Books I’ve Abandoned Recently

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It’s been a while since I mentioned books that I’ve abandoned and as a consequence there are quite a few! Here are the books that failed to hold my attention in the last few months:

A Man In Love (My Struggle 2)

A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Five words from the blurb: relationships, parenthood, life, honesty, write

I loved the first book in this series, but the writing quality seems to have taken a nose-dive with this one. It is much lighter, less profound and I quickly became bored with it. Such a shame.

And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Five words from the blurb: Afghanistan, brother, journey, fate, apart

I’ve loved all of Hosseini’s previous books, but this one had too many characters. The plot meandered excessively and I failed to connect with anyone. I didn’t mean to abandon it, but after a month of not caring enough to want to continue I decided to end my attempts with this one.

The Best Book in the World

The Best Book in the World by Peter Stjernstrom

Five words from the blurb: idea, writer, bestseller, worldwide, quirky

This book sounded similar to How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely, but unfortunately the satire didn’t work for me.  I found it silly, rather than amusing. Perhaps the humor is lost in translation?

The Maid's Version

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

Five words from the blurb: Missouri, explosion, killed, mystery, justice 

This book had some great scenes, but I found the narrative disjointed and so failed to become emotionally invested in the story. It’s a shame because I’m sure there is a great story buried in here.

A Marker to Measure Drift

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik

Five words from the blurb: Aegean, starvation, brutality, cave, tourists

I loved Maksik’s controversial debut novel, You Deserve Nothing. Unfortunately his new one lacked that vivid passion. I hate to say it, but Maksik should stick to writing about what he knows.

Schindler's Ark Winner of the 1982 Booker Prize

Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

Five words from the blurb: Jews, Poland, defied, compassionate, saviour

I’ve always wanted to watch Schindler’s List, but avoided doing so as I hadn’t read the book. I finally attempted to remove this gap from my knowledge by starting Keneally’s book last week. Unfortunately Schindler’s Ark read like a research paper. It was packed with facts, but they were so dry they made reading a real struggle. I admire the work that went into producing it, but I think this might be one of those rare situations where the film is better than the book? 

Three Strong Women Winner of 2009 Prix Goncourt

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye

Five words from the blurb: lawyer, family, future, psychological, journey

I’m afraid the writing style of this book put me off from the very beginning. The sentences lasted for the entire paragraph and it was so wordy that I spent my entire time internally shouting “get on with it!’. If you like books that describe everything in minute detail you’ll probably love this one. 

The Flamethrowers

The FlameThrowers by Rachel Kushner

Five words from the blurb: fascination, motorcycles, art, dreamers, education, Italy

If you have a special passion for art or motorcycles you’ll probably love this book. Unfortunately I don’t and the occasional bits of fantastic writing weren’t enough to pull me through this almost plotless book.

Did you enjoy any of these books more than I did?

I’ll be back to tell you about some books I loved soon!


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22 Comments

  1. Priscilla says:

    I actually loved The Flamethrowers (and I don’t love motorcycles or know anything about them). The writing drew me in completely. On the other hand, I am right with you regarding The Maid’s Version. I was so excited for this book, but I cannot get into it and am also finding it to be disjointed. I’ve even gone back to the beginning a few times. It’s just not grabbing me.

    1. Jackie says:

      Priscilla, I can see why you loved the writing in The Flamethrowers – it was excellent! Unfortunately I need some plot or forward momentum to keep my interest. :-(

      Glad to hear I’m not alone on ‘The Maid’s Version’

  2. Soul Muser says:

    LOL, I have been trying hard not to abandon books, but I bravely stuck it through Khaled Hosseini’s latest. I wasn’t rewarded at the end of it – so I understand how you must have felt – it really was meandering!

    1. Jackie says:

      Soul Muser, Sorry to hear that the Hosseini didn’t reward you in the end. It makes me feel a bit better for abandoning it, but I hate any time wasted on books that aren’t enjoyable :-(

  3. I probably need to do a “books I’ve abandoned” post, too. There’s been quite a bit of abandonment going on, but I refuse to let books I don’t enjoy slow me down. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, I look forward to seeing what is on your post – I always find these lists more revealing than lists of favourites.

