of 500+ pages, I was really frustrated. Every chapter seemed to involve a long backstory that interrupted the action, and the action seemed like a continuous cat-and-mouse game. By the time I got to 350 pages, I decided this one wasn’t for me.
3. Painless by SA Harazin – Fascinating premise about a teen with a disorder, unable to feel pain, and therefore always in danger. He’s trying to learn how to live like a normal person, rather than being committed to a home. The writing and characterization, unfortunately, didn’t work for me, but I kept reading it for a long time because the idea was so interesting.
4. Dietland by Sarai Walker (audio) – I probably listened to about 90% of this book. I loved the beginning, but the satire sections, with the militant feminist group (involving torture and rape and all sorts of brutal things) made me very uncomfortable. And while uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing in literature, I discovered that the book was having the opposite of its intended effect on me. Instead of feeling like I should embrace and love myself without regards to social expectations, I felt compelled to work as hard as possible to fit into those expectations. This is not where my priorities lie this year!
5. The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida – This one wasn’t bad, but after about 75% of it, I realized I could put it down and never pick it up again, and it wouldn’t bother me to not know how it ended. Honestly, months later, I don’t even remember what this one was about. I think there was a movie star in it… However, I do know it was reputed to be a literary exploration of identity, and I expect that others would love it.
6. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (audio) – I really wanted to love this story collection. I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and I knew these stories were set in the same world and sometimes featured the same characters. I couldn’t get into the print version (didn’t help that my copy smelled strongly of mold), and I made it through nearly all the stories on audio. I didn’t really enjoy any of them, though, and gave up. Partly, though, I wonder if this was just my mood. It was during my September slump. I won’t rule out coming back to these another time. After all, Clarke has proven herself the master of the comeback.
7. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – I adored this one when I began it. The world-building was awesome. I loved so much of it. Then my September slump interfered (again), and I didn’t read anything for a few weeks. When I returned, I was less interested. I noticed some issues with the world-building and characterization. I saw that it was the first of seven books in a series. I was literally 60 pages from the end when I gave it up, and I have no regrets. Again, just not for me.
8. The Marvels by Brian Selznick – While I loved Hugo Cabret, this book by Selznick didn’t work for me. I loved the first half, that was all illustration, but once the illustrations disappeared and there was a long block of text for 210 pages, I was bored. I wasn’t interested in that particular story, and while there was part of me that wished I knew the text story so that I could go on to the end of the book (all illustration again), it wasn’t strong enough to keep me reading. I wish this had been more integrated rather than segmented.
9. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (audio) – I think this was a combination of me expecting the book to be something it wasn’t (cultural/sociological humor vs how Kaling got into comedy writing) and me not being a huge fan of TV or comedy shows. The audiobook is four disks long and I quit this one halfway through the third. It was funny at times, but I didn’t know any of the shows or actors/actresses/writers/etc she was talking about, so I personally found it hard to engage with the book. Totally recommended for people who know much more about TV than me, though!
So those were my abandoned in 2015. I hope some of them work much better for all of you guys than they did for me!!