Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Books I Started and Never Finished

You know those books you start and never finish? I have a lot of those. Oh sure, I finish plenty of books, but what happens with the books I don't finish? Most of the time I give them away or trade them away, but they don't make good review material because, well, I didn't really read them. Nancy Pearl says that when you're ready to give up on a book, subtract your age from 100 and read that many more pages before you throw in the towel. Well, I started to read Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen, a week or two ago, and frankly, 66 pages more of that is too much of my life to waste. Like with loser boyfriends, I'd rather cut my losses and move on. Some other almost-reads:

Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Just couldn't get in to it. Tried. Twice. Failed. Twice. And there are like a billion copies of it on Bookmooch so I probably couldn't even get rid of it if I tried.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. My husband gave this to me when we first started dating, because Pratchett is his favorite writer ever. Sorry. I know he's God's gift to fantasy. Not my thing.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Funny and cute, cute and funny. Just didn't hold my attention beyond that.

Ladies Listen Up by Darren Coleman. I have no idea what I was thinking. Oh yeah, it was free at a conference. Really, I have nothing against urban fiction when it's well-written but this, uh, wasn't.

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek. Ooo, erotic Eurofiction adapted into a steamy movie starring Isabelle Huppert. Should be great. Wasn't.

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, by Brock Clarke. Talk about an unappealing protagonist- a smug, self-pitying liar utterly lacking in charm or even self-awareness. I just couldn't be bothered to stay the course with this loser of a main character. It's important to connect with the protagonist- he doesn't have to be a saint, but he should be someone you can stand to be in the same room with.

And so on and so forth. It's hard to remember some of the others, because these days I only keep books I really love and find some way to discard almost-reads as soon as I'm done with them. I've also started and not finished Doestoevsky's The Idiot (although I did finish it in high school) and The Brothers Karamazov but I'm going to give BK another try as soon as I can trade for the good translation. Now who's the idiot?