Sunday Salon – Abandoning Books

A happy Sunday to you!  It’s been a wonderful week,working with the children for three days and then a two day staff retreat, part of it spent walking silently through the woods in the rain looking at moss and lichen with a tiny hand lens and part of it spent walking silently through a beautiful labyrinth much like the one in the image below.  Restful, peaceful and inspiring.

I abandoned a book this week.  I’ve written about abandoning books before, but this was not a book I knew I didn’t want to read after twenty pages.  It was a book I had found interesting and wanted to finish.   True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey won the Man Booker Prize in 2001 and has been short-listed for and awarded many other prizes.  It grabbed me from the beginning.  I wanted to love it.  I kept picking it up and reading a few pages and finding myself skimming or struggling.  Maybe it’s the dialect that kept throwing me off, but I’ve read and enjoyed many books written in dialect.  Maybe it’s the mistreatment of women and children.  I just couldn’t figure out what was causing my discomfort.  I kept turning to other books.  I finally decided to return it to the library and try again at another time.  There are just to many wonderful books I want to read right now…

Has this happened to you?  Did you struggle through to the end or did you abandon the book, maybe planning to read it later?

I wish you all a wonderful week.  To find out about Sunday Salon visit this link.


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30 responses to “Sunday Salon – Abandoning Books

  1. Abandoning books that ALMOST capture you is the worst sort of feeling. :/

  2. In fact, I abandoned this very book about halfway through. I have abandoned three books by Peter Carey. They always sound very good, they always grab my attention right away. But they never hold me to the very end.

    • Three books? That says Carey doesn’t speak to you. ones I want to try Oscar and Lucinda, was that one of the you abandoned?

  3. I have read Oscar and Lucinda by Carey and struggled through it. It was a rare example of me actually finishing a book I really didn’t like. Since then, I have never wanted to read anything else by Carey.

    • I want to try Oscar and Lucinda next, but if I don’t like it I’m not going to force myself to finish it. There are just too many good books out there I want to read!

  4. I need to get better at abandoning books. I had a similar experience to the one you described with Devoted Ladies by Molly Keane recently. I forced myself to go on, and in the end I wished I’d abandoned it, or saved it for a better time. So really, you are wiser than I am :P

  5. I rarely abandon books, unfortunately, and waste way too much time. And I still maintain that some years I think the Booker judges are smoking something bad, because I just don’t understand why they pick what they do.

    • Sandy – I agree with you about the Booker, even though most of the short listed titles I’ve read have been book I enjoyed. I hope your foot is better!

  6. Ooh, I’ve had the pleasure of walking a labyrinth a couple of times, and it’s always been an inspiring experience. I can only imagine what walking one in a setting like that might be.

    • The photo is not of the labyrinth that we walked through, but it was out in the woods in a lovely spot. Very different then walking through one in a church or sanctuary. I always enjoy the experience.

  7. I just took back The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee. I got about 90 pages in and could never pick it back up. I kept thinking, perhaps when they actually get into the war…but there were too many other books on my stack.

    So I took it to the library and read The Singer’s Gun instead – a trade worth making.


    • There are just too many good books out there. I can no longer force myself to read a book I am not enjoying. Glad you like The Singer’s Gun.

  8. I love the little maze photo! How fun!

    And I tend to struggle through a book … but if I can’t get into it after 20 pages, I will drop it. But anything after 100 pages and I’ll continue on to the bitter end.

    • I didn’t really want to stop reading it but I wasn’t having a good time with it! The maze/labyrinth was a pleasure to walk through.

  9. I have no qualms about abandoning books (unless it’s The Brothers Karamazov, in which case I seemed to be all about the torture).

  10. Ti

    I abandoned this book too. We picked it for book club and I just could not get through it.

  11. I’m getting better at abandoning books (but obviously not that great since I’ve only abandoned two books this year). However, unless I really didn’t like it, I always tell myself that I’ll go back and read it when the time’s right. I think that’s ok. Especially since, as you point out, there are so many other books that need to be read!

    • It will be interesting to see if I actually try reading this book again. I always have way more books I’m interested in then I possibly have time for!

  12. Definitely sounds like a book out-of-time for you. Maybe the next time will be a better fit!

  13. Erin

    Those want-to-love books are the hardest for me to give up. I realize I’m not enjoying the book, but I keep it around. I find myself feeling like I should finish it, but when I have time for reading I always pick up something else. These are the books I usually end up leaving on my shelf, just in case I like them better later.

    • I have to ask myself, do I want-to-love it or do I think I should love it because it has critics raving or has won some prize:)

  14. It’s definitely harder to give up on books you WANT to like. My most recent in this category is Tinkers, and that may have been a case of bad timing. Maybe I’ll give it another try when the mood strikes.

    A couple of years ago, I bought Oscar and Lucinda at a library book sale. Tried the first 20 pages or so but didn’t get into it immediately. Usually allow more time than that… not sure if I should give it another chance or not.

    • It sound like people either like Carey right away or just never click with his writing. I’m sorry about Tinkers. I really enjoyed that one. Maybe it was just bad timing.

  15. I also abandoned TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, but I know I’m unlikely to return to it. I felt like had to edit it in my head as I read. It annoyed me too much.

  16. Oh no, that’s too bad… both because it’s a bummer when a book that should be good doesn’t work for you, and also because I’ve got True History of the Kelly Gang on my TBR pile.

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