  4. Ifi says:

    Jacqu,i I have mentioned before that I look forward to your abandoned books list. It’s great to see the books we have in common and love but also good to know what you’re not so keen on and WHY.
    Out of the books on your list I’ve only read “And the Mountains Echoed”. I had been waiting years for this author to write his next book (I loved the other two) but was so very disappointed. I plodded through this silly novel and was very irritated by it. It seemed contrived and I was not moved by any of the “shocking” scenes. Yes, too many characters; each with their own sob story. To me the book read like a bunch of short stories that in the end the author struggled to bring together.

    As for Ove Knausgaard, I’m relieved to hear that the second book is boring. I loved the first one but had my doubts that it could be topped and didn’t feel like finding out for myself.

    1. Jackie says:

      Ifi, I hadn’t thought about ‘And The Mountains Echoed’ as being like a series of short stories, but you’re right – that is a good way of describing it and another reason why I struggled with it. It is nice to know our tastes continue to match.

  5. Ellie says:

    Do watch Schindler’s List, it’s a fantastic film. I have had the book to read for a while but never get round to it. As it’s non-fiction, I probably wouldn’t mind the research paper feel. I got my emotion from the film, I’d like it to fill in the historical gaps. Still, I’m not runnign off to read it.

    I foubd the breathalyser laptop in The Best Book in the World hilarious. The book failed on other points for me, but it definitely made me laugh in places.

    1. Jackie says:

      Ellie, Schindler’s Ark may well be more interesting once I’ve watched the film. If I get the emotion from the film it might be nice to have more facts to go with it. I assumed the book would be packed with emotion too. It is rare I’ve been so surprised by a book’s style :-(

      1. I’ve done exactly the same as Ellie. I loved the film and so bought the book and haven’t read it yet! I do intend to read it sometime.

  6. David says:

    I’m sort of impressed by the number of books you’ve abandoned there, Jackie – I just find it really hard to give up on books unless the idea of picking them up again makes me want to do anything else instead (only one of those so far this year: the multi-award winning ‘Questions of Travel’).
    Oh, and I gave up on ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ recently – partly because I was reading it for work so wasn’t reading it by choice, but partly because I didn’t really care what scrapes Tom got into next.

    I’m disappointed to see you didn’t rate Maksik’s new one – I’d seen it on your sidebar a bit ago and was looking forward to your review. I have a copy so will still give it a go sometime but I’ll admit when I picked it up the other week the first couple of pages didn’t suck me in in the way ‘You Deserve Nothing’ did.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I haven’t done a post on my abandoned books since July so this is three months worth. Does that make it sound any better?!

      It is interesting to hear that you abandoned ‘Questions of Travel’. I had high hopes for that one. I wonder if I will have more luck than you did with it?

      Sorry to pass on the bad news about the Maksik – I’ve just ordered myself a copy of the even more controversial ‘Tampa’ I’ll be interersted to compare the two books. Part of me is actually hoping it doesn’t feel as realsitic as Maksik’s book.

  7. Jackie…it is funny that And the Mountains Echoed is on your DNF list, as I started the audio (from library) and could not get into it — accent plus too many characters to keep track of. I have the print edition as well, but after the rough start I have not felt like trying it again.

    I too have loved his previous work.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, I actually thought ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ might work well on audio. Shame it failed to keep your attention in that format too. I think it might be worth just moving on to something else :-)

  8. I really liked You Deserve Nothing too. I haven’t gotten hold of this new one of his yet but was interested in it. Sorry to read you didn’t get on with these ones.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, I’ll be interested to see if you have better luck than I did!

  9. Annabel says:

    I’ve not read any of them, but as a fan of Woodrell do have his on the pile – I hope I enjoy it more than you did.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, It was my first Woodrell, but I suspect I’ll enjoy his earlier works more. I’ll let you know how I get on!

      1. Annabel says:

        Winter’s Bone is stunning.

  10. ” I hate to say it, but Maksik should stick to writing about what he knows.”

    Hmm, I haven’t seen much mention of his new book. Had a feeling that might be the case…

    1. Jackie says:

      JoAnn, I haven’t seen a single review (positive or negative) for his new book. I think that is quite telling :-(

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