Discussion Forums - Hidden Gems Hidden Gems

Topic: Tell Us About A Book You Gave Up On

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Tell Us About A Book You Gave Up On
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

This topic is the opposite of a "Hidden Gem". What is the last book you started but did not finish? Why? Do you give a book a certain number of pages and then decide it's not worth the time? Do you always finish a book?


Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

I've given up on one book in the past 8 months: Reading Lolita in Tehran. It was just not appealing to me and I kept falling asleep every time I picked it up or found my mind wandering. I gave it 80 pages and gave up. I liked the premise but the writing seemed "monotone" and did not hold my interest.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
Back To Top

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. 

It just wasn't for me. I hated the narrative voice. It's supposedly a great book, but I just couldn't finish it.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,290
Back To Top

Loving Frank - It was about the mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright.  It had been a wish list book of mine for so long and I was so excited to get it and read it. 

I was extremely dissappointed.  The book had no passion in it.  It was like the couple met (were both married to other people), talked a few times and then boom...they were lovers!  I was hoping for some passion, some longing, some romance, some kind of spark.  I put the book down about 75% of the way through and just haven't been able to bring myself to read it again. While the author certainly did research about Frank Lloyd Wright she did not do a good job at illustrating this couples relationship.  I found it highly unbelievable and more of a convenience than a romance. 

I usually give a book about 100 pages before I give up on it.  I mean, if a book can't capture me in 100 pages then I really don't want to waste my time with it.  I gave Loving Frank way more time than I should have.  I kept hoping it would get better....but it didn't.

Last Edited on: 3/10/09 10:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

I can't walk away from a book- its something I'm kind of OCD about.  But I almost did twice- the two hardest books, the ones I had to drag myself to the end of are Wicked by Gregory Maguire and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. 

Both times I went in thinking I'd really enjoy them.  But I found Wicked to be so convoluted that it was practically unreadable.  In The Road the dialogue was so repetitive and pointless that I wanted to scream, I actually started counting the number of times the characters had the exact same exchanges over and over.  Characterization can make up for a lot lacking in plot but in both books I never cared at all about the characters.  Those were two pretty painful books.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2008
Posts: 31
Back To Top

I give a book less than 100 pages, if it can't grab me right at the start then I don't waste time with it when there are so many other books on my TBR list.

I gave up on Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner. I love her other books but could not get into this book and it really disappointed me. I just felt no connection with the characters. The other one I recently gave up on was Vanquished - it was just awful. That's all I have to say about that book.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
Back To Top

Ken Follett's World Without End.  I loved Pillars of the Earth, but the sequel seemed pointless.  After reading more than 2/3 of the book, I jumped to the end, and I was glad that I did.  I would have found the ending unsatisfying after slogging through the rest of the book.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2007
Posts: 1,905
Back To Top

The Road, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  Couldn't  get past the first hundred pages in either book.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 928
Back To Top

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. I just couldn't get into it, but I was determined to finish it. I quit at one point but made myself pick it back up. I wish I hadn't. It was kind of a waste of my time.

Another was The Memory Keeper's Daughter. I had a really hard time identifying with the characters and slogged through it until I just couldn't do it anymore. I ended up skimming through the rest of the book to find out how it ends.

Last Edited on: 3/10/09 2:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2009
Posts: 37
Back To Top

I'm about ready to throw in the towel with "The Portrait" by Iain Pears.  Unfortunately for me, I read the reviews and apparently its got a great ending 'that just can't be missed'.  What about the other 6/7?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I start a lot more books than I finish, but I just consider most of them "unfinished" because of time constraints.  The last book I remember actively giving up on was Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher.  I love his Dresden Files books, so I gave it a good 300 pages before I admitted I didn't like it.  The writing style was weird to me.  Some of it seemed simplistic, like a YA book, and some of it was X-rated.  I just wasn't having fun, and I let it go.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
Back To Top

Oh no, Matt! I have the first four of Butcher's Codex Alera books on my TBR stacks...I also love the Dresden books, so I hope I like those too. But I have to say, my daughter had the same reaction you did. She finished Furies of Calderon, but gave up on the second. Waaah! When will I learn not to acquire a bunch of books in a series before I know I like them? LOL

The most recent book I gave up on was an audio version of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street. The reader was just not very good, he didn't differentiate the voices very well and kept stumbling over words. I gave it 3 hours--not sure what that's equivalent to in pages. LOL Before that, I gave up on Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning, which was narrated by the author. I have enjoyed every one of her books that I've read in print, but this one was read by her, and it was pretty unprofessionally done. I didn't like it at all--the story was probably fine, but the reading just wasn't good.

I usually have about a 50-page rule with print books, but sometimes I quit a book before then, other times I'll be halfway through before I want to throw it against the wall and give up.


