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Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I’ve always been a huge advocate of DNFing books. Reading shouldn’t feel like homework – if a book is dragging to the point where every page feels like a huge amount of effort and it doesn’t look like things are likely to improve, why bother and torture myself further out of some bizarre sense of obligation? I know there will be no feeling of accomplishment on the other side, just anger at the time I wasted slogging through bullshit that could have been spent reading a book I’d actually enjoy.

Still, making this list made me realise I don’t DNF as much as I thought – there were a few spells where I quit essentially everything I started, but they (thanks fuck) don’t happen terribly often. Now, onto the list itself!

1. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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Never have I regretted getting a physical book more. I went to some lengths to acquire the trade paperback because hey, pretty book is pretty, but that proved to be its downfall. It was so big and so unwieldy it took me months to read and by the time I arrived at around 3/4 through, I realised I have lost all interest, and quit.

2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


It honestly hasn’t committed any massive literary sins, but it sure aged horrendously (and it was published in 2012!). The sickeningly optimistic take on AI and machine learning and how will they solve all of humanity’s problems is especially egregious, with all the stories of biased hiring algorithms, tracking, and facial recognition in the news nowadays, but I was also bothered how everyone was spouting all the misconceptions about machine learning ever – a sore spot after a class I had where the professor spent the first lecture debunking them (no, computers are not about to learn to think, no it’s not magic that’ll solve any and all problems and neither is it evil, it’s just a tool, etc.) and the google worship in the last couple chapters before I quit creeped me out. Corporations are nothing to worship, dammit. Combined with an unsympathetic protagonist, I lost all desire to continue.

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


I thought it was going to be just my thing, but alas. The narration was very distant, the plot was all over the place, the worldbuilding made me yawn, and I was so, so bored. I need characters I can get attached to and here I just couldn’t bring myself to give a shit about any of it.

4. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty


Picked this up when I was in my westerns phase. Initially, it was pretty much exactly what I wanted, especially atmosphere-wise, but as I went on, the stream of (historically accurate, I guess) racism and sexism gradually wore me down. I was still interested in the plot, but I just couldn’t deal anymore.

5. The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

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The concept was sadly more interesting in theory than it was in practice. I was intrigued, yet struggling because there was no emotional connection whatsoever. Even the worldbuilding reveals, which is one of the things that makes me read on weren’t enough and I didn’t give a shit about the characters either. Plus, at the time I was reading it, I wanted westerns and this…wasn’t it.

6. Unsouled by Will Wight

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Tried it because it was free and because of the general enthusiasm surrounding it and it just reaffirmed that I shouldn’t touch progression fantasy with a ten foot pole. Ever again. It’s one of those books that are more of an excuse for the author to show off and infodump about their magic system than anything else, and the protagonist growing more powerful holds absolutely zero appeal for me. Give me character development over that shit any day.

7. A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files


Another book I tried and quit during my westerns phase. The prose was decent, the world’s very inventive, I’m always fond of non-linear timelines, and murderous sociopaths are fun to follow, but it was too dark for me. A random character observing a very graphic sex scene that went on for pages and pages and pages (I’ve never been fond of explicit sex scenes) broght me over the edge, but it honestly wasn’t looking very good before either, with the relentless racism and homophobia and transphobia of the setting.

8. Half Lost by Sally Green

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Only picked it up because the 2019 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge had a Second Chance square but nope, couldn’t do it. Everything I hated about the second book was still there, I couldn’t deal with Nathan making seemingly wrong choices and snapping at everyone over and over and over, and then I intentionally spoiled myself on the ending and rage quit.

9. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

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I haven’t actually proper quit this one yet – I still plan to go back and finish it. I simply haven’t picked it up for a good few months. I don’t know why. I like how sweet and gay it is, but something about the plot isn’t quite clicking with me as much as I’d want it to.

10. Daughter from the Dark by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko


Another book I will eventually return to. It’s a shame because it was one of my most anticipated releases, even an ARC, but I started it while in the depths of my slump and it was honestly a horrible fit. Couldn’t deal with what a terrible person the MC is either – I’m sure it’s intentional and there is a point to it, I trust the authors, but ugh, he is the worst.


11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned”

  1. Aww I was looking forward to Daughter of the Dark, at some point, but I really do not like asshole protagonists, at least not right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…I’m 100% sure he gets development, but at the point I was at, he was selfish, pathetic scum. It was actually hilarious watching him get shit on by the universe cause he’s so damn unsympathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have definitely had to learn to start DNFing–life is too short not to and I’m so glad I’ve started embracing it and you’ve been able to do it for books you’re not keen for, either! And, if you don’t want to keep your Priory copy, I’d be more than willing to work out a book trade or buy you a book in exchange (though totally understand if you’re not interested in that, either). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like I’ve not DNF’d a book in a long time… I’m rather picky about which books I pick up in the first place because I know what type of thing I liked. Although perhaps I’m missing out on expanding my horizons this way 🤷

    Liked by 1 person

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