Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Unfinished Business: The DNF Files

I hate giving up on books, and I hate admitting it all the more. There's all that guilt. It was MY fault. Not the writer's. (The only exception to this was when I failed to finish Atlas Shrugged back in 2005. Ayn Rand takes all the blame for that one. If she weren't dead, I'd call her up and yell at her.)

Since I'm such a big fan of Nancy Pearl's and she doesn't hesitate to admit that she doesn't finish books, I've decided to get over it and announce my unfinished business right here. These are the 3 books I gave up on in 2007: (I'm pretty sure there won't be any more DNFs; I like everything I'm reading, and that'll take me up to the end of the year.)

1. Daisy Fay And The Miracle Man - Fannie Flagg [I really liked Fannie Flagg on Match Game and I think it's really cool that she and Rita Mae Brown were once close friends, but this first novel of hers just didn't do anything for me. The narrator's voice seems so thin and monotonous. I was dying for an aspirin by the time I quit on page 132.]

2. Skinny Bitch - Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman [Please believe me; I didn't pick up this book because Posh Spice was seen carrying it around. I had no idea. I just liked the title. Obviously I wasn't offended by the bad language and verbal abuse as some readers were; what bugged me were the lists and lists AND lists of name-brand organic food that would be almost impossible to find outside of NYC or LA. I took Skinny Bitch to book group a couple of months ago and begged someone to take it. Liz kindly complied, and reported back that she was offended by the language.]

3. The Master And Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov [I'm not much of a fan of Russian literature or magical realism, and when you put 'em together...not my cup of borscht. I really really REALLY did try to finish this novel, however, but finally admitted defeat about 110 pages from the end. Gotta lotta guilt here; this feels like MY fault. After giving up, it felt as if 20 points had been deducted from my IQ. I had to keep asking myself, "What would Nancy Pearl do?" To end with an almost-non sequitur, I'd like to say that if they ever make a movie of this book, Ian McShane should play the devil.]

I shouldn't feel so uncomfortable about admitting my DNFs, but there it is. I hope I won't have any in 2008.

12 comments:

kookiejar said...

I've had The Master and the Margarita on my list for ages, and you had talked me out of it until you said Ian McShane should play the devil from it. Now I'm curious. :D

And there is no shame in not finishing a Ayn Rand novel. :P

Sam Houston said...

Only three?

Now I really feel bad about quitting on 14 this year...a personal high for me. :-(

Bookfool said...

I never think to write down my DNFs. I just set them aside or give them away and forget about them. They happen; don't feel bad. I wish I hadn't finished a few of the books that I shoved my way through.

joemmama said...

Oh geeze....I'm sorry you didn't like Atlas Shrugged. It is my favorite book of all time! I have re-read it every couple of years since I was 14 and I'm really old now ;-( I didn't finish Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, recently, and felt so guilty!

Bybee said...

Kookiejar,
I was slackjawed with amazement that Ayn Rand's book ever got published in the first place. I hope you like The Master and Margarita.

Sam,
So you don't have any guilt? You're so lucky!

Joemmama,
I guess Ayn Rand's just not for me.

Bookfool,
I wish The Witch of Portobello had been a DNF. Ugh!

~quoting beth said...

Skinny Bitch? Yeah - I didn't finish it either and you are spot on about the lists! Crap!

LisaMM said...

Don't feel guilty. Life's too short to spend hours of your life on a book you don't like. I did a post on books I've abandoned back in Oct., and just had to go look at it before I could leave my comment so I could remember what they were. I guess I put them out of my mind pretty quickly. Here's the post:
http://lisamm.wordpress.com/2007/10/25/booking-through-thursday/

Dewey said...

Ha ha, I love what you said about Rand.

I have no idea how many DNFs I had this year, but it's a whole lot more than three! In fact, what bookfool said probably applies perfectly to me. I don't think it's a failure on your part or the author's (well, sometimes the author's). It's just that you're a human being, not a robot, and you have tastes and moods and patience levels, and all that is ok!

Carrie K said...

I had a shocking amount of DNF's on my list this year, not that I intend to finish every book I pick up from now on. I'm only human. ;)

Skinny Bitch wasn't even one of the titles. I couldn't get through Atlas Shrugged either.

Dark Orpheus said...

Ah, you're been too hard on yourself for not finishing a few books. Life is too short, and too many books are published every year.

The "Skinny Bitch" story was really funny. You actually begged someone to take it away?

I am with you on Ian McShane. But I liked him better clean-shaven like when he was on Woody Allen's "Scoop"

Oh, almost forgot! Merry Christmas!

Nyssaneala said...

I completely agree with you about Ayn Rand. I DNF The Fountainhead this year, and wanted to throw it across the room. If you ever would call her up from the great beyond, we could make it a 3-way conference call. :)

jenclair said...

I don't give up on books easily, so when I do, I feel no shame.

One thing that WILL encourage me to give up on a book that I'm not enjoying (regardless of its reputation)is having a book that I'm dying to read staring me in the face.