Date Posted: 3/10/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
Back To Top

The 19th Wife - I just couldn't get into it.  It was a WL so I passed it on.  I think another good question is what book did you finish that you wished you had given up on (for whatever reason; waste of time, disappointing, etc.)

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
Back To Top

Whiteout by Ken Follett.  I started it this past weekend, read about 100 pages, hated it, skimmed it to try to find something that would catch my attention, slammed it shut, reposted it here on pbs.  :)

BTW...I hated Reading Lolita in Tehran, also.  I couldn't keep up with any of the women and realized that I didn't even care so I quit reading.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 26,635
Back To Top

I'm one of those people who always finish a book, believing there must be some redeeming quality somewhere.

Recently I started Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad and kept slogging through, thinking maybe it would get more interesting.

Finally half way through I gave up.

Last Edited on: 3/10/09 10:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
Back To Top
I used to feel compelled to finish a book, especially if I'd paid full price for it. ;-} I realized that now I'm a grownup (more or less), there's not going to be an exam on it, so if it's just badly written or full of typos or I find myself hoping that ALL of the characters in a mystery will be the murderees, I give up on them and trade them away. (Bless PBS.) The most recent reject was a mystery called The Lost Madonna, by Kelly Jones. I like art history mysteries very much, espcially those by Iain Pears, but this one spent way too much time on the main character's pre-story teenage years, when she was apparently sadly deceived by some dashing and dastardly Italian art historian. I found myself muttering 'Would you GET ON with the story and stop whining?' So I stopped reading.
Date Posted: 3/11/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
Back To Top

I realized that now I'm a grownup (more or less), there's not going to be an exam on it,

It took me until I was nearly 40 to realize that not finishing a book was NOT a sign of intellectual weakness. 

I like being challenged, and maybe I'm just getting old, but some very dry non-fiction has killed me recently.  I've "taken a break" in reading both The Honest Courtesan and Witchcraze.  I'll eventually go back and finish (probably).  I will most likely get flamed for this, but I couldn't finish Twilight.  The writing was so terrible and I was bored to tears.  I also stopped reading Wings of the Dove half way through.  I'm not sure why I stopped.  I'll go back and finish it at some point, I'm sure.  I think I've gotten better at realizing that there's really no earthly reason why I have to read things like The Magic Mountain.  It's made me a much happier reader.

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 681
Back To Top

Under the Skin by Michael Faber

I got this on wishlist, read it and read it until I couldn't take it anymore.  It was becoming one of those things where I feel like I have to pick it up and finish it, so I kept trying and almost to the end, it got so weird and I felt so not wanting to go on that I said FORGET IT!  I CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE! So I posted it and it moved on to another member.....

wonder what she thought of it.......hhmm


Date Posted: 3/11/2009 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 10
Back To Top

I gave up on SAcred Games by Vikram Chandra. It's a 900 page book, and I read until about 300. It was monotonous and dull. I really didn't care about ANY of the characters.

I wish I would have given up on The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, as I ended up hating it!

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/7/2008
Posts: 10
Back To Top

I second Edgar Sawtelle.  I just also gave up on Heir to the Glittering World by Cynthis Ozick.  Oh Well...

Date Posted: 3/12/2009 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2009
Posts: 176
Back To Top

I gave up on Cabinet of Curiosities by Preston and Child recently.  I am not saying that it was a bad book but I definitely wasn't feeling it.  I take moods for certain authors and genres. 

Date Posted: 3/12/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
Back To Top

I gave up on The Hungry Ghost by Keith Kachtick, hated it so much I only made it to page 15 which is very unusual for me.

And, I agree on Wicked, awful book.

As to Frank Lloyd Wright, he was a womanizer and had many lovers over the years. He only loved himself and women loved him because he was famous and arrogant. I can't imagine that a book about one of his lover WOULD have much passion in it.

Date Posted: 3/13/2009 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2008
Posts: 225
Back To Top

The Rule of Four--just couldn't get into it.  And  Double Take by Cathering Coulter.  Both books in the same week too.  I totally agree with The Wicked, I tried it about a year ago. It was horrible. I gave up after about 75-80 pages when I figured out it wasn't going to get any better.

Last Edited on: 3/13/09 9:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2009 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
Back To Top

First, Sheila I love your Toby avatar. Yum!

I recently gave up on Here Kitty Kitty by Jardin Libaire.  I couldn't get into it. I felt no compassion or sympathy for the character, and there was no cohesion in the style. I finally gave up.

Date Posted: 3/13/2009 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 98
Back To Top

The one book that stands out in my mind as one that I will never want to read again is the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I only finished it because I "read" it as an audio book while working. It is 90% about architecure and 10% plot with 2 dimensional characters.  Yech!