Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unfinished Business: The DNF Files

This is always the most difficult post of the year. I try to be like my hero (and girl-crush) Nancy Pearl and not sweat giving up on books. But I am no Nancy Pearl. Whimper. It pains me to give up on a book and creates additional agonies when I admit to it. Sure, there were only 3 DNFs this year, but even my fingernails hurt as I type this:

1. I Am America And So Can You - Stephen Colbert. My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is still shaking her head over this particular manifestation of dumbass on my part. I borrowed this book from Catherine in my book group right before she left Korea on her extended tour of Southeast Asia. Although I knew that I needed to read and return this book quickly, I messed around and didn't start reading until I was on the train to Seoul, only getting halfway through this delightful snortfest of a book.

2. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Garcia Marquez's beautiful and leisurely writing was at odds with the herky-jerky rhythms of my life last spring, and I couldn't concentrate. The book reproached me from the nightstand until June, when I finally realized that it just wasn't going to happen this year, and returned it to the international section of my bookshelf. This failure to finish reminds me of last year's The Master and Margarita DNF. Subtract another 5 points from my IQ, and pass my T&CIB something to calm the sobs that still rack her from time to time.

3. Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About -Kevin Trudeau. My co-worker, Zak, was impressed with this book and encouraged me to read it. As I paged through in my customary pre-read, I grew irritated with the long list of dos and don'ts that seemed incompatible with a normal person's lifestyle. Get colonic irrigations twice a month? Excuse me, Kev -- I have to work for a living! In all of the teaching workshops I've been to over the years, no one has yet devised a way to teach while hunkered down on the pot!

I also didn't like the way he would advise the reader to do something, then instead of explaining it, he'd refer you to his or some other website, or encourage you to buy another book or a DVD to find out more. The "Candida Cleanse" was something he teased the reader with in almost every chapter. If it's so vital, why not explain it in this nearly 10-dollar paperback? Grrr...I slammed Natural Cures... back into Zak's mailbox. I do regret not finishing it though -- it would've been sweet to have slagged this book in a full-length review.

Confession is good for the soul. Ouch. As always, I hope that next year's DNF files will be empty.


Anonymous said...

I have 4 DNFs that I really truly hope I can get back to someday and 1 book that I did finish that I regret I read past 10 pages. oh well!

Eva said...

I think I only had 1 DNF this year-A Sport of Nature by Nadine Gordimer-but it still hurts. I'm right in the middle of Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, and it could totally become a DNF, but I'm determined to give Oates a fair chance. Of course, that's what I said about Gordimer for months...*sigh*

Angel said...

I don't have any dnfs this year, but I'm still guilty from not finishing Ahab's Wife from several years back! I was able to get thru Love ITTOC because my book group was reading it.

You were right about Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About--it's a fraud through and through!

Congrats on reading 100 books! I didn't keep a list this year, but expect it's around 25...oh well.

Literary Feline said...

I had one DNF this year. I just got bored with the book about half way through and decided it wasn't worth my time anymore.

The only other book I didn't finish this year is one I started but stalled on. I hope to pick it up again one of these days and so don't really think it counts yet as a DNF book.

Bybee said...

I have some books that I wish had been DNFs.

I've never read any Gordimer -- she would be a great choice in my quest to read more internationally. Blonde is on my TBR shelf.

What made you stall with Ahab's Wife? Congrats on not having any DNFs this year.

Lit Kitty,
There's a sea-change you and the book go through as it goes from stalled to DNF. Shudder.

Angel said...

For the life of me, I can't say what made me stall on Ahab's Wife. I probably had started on another book that I liked better and then just kept going until I had lost the thread.