Top Ten Tuesday: Books I (Probably? Maybe?) Gave Up on Too Soon

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Books I Decided to DNF (did not finish) Too Quickly. For a long time (aka most of my reading life), I would never give up on a book. Even if I hated it or was bored to tears, I would keep reading until I reached the end. But more recently, I’ve decided life is short and there are a ton of books (aka too many) on my TBR list. So last year, I started giving up on books. At first, I would give myself 50-100 pages before giving up, but more recently, I’ll only read a chapter or two, maybe check Goodreads for reviews, and decide if a book is worth my time or not. Still, there are probably some books I could have tolerated until the end but gave up too soon. Here are ten.

Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood: This is one I recently marked as DNF. I’ll admit part of it was because when it came in at the library it made me think of a self-published book and I was a little hesitant to read it. (Hey look, I did judge a book by it’s cover and design and size and weight and… you get it.) The book was about an airplane wingwalker and I read about two chapters before I became annoyed with the main character and the cliche descriptions. Did I give up too soon?

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo: When I put this book on hold from the library, it sounded absolutely amazing! A dark retelling of The Little Mermaid? Sirens that steal the hearts of princes? Whoa, baby! Instead, I read 153 pages and nothing was happening. Paired with my prediction that it would be cliche and boring (and the romance would overwhelm everything else), I decided to give this one up. Also, the inside cover synopsis did not match the story at all, and I was confused. (But dang, it made for great bookstagram pictures.)

American Panda by Gloria Chao: After adoring the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han, I was looking forward to another cute YA contemporary about an Asian-American protagonist. Instead, this book felt cliche and stereotypical and not cute at all. From the 99 pages I read, the love interest felt forced, the main character and her family were obnoxious, and the plot was non-existent. I gave it up because I didn’t want to be disappointed.

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: I was told this book was “Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider set in space” and while I love the concept, the first 92 pages were so boring. The narrators switched back and forth, but I couldn’t tell them apart, despite that one was a girl and one was a boy. Plus, there was so much telling and so many random backstory tangents that I was cringing was a I read. Still, the story… so cool.

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Multiple Authors: Every once and a while, I’m in the mood for a collection of short stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far into this one because the stories didn’t interest me like previous ones had. I might pick it up again in the future when I’m in the mood, though.

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray: I read most of Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, and while there were parts that I hated, the story line was intriguing and delightful. Thus, I was excited for her new series Defy the Stars, especially with how gorgeous that cover is. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far before giving it up. I was bored and couldn’t connect to the characters. I might try reading it again in the future, but for now, I’m letting it go.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: Okay, okay, I’m not sure why I even bothered to read this one after loathing the Divergent trilogy. But it’s a science-fiction book, not dystopian, and I thought maybe, just maybe, she found a better genre to write. I was wrong. So wrong. After reading 116, picking out way too many Star Wars rip-offs, and talking to a fellow reader who got farther than me, I gave it up. But dang, that cover. Dang that synopsis. Dang it, Roth! I might have to listen to the audiobook someday like I did with Divergent. That was at least tolerable.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: Honestly, I read probably about 95% of this book for an English class in high school. I should have just finished the dang book and been done with it, but nope, I never read the last couple chapters. At this point, is it even worth it?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: I bet if I tried to read this now, I would get more out of it. But when I received this book for review, it was just not my cup of tea. For one, it was non-fiction/self-help/whatever, and second, the first half (or chapters?) were about the authors experience at some weirdo convention to make an Introvert into an Extrovert (???). I just couldn’t sift through the important parts during all her random stories. But I’ve heard good things about this book.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: I don’t remember how old I was when I picked this up to read. I think it was recommended to me because it’s children’s fantasy. But something about it put me off and I sent it back to the library in a hurry. Now, I think if I read it I would probably either enjoy it more or at least appreciate it.

Should I give any of these a second try? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to join the link up!

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I (Probably? Maybe?) Gave Up on Too Soon

  1. I am so forever envious of everyone who has pushed back at their stubbornness when it comes to DNFing a book. I have such a hard time with that. I can see why you gave up on some of these. In particular, Carve the Mark, Catch-22 and To Kill A Kingdom. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love to DNF books that I don’t get into. I think you’ve made the right choices with this particular list. And thank you for the heads up that Roth is Roth and that since I didn’t like the bulk of the Divergent trilogy I maybe shouldn’t read her other work either.

    Catch-22: If you’ve read most of it and you weren’t inspired to finish it, don’t bother. It’s more of the same, as I recall.

    Golden Compass: You probably don’t need to re-read it. I read it as an adult (shortly out of college I think?) and didn’t like it. I finished it because friends loved it and I felt guilty. I even started the second one, but I DNF’d that one. No amount of guilt will get me to try to read that series again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to know about Catch-22 and The Golden Compass. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wasn’t a fan of The Golden Compass (of the people who actually read it as opposed to just complained about it).

      And yeah… I’ve officially given up on Roth. She may have some writing ability somewhere, but I think the publishers tend to rush her books for some reason.


      • Yeah, it seems like anyone I talk to who’s read The Golden Compass loved it. I tend to feel very lonely in my opinion about it. 🙂

        I think Roth needs a good editor who isn’t afraid to tell her that she has good ideas but needs to spend more time polishing the story. Ah well.


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