Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
Ahhh yes, the ultimate struggle for all readers. When we feel like we're slogging through a book, do we endure or lay it aside? Most of the time, I'm in favor of laying a book aside if it isn't flipping my switch. However, I break my own rule sometimes, and these are some of the books that survived.


THREE books from this year alone. Three! But as I said, I endured through the rough patches and feel pretty rewarded by all of these. I loved the gorgeous language and intimate themes in The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. I enjoyed Paul Auster's meta storytelling and plot layers in Oracle Night. And once I got past a barrage of dry science facts, I totally dug the adventure in The Martian.


Affinity, by Sarah Waters, is a book I worked on reading for two years. That's just stupid, right? I read snatches here and there, laid it aside, and I always came back to it because Waters' writing is impeccable, her characters are compelling, and her twists are glorious. Very glad I endured with this one. 

The Color Master: Short Stories, by Aimee Bender, was super weird. That said, the stories were also innovative and multi-layered. They challenged me while they maddened me. Definitely worth the ride. 

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, was frustrating in its length and it plodded along at times. However, I was really glad to finish and discuss this one for last year's RIP event. This one felt like an accomplishment!


Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, was a book club choice. While I had innumerable problems with it, and I really loved to complain about it, it prompted me to think hard, and I can always appreciate that. I also really enjoyed discussing this one with my book club ladies. 

Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness, was the much-anticipated second installment in the All Souls trilogy. This one hit a sour note for me, but it was totally worth reading to complain and roll my eyes as I read along with Heather. 

Confessions of a Sociopath, by M.E. Thomas, was another book that seemed plodding at times, and while I had issues with it, I found it more memorable than most. 


I was terrified of reading this ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. I was terrified of what the 5-year-old narrator and his mom might go through. I was gripped and repulsed. I was nervous and jittery. But like everyone told me, "it's a good cry" and "the ending is perfect." So true!

Which books are you glad you didn't ditch?





35 comments:

  1. I felt a little bit the same way as I was reading the start of Life After Life, but ended up switching to audio, which really helped me finish it.

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    1. I bet! I think Life After Life would be much more enjoyable on audio. Wish I'd thought of it when I read it. :(

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  2. I almost put Room down, too.... so glad I didn't!!

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  3. I struggled at the beginning of Room as well but friends urged me to keep at it so I did. I ended up loving it.

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    1. Same here! I actually started it on audio but the sound of a young child narrating was killing me. Much preferred it in print, though it was still tough to read.

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  4. I have yet to read Room, even though I've heard it's really good. I had started the first book in the All Souls Trilogy but put it down when I wasn't immediately sucked in. I generally give a book about 50 pages before calling it quits. I want to read it again someday!

    One book that took me 3 tries was The Host. I don't enjoy anything alien-related but I pushed through...way past when I normally would...and ended up unable to put it down and finishing in one day. That was after trying it 3 times, though! Lol.

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    1. Same here, Brandie. 50 pages tends to be the magic number, but I have bailed on books earlier and later. Truthfully, if it doesn't grab me in the first 20-30 I'm better served to put it down and come back to it another time.

      I bailed on The Host, actually. Sometimes I think about going back to it, but given the size, I think I'd try an ebook this time. hehe

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  5. Love this! I never thought about this topic before. I hope to remember what you wrote when I finally pick up The Martian.

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    1. I hope you love The Martian! I hadn't thought much about this topic either until it came up for Top Ten Tuesday! #roundofapplause

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  6. I'm a little scared that you have so many of my favorite books on this list. I don't know what that says about me, but I'm SO glad you didn't stop reading The Martian, Shadow of Night, The Historian, Rooms, and Life After Life. These are the exact reason why I finish every book I start. Because you just never know how a book is going to end and quite possibly change your life.

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    1. Haha! I'm a bad starter in general...especially if I'm stressed or on the edge of a slump or just feeling persnickety. I'm glad I followed through on all of these even if I had some quibbles.

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  7. I see a couple on here that I apparently need to give a second try!

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  8. I wanted to ditch Room and Life After Life but didn't since they were book club books. In hindsight. I still wish I had ditched them!

    Most books that I feel like ditching, I usually end up ditching because I have no time for shoddy plot lines or poor writing. So, I am hard pressed to come up with one that I kept at and liked.

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    1. LOL! Sometimes I do that, too. I'm trying to think of some I wish I'd ditched. There are plenty, I'm sure, if I went through my review archive.

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  9. I haven't read Life after Life yet but I have it on my shelf, so I appreciated seeing it on your list! I loved The Historian and am glad you didn't put that one down. I love books that are perfect for book clubs, so am now really looking forward to the Atkinson one!

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    1. Definitely want to know your thoughts on the Atkinson book!

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  10. YES I felt the same way about Room. So glad I read it. And hahaha I totally LOL'ed at "The Color Master was super weird." Confessions of a Sociopath I almost put down, too. Dang that got annoying at times.

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    1. SO annoying re: Sociopath. But it's stuck with me and I think about it a lot. You never know. I think about The Color Master a lot, too.

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  11. I'm a little nervous about a couple of those titles but you probably know I loved two of them. The Martian . . . didn't get a lot of the science, but I found myself trying to understand it so I enjoyed the challenge in addition to the author's terrific sense of humor. And, I just flat loved Life After Life. We had three people in our book group who really didn't like it because they thought it was pointless, which made it a *great* discussion book. I felt like I understood what she was trying to say but there was one life that was particularly rough to read.

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    1. Life After Life is SUCH a good book discussion choice. And I know exactly which life you're talking about. Gah!

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  12. Oh, I have still never not put down Affinity. I am sure I will like it once I press on and read the whole thing. (Surely? I love Sarah Waters!) These are reasons the book blogosphere is good -- there's no danger I'll forget Affinity exists; y'all are always around to remind me. :)

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    1. LOL! We will neverrrr let you forget about Affinityyyyy.

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  13. I have a problem with not finishing books. I'm really terrible at it because I always feel like it might get better...Help!!!

    I'm so glad you stuck with The Color Master. I thought it was a really interesting collection of stories.

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    1. I always have that twinge, but if I'm not really digging it, it will slow down my reading SO MUCH. I have to make myself just let it go!

      It was definitely interesting. I got a lot out of it because I endured.

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  14. I had the same feelings as you about Life After Life - so I'm glad it was an audiobook. I'm looking forward to tackling The Martian later this year too.

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

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    1. Yeah, I kinda wish I'd listened to Life After Life instead. Enjoy The Martian!

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  15. Room keeps popping up on these lists. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a "good" hard to read. The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets is near the top of my TBR pile, too.

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    1. Definitely a good hard read! "It's a good cry" as I always say. lol I hope you enjoy The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. I see so few people reviewing or otherwise mentioning that one.

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  16. It's been so fun to read people's lists for this topic! The one book that sticks out in my mind for this is Code Name Verity. I had the. hardest. time. getting into it. But oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, am I ever so glad I stuck with it!

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    1. Isn't it? And I actually put down Code Name Verity because I was struggling with it SO MUCH. Sounds like I might need to give it another go.

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  17. I had similar problems with The Historian, but it did inspire me to go to Turkey. :)

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  18. I struggled with Life After Life for so long! I just couldn't get into it. Like you, I loved Room though!

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  19. I'm so bummed to see Shadow of Night on this list. I adored that book!!

    One book that I almost put down, but didn't was The Book of Lost Things. I ended up LOVING it!! I'm with Michelle and this is why I rarely, rarely DNF a book.

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