Life’s too short to slog through a book you don’t like

I had been looking forward to the very popular bestseller The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The New York Times has this description on their best seller’s list :

A painting smuggled out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a bombing becomes a boy’s prize, guilt and burden.

Ok, that description doesn’t exactly make me want to rush to the bookstore but still, I looked forward to Tartt’s latest book. I put my name on the list at the library and was pleased to get notification that I could check it out electronically. Alas, I didn’t pay attention to the icon when making my reservation and received the audio version. I promptly signed up again. I was 70 in line but finally…finally I received the book.

Crushing disappointment. I slogged through a good number of pages before abandoning this best seller. Some gave it 5 star reviews. Good for you guys if you liked it but wow…….. I have too many books on my to-read list to persevere through one that doesn’t grab me. Different strokes, right?

Recently I finished The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, In the Woods by Tana French and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In each of those novels I was there with the characters.

I felt as if I were in the room putting an investigation together with Cassie and Rob in French’s book. The frustration of our main character in The Weight of Blood was palpable, something to which you could relate. With The Road you can imagine the biting cold, the hopelessness combined with great love between the Man and his son. Getting lost in a story is pleasurable. You don’t want to leave the characters but continue on with their story and travel with them, work through the scary parts, the romantic escapades, the heartbreak.

Reading The Goldfinch I was keenly aware that I was reading.

Well written doesn’t necessarily mean engaging. The characters didn’t grow on me and I was never lost in the moment. Having zero empathy for Theo Decker it was becoming a chore for me to read. I flat out didn’t like him. Rather, I should say I was indifferent to him but as he is the main character, it’s hard to invest in the scenarios and move along in the story with him.

Tartt painted very descriptive scenes but they were overkill. She imparted the idea and set the scene but for some reason kept telling you about three paragraphs later. Ok, ok, got it! This isn’t a book review because I didn’t finish it. It’s not the first book I have abandoned and certainly won’t be the last, best seller or not.

Have any of you read this book or anticipated it? I invite anyone who reads my ramblings (yes, all three of you!) to share your thoughts on books abandoned.


9 thoughts on “Life’s too short to slog through a book you don’t like

  1. I read The Goldfinch recently too, and while I thought it was “okay” I totally agree with you that I was aware that I was reading the book the entire time. I finished it just because I find it hard to give up on books – even when I KNOW it’s not going to get any better. I’m glad I listened to the audio, because that made it much easier to tolerate.


  2. That is so crazy. I was just talking to a friend who I highly recommended this book to (I loved it) and she was trying to be kind because I loved it so much. Guess it is an acquired taste. I do agree that if you don’t like something, like is too short to slog through it.


    • I’m glad you liked it,Debra. I know many who thought it was amazing but this one didn’t grab me. I was so conscious of reading instead if being absorbed.
      I really looked forward to this one too! Won’t be the last best seller I don’t finish.


  3. Oh I know just what you mean about knowing you’re reading. I hate when I can’t really immerse myself in a book for whatever reason. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one and from what you say about the likability of the characters I think I’d be on the negative end of this one. You’re absolutely right life is too short (and there are too many great books) to slog through a book you don’t like.


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