Friday, July 31, 2020

When You Can't Say Something Nice: The DNF Files

I wrote a lengthy introduction to this list of books I've DNF'ed so far this year. I said that even though the books didn't agree with me, I'd try to say something positive, but then I somehow deleted what I'd written with a swipe of my meaty forearm. Now I don't feel quite so nice. 

1. Normal People - Sally Rooney. Novel.
I grew bored with Connell and Marianne. Hate to admit it. I love reading about Irish people. It also occurred to me that I might be too old for this book, and that was just feckin' depressing.

2. The Dirt on Clean - Katherine Ashenburg.  Nonfiction.
A history about how people have reconciled their hatelove and lovehate about hygiene through the ages. Fun, quirky premise, but too many margin notes! As much of that as there is text. Drove my eyes and brain batty.

3. Pox- Michael Willrich. Nonfiction.
Around the turn of the 20th century, there was a big outbreak of smallpox across the United States. Sort of like now, there were people dedicated to listening to science, and people dedicated to listening to NOBODY. Aaaaarrrrgh! I had to put Pox aside. Couldn't deal with the stupid outside my door coupled with stupid from 120 years ago.

4. The Plague - Albert Camus. Novel.
Although there were poignant penciled notes throughout the book written by a past reader (1994) to future readers (me, 2020) about how great the book is and how awesome we are as readers to appreciate it, I couldn't respond in turn and stopped reading during the first chapter. Didn't care for the translation. But I feel as if I'll try The Plague again someday. Meanwhile, this copy is back on the library shelves waiting for that next ardent reader.

5. The One Thing - Gary Keller. Nonfiction/Self-help.
The premise of Keller's book: Find out the one thing in your life that really interests and excites you and do that. Forget about trying to be good at several other things. Just immerse yourself. I'm not sure Keller's one thing is writing. I found his style jumbly and disorganized and for a short book, it was overly long. I bailed halfway, but I will say three nice things: I liked the premise, I liked the part about Olympic champion Michael Phelps, and I liked the discussion of willpower as a renewable resource rather than a firm character trait.


Ruthiella said...

Why one dislikes or gives up on a book is often as interesting as why one likes it. Your list was entertaining and I chuckled at your comment that writing might not be the one thing for Gary Keller. :D

I didn't care for Normal People either.

Marg said...

I listened to Normal People. I am not sure I could read it.

Care said...

What Ruthiella said!

And, yea. "Normal People who are not my age"?