Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I Can't Believe I Read the Whole Thing! Books I Should Not Have Finished

Up until last year, I did not have a DNF shelf on Goodreads. If I started a book, no matter how terrible it was, I pretty much always finished it. This has resulted in me finishing a number of books I really didn't like because I felt obligated to do so. Today, I'm sharing ten books that I really can't believe I finished reading, and I'll be linking up with Top Ten Tuesday for this week's topic, Books I Can’t Believe I Read.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata 

In library school, my children's literature course was focused entirely on Newbery Medal and honor books. As Kira-Kira was the winner that year, we were all required to buy and read a copy. It was a miserable experience - I didn't like the plot, the characters, the writing style, anything - and to this day, I don't know a child who has read and enjoyed this book. (I find it kind of funny that I actually read this book when so many books I was assigned as an undergraduate went unread...)

Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt 

I read this book in library school as well, and when I was finished I likened the reading experience itself to walking very slowly up a road. I usually like coming-of-age stories, but this one was just depressing and uncomfortable.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer 

I still re-read my scathing Goodreads review of this book from time to time. When it came out, I was working as a teen librarian so I basically had to read it in order to be able to discuss it with my teen patrons, but it was not my usual genre to begin with and I felt like the series really jumped the shark with some of the happenings of the book. (Reneesme, especially, made me want to throw things.)

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner 

The title of this book alone would turn me off today, but when I was in my 20s and working with teens, I wasn't quite as sensitive to vulgar humor as I am now. I still maintain that the author, Jake Wizner, is a talented writer, but I would never in a million years pick up this book today.

Love: Poems by Danielle Steel

I'd totally forgotten that I read this until I started scrolling through my Goodreads looking for books for this post. What made me borrow it from the library I have no idea, considering I've never even read a Danielle Steel novel, but (shocking, I know) it was evidently only a two-star read despite the fact that my review mentions I would have loved it as a fourteen-year-old.

What She Saw... by Lucinda Rosenfeld

This may be the worst novel I have ever read, and it would have been a definite candidate for a DNF shelf if I'd had one back in 2009. My one-star review says it all.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

I turned 16 the year this book came out, and had probably only read 2 or 3 adult novels ever, but for some reason I bought this one in hardcover.  With its adult content, including frank discussions of sexuality, this book was very disturbing to me as a teen, and I can't believe that a) my parents allowed it in our house and b) I actually made it to the end of the book. (My experience with this book is also a big reason I don't think kids should just read whatever they want. I know the going theory is that kids self-censor, but I definitely felt uncomfortable and read the book anyway and never talked about the things that bothered me with anyone.)

Savvy by Ingrid Law

A couple of years ago, I challenged myself to read 25 fantasy novels in a year, and because this was a Newbery Honor book, I put it on my list. Had it not been a Newbery honor book, and had I not been focusing on reading fantasy, I would not have made it more than a couple of chapters. As is clear from my review, I thought it was bland and boring, and that the story had nothing at all to say.

Saving Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea 

When the ARC of this book was available on NetGalley back in 2015, I had never read any of the series. I read the first two quickly so that I could review this one before it was published. By the end of the second book, I already hated the series, but I felt an obligation to finish it and get feedback to the publisher. If I hadn't downloaded the ARC, I would have abandoned the book after the first chapter.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

I know lots of people love this book, but I am just not a fan. I think I made it worse for myself, too, by listening to the audiobook, as the narrator had a very grating voice, and failed to pronounce one of main character's names correctly about half the time. I did like the writing style, but could not stand all the coincidences that figured into the plot. It just didn't feel believable to me. Had I not been riding in the car and listening with my husband, I wouldn't have bothered to finish. My review is on Goodreads.

What are some books you would skip if you had it to do over?


  1. I've never read a Danielle Steel book either. Simply not my thing. By the time Breaking Dawn came out I was already tired of the whole sexy vampire thing and never even made it through a complete movie, never mind a book.

    As you saw when you visited The Book Connection, Lord of the Flies tops my list of books I would skip in a heartbeat. They still assign it in high school and I still shake my head over that one.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I never read any of the Twilight books, for some reason I was never interested, but I applaud you for managing to make it through all four books! My biggest skip over is probably Lord of The Flies, I never would have read that one if I hadn't had to for school.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/top-ten-tuesday-144/