Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish
Yes, I'm one of those readers who has trouble DNFing a book. The truth is I've gotten better at it over the years. I used to never quit. But now it's become a matter of self preservation. I really do only have so many available hours in the day. And I am simply not going to waste them sticking it out to the bitter end with a book that's not doing it for me. But I've noticed it helps if I'm able to make the judgement call early on. Before I start to feel any obligation or enough investment that I'll finish it out to see if things pick up or are redeemed in the end. So today, I give you a split list. The first half are books I didn't put down and really wished I had. The second are books I came this close to tossing but for one reason or other didn't and now I am so glad I pressed on.
Regretfully Yours, or WHY DIDN'T I GET OUT WHEN THE GETTING WAS GOOD?!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I know. I know. You will all now burn me at the stake for this load of Jamieheresy. However, I staggered through the entire 800 and some pages and I have something to say. Yes, Claire and Jamie are frequently adorable throughout all 800 and some pages. But. Claire is literally in MORTAL PERIL every time Jamie turns his back. It grew more and more disturbing and more and more tiresome until I finally, gratefully finished the chunker in a haze of ennui. Good riddance.
The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale - Every time I think I've processed my anger over this book and have washed my hands of it, I actually think about it for a second and am filled with rage anew. Never, never should have finished it. What a terrible waste of time.
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - I have no excuse for finishing this one except the train wreck one. I still regret finishing it and whenever my mind does land on it, even briefly, I feel the immediate urge to go scrub it out with some Robin McKinley or a good Megan Whalen Turner. Someone who knows the worth of a character and is not afraid to make the hard choices.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman - Once again, I know. You have the tar and feathers ready. But I just will never be satisfied with this incredibly well-written, incredibly meager, wrapped-up-with-a-bow, slapdash "resolution" to Adam & Mia's story. Nope.
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy - Brutal indifference, indeed. It's really a shame this was my first Hardy. The way he wrote the women in this book angered my 17-year-old self to a murderous degree. I was never one to put up a fight with assigned reading in high school. But this one. This one I harbor resentment over.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race, or I CAN'T BELIEVE I ALMOST MISSED OUT ON THIS BIT OF GENIUS
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - To my everlasting chagrin, I actually did put this one down the first time. For a few years. Honestly. I just did not get far enough in to see Gen. But once I did, it was ALL OVER. Forever.
Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson - This is one of my very favorite Robin Hood retellings. But it almost never was. I read the prologue standing there in the bookstore and it was offputting enough to make me set it down and doubt. It's one of those show you a glimpse of the climax first and then figure out how the characters got in such a mess sort of deals. Not my favorite. But all it took was turning the page to the first chapter to fall in love with Marian.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King - A Sherlock Holmes pastiche was never going to be at the top of my reading list and I struggle with May-December relationships, though this one is so amazingly slow burn you hardly even notice it's happening until you're like, Did they just . . . Ohhhh. But it was the meeting of minds that caught me in its grip. Russell and Holmes. What a match. I can never decide which book in the series is my favorite.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - Like The Thief, this is one I insist people read past the first 50 pages before giving up in bewilderment. Because though the writing is unrelentingly lovely from the first line, it is a bit touch and go with what in the hell is happening for the first while. Once you get the lingo down and give yourself up to the slippery way she has with time and memory, it is so bloody perfect.
It by Stephen King - I never would have picked this one up without my husband's urging. Somehow he knew it was the right King for me. And I still have moments of blind terror when I think of it. And I still struggle with certain parts. But I fell absolutely in love with those outcast kids, the summer of 1958, and Bill.