Hard to believe, especially with the bizarre few months we’ve been having, but it’s mid-year review time already. I’ll do two more posts this month rounding up my reading from the first half of 2020: where my books came from, and the best releases so far. But first, let’s get this out of the way.
I encourage readers to give up on books they are not enjoying, at any time and for any reason (tone, voice, writing style, distressing subject matter, similarity to other things you’ve read, whatever). I’ve DNFed 27 books so far this year, equating to roughly 15% of what I started. That’s my usual average, so not a particular problem as far as I’m concerned.
To keep it short and sweet, especially as I have mentioned a number of these before, e.g. in a Library Checkout or Six Degrees post, I’m listing the pages or percentage read and dispatching each book with a two-word summary using the template “Too ______”. (I am aware of how reductive and unfair this is.) These are in rough chronological order of my attempted reading. Asterisks denote the books I intend to try again someday.
*The Street by Ann Petry: 32 pages. Too dated.
Short Short Stories by Dave Eggers: 22 pages. Too raunchy.
The Year without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd: 21 pages. Too dull.
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin: 60 pages. Too sentimental.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney: 162 pages. Too plodding.
Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron: 25 pages. Too self-aware.
The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer: 93 pages. Too obvious.
Journalism by Joe Sacco: 21 pages. Too gritty.
Run by Ann Patchett: 80 pages. Too contrived.
*Jazz by Toni Morrison: 100 pages. Too dense.
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman: 30 pages. Too false.
Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan: 20-something pages. Too weird.
*Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: 20 pages. Too normal.
*The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan: 20 pages. Too ponderous.
*Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: 15 pages. Too hip.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara: 3 pages. Too precocious.
The Night Brother by Rosie Garland: 5 pages. Too unremarkable.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: 4 pages. Too bland.
My Wild, Sleepless Nights: A Mother’s Story by Clover Stroud: 5 pages. Too (m)othering.
Godshot by Chelsea Bieker: 30%. Too Handmaid’s.
The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny: 34 pages. Too undistinguished.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith [an attempted reread]: 107 pages. Too stereotyping.
*Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer [an attempted reread]: 35 pages. Too quirky.
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway: A year of gardening and (wild)life by Kate Bradbury: 24 pages. Too middling.
The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey: 11%. Too familiar.
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles: 18 pages. Too twee.
Up with the Larks: Starting Again in Cornwall: My First Year as a Seaside Postie by Tessa Hainsworth: 80 pages. Too lite.