Friday, February 5, 2010

Unfinished Friday -Unfinished or Abandoned?

Marie, the Boston Bibliophile started this very useful meme so we can blog about books that for whatever reason just don't work.
Last week Caite of A Lovely Shore Breeze commented on my double discards:
" I love the idea of Unfinished Friday...but my problem is I hate to admit defeat. I put a book aside with the idea that someday I will finish it and am not sure I ever admit I absolutely will not finish it."
I totally agree with her.  For those of us who love books, and have any acquaintance with anyone who writes them, we know how much the author invests physically, emotionally, and often financially, into getting this book published and having people read it and comment on it.  I often put books aside to try later. I have an entire category in my LibraryThing personal library called "DNF- try later" as opposed to the "DNF- given away".

Perhaps it's my generation...I belong to that age group whose parents lived through the Great Depression and who would not let us leave the table without finishing every single brussel sprout, green bean, or beet on that plate.  After all "children were starving in (India, China, Korea, take your pick)".  So I'm socially conditioned to finishing anything I start.  I was so thrilled when my then 70+ year old father took up needlepoint when he needed something to do while recovering from knee surgery.  I unloaded a trunk full of half-finished projects that had been languishing for YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEARS.....and he polished them off in four months!

Just for a diversion, here's the last piece Daddy did for me before he died, he was 82 at the time he completed it and said 1000's of swear words as he attached each of those 1000s of beads, and by the way, he did this one completely from scratch.  It wasn't one of my leftoevers. It hangs on the wall opposite my bed, and it's one of the last things I see at night when I turn out the light. But I keep thinking, if Daddy could finish those beads, I can finish a book!

So when I get a book I don't like, or keep falling asleep while reading (Ya think that's a clue????) I have a hard time getting over the feeling that it's my fault.  But FACE IT TINA....You aren't supposed to like everything in the world.  There are TV shows I turn off, clothes I look at in the store and put back on the rack, foods I don't order from a menu ( and a few I've even sent back!).  So why can't I abandon a book?

When I looked at the books I've abandoned so far this year, one was self-published and the promotional blurb did not match the subject matter as I expected.  The writing was bombastic, and I just wasn't interested.  It went into the LT Member Giveaway where, to date, 70+ people have indicated they would give it a home.  Another ARC from Hachette went into Member Giveaway - over 200 people wanted it, and many people gave it great reviews on LT, so I didn't feel so guilty abandoning that one...I figure the author is getting the publicity ARCs are designed to provide, and I didn't say it was awfully written, just that the subject matter was not to my liking.

My third and fourth abandoned beauties are still with me.  They are huge chunksters of non-fiction that I'm really interested in, and want to be able to pick up and read perhaps in pieces as time goes on.  I also know from experience, than sometimes it takes almost 200 pages to really get into a big guy.  So when my brain is ready to settle down and absorb some more, I intend to get to them again.

I actually have 7 more sitting on my TBR (Finish them shelf) and I'm hoping the "Finish them" challenge I set myself will help me get back to at least 3 of them this year. I found them all interesting to a point but as often happens with non-fiction, the authors just get into so much detail, I get lost in the trees and can't get out of the forest. With the fiction books, I keep seeing fabulous reviews, and several people have told me to stick with them, so I'm holding them, hoping that some morning my mind will say---AHA...let's finish that one this week.

By the way, these 7 that need finished are listed here.

I'm having a contest, and any book that gets 10 or more comments of encouragement, I will pledge to read it at least 1/2 way again this year.  Then if I still don't like it, I'll have a giveaway.  Get those comments in..

1. The History of God by Karen Armstrong
2. Women who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
3. Generations: The History of America's Future 1584-2069 by Neil Howe and William Strauss
4. East of the Mountains by David Guterson
5. Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton
6. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

So let's all's Ok to leave a book unfinished.  And let's thank Marie for starting this meme and giving us permission to put these back on the shelf (with bookmarks intact) for later enjoyment if we don't want to abandon them completely.  YEA MARIE!!!


  1. I loved Shadow of the Wind. It takes awhile to get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down. I recently read his latest and enjoyed it as well.

    Page Inman

  2. Oh you have to read the Shadow of the Wind all the way through. It was a wonderful read. It does start out slow, but savor it, get to know it, you won't regret it.

  3. I LOVE that story about your father...that is truly inspiring, to take something up, with such gusto,at that age! It give me

  4. I don't know that I can help you with your list of unfinished books - I haven't read any of them . . . yet. But I do want to say that your father's needlepoint piece is really beautiful and you are so lucky to have such a lovely image to look at every day and remember him by.

  5. The only one on this list that I've read is Shadow of the Wind and I really loved it. I thought it took a bit to get going, but I thought it was fantastic. Good luck!

  6. I am all in favor of finishing 'Shadow of the Wind.' It was one of my favorites a couple of years ago and I am planning a re-read over the summer before I tackle 'The Angel's Game.'


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