Books I’ve Given Up On

I used to never give up on a book. Once I started a book, I was determined to finish it! However, now I have decided that life is too short and there are too many good books out there to waste my time with something bad. So here are some books that I tried to read and couldn’t finish. Some of these I do want to attempt again, as I think I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for some of these reads.

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel – I could not get into this one. When I get stuck in a book I’ll generally flip to the ending and read it to see if I want to give up or not, and this ending did not excite me at all. I will not be attempting this one again, sorry! I know a lot of people really love this one, but it wasn’t for me.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I feel terrible putting this one on the list because so many people just really love these books. I couldn’t get into it, but I will definitely attempt this again, and I will finish it this time! Attempting this one again is one of my Reading Goals for 2016.
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – I didn’t get very far into this one due to the subject matter. This one is about a mass-murder school shooting, and is told from the point of view of the mother of the student who committed the crimes. This book chilled me to the bone, even right at the beginning. I had to peek at the ending to see what happens, and that ending has to be one of the most shocking, disturbing endings ever. This book actually still haunts me, and I would like to attempt it again because what I read was extremely good, but subject matter was too heavy for me at the time I picked it up.
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – This one just felt pretentious and too long, so I gave up. This is another book everyone raves about, but it just wasn’t for me. I will not attempt this one again.
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith – The first in the Isabel Dalhousie series, this just felt too preachy, and the characters were irritating. I love Alexander McCall Smith’s other books, so I feel that some day I might try this one again, but I’m definitely not rushing out to read it and I won’t miss it if I don’t ever get to it!
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje – I was so disappointed in this book that I had to set it down. I saw the movie and absolutely loved it. And then I knew I had to read the book, and I just wasn’t into it. I’ll try this one again at some point; I think this may be a perfect example of a great book coming to me at the wrong time.
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan – Loved the movie, but gave up on the book. I haven’t tried any of McEwan’s other works, maybe some day.


And here are two books that I would’ve given up on had they not been book club selections for me. Had I given up I would’ve missed out on something truly spectacular.

  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver – Very slow to start, but so powerful at the end.
  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner – A true masterpiece. I didn’t get this book until everything came together at the end, and this will be a book I definitely re-read later on in life. And now I see the word “repose” everywhere.


And here is one book I should’ve given up on, but alas, I finished it and I regret every minute I spent reading this thing (and it was a lot of minutes because this book is looong):

  • The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich – I just did not get it. At all. The title had nothing to do with the book, the blurb on the back had nothing to do with the book, and it was just … too… strange. Everytime I see Louise Erdrich’s name now I actually cringe.


How about you? Do you always finish reading a book even if you aren’t enjoying it? Are there any books that you’ve read that you didn’t appreciate until the end? What books have you given up on?


11 thoughts on “Books I’ve Given Up On

  1. If it wasn’t this month’s book club choice I would have stopped reading Counting Coup by Larry Colton. It is an extremely boring read. It reads like a documentary. Another book that I actually did throw into the trash was A Soft Place to Land. Recycling was too good for that book. It landed softly in my trash can! That was someone else’s book club choice…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Counting Coup was pretty dry … I don’t think I would’ve stopped reading it, but I would’ve done a lot more skimming and definitely skipped all of the basketball parts. And I agree – A Soft Place To Land was all around bad. As you can see from my list I tend to give up on more literary fiction and I definitely judge those books harder than other genres. I don’t know why … I’ll usually read a mystery all the way through even if I don’t enjoy it, same with chicklit or regular fiction and young adult. But literary fiction if I don’t like it right away I’ll set it down. Hmmm …


  2. I completely agree with your initial words. I, too, used to force myself to finish a book once I started, but now I realize I am just torturing myself needlessly. It is actually a freeing feeling to be able to just say ‘no’ and find something else I can enjoy. I haven’t tried a lot of the books that you mention, but I sure agree with the last two. Sadly, I had purchased three other of Erdlich’s books because the review were so great and the were about Native Americans in dome way and that usually interests me and now I look at those books and cringe. But I am saving Angle of Repose to read again, just like you are. (I found most of The Lacuna riveting, though I’ll agree there were a few slow bits – LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about it being a freeing feeling to set a book down! Almost like I’m standing up for myself and refusing to waste time. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on The Lacuna as that was one of my favorite reads last year and I keep thinking about the ending and other scenes in the book.


    1. What!!?? The Hobbit is so wonderful – in many ways I prefer it to Lord of the Rings. But I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. You might enjoy watching The Hobbit movies, the first one was excellent, and the other two were alright.


  3. Totally agree with Life of Pi! I just don’t get the obsession with it.. I finished Life After Life and still think I wasted the week of my life it took me to get through that. I still don’t even know what it was even about haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad to hear you didn’t care for either of those books! I’m not the only one! And glad to hear that I didn’t miss much in Life After Life. There is even a sequel/companion book to that one!

      Liked by 1 person

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