It was a difficult week for Top Five Wednesday. This was a hard list because I have a habit of dragging myself through every book I ever pick up. Even if I don’t like it. Chelsey is similar, but not to the same level as me. his week on Top Five Wednesday, Chelsey and I talk about the Top Five Books We DNF (Did Not Finish).
I need to finish things because I need to know what happens. Sometimes the last forty novels can make a novel for me. It’s happened before. Maybe I’m just optimistic?
This week we talk about the books that we managed to not finish. Some of them we had no interest in, others upset us. We may return to them in the future, only time will tell.
Top Five Wednesday is a book tag started by GingerReadsLainey. Join the goodreads group to get each week’s topic and participate yourselves!
5. Hard Times – Charles Dickens
This is the first book that comes to mind when I think about the books on my DNF pile. I remember getting about eight pages in and just deciding, no. I can’t do this and putting it down. I originally picked it up for a summer course I was taking in university. Hard Times wasn’t required reading for the course but it was a recommended introduction to the types of books we would be reading over the summer. Even though I didn’t like this one, I ended up liking the majority of the other books on the syllabus (Silas Marner by George Eliot was probably my favourite).
Chelsey read Hard Times for another course and agrees with me. She wasn’t all too impressed with this book. Both of us tend to find Dickens hit or miss. When he’s good he’s amazing and when he’s bad he can come off as dull. This was one of those books for us.
4. Star Girl – Jerry Spinelli
I can remember Chelsey trying to explain this book to me once and I had no interest. Chelsey read Star Girl when she was around twelve and this is the book that comes to mind first when she thinks of books that she didn’t finish. She remembers being so disgusted with it. It’s one of those “special snowflake don’t have to change for anyone” stories. There is this weird girl at school who is celebrated for her individuality and this guy falls in love with her. The school turns on her. All Chelsey really remembers is the main character walking around the school with a pet rat in her pocket.
Chelsey ended up giving the book away and feeling no sense of regret.
3. Cape Fear – John D. McDonald
In my third year, Chelsey and I were both in a film adaptation course and this was one of the books on our reading lists. I had a really hard time with this book and ended up just giving up on it. Cape Fear was written in the fifties and had that wholesome feel to it. Chelsey on the other hand finished this book and really enjoyed it. The villain made the book worth while for her, he was creepy and managed to get under her skin and felt like he was invading her personal space.
The movie was creepy and I did like it. The main difference between the original book and the film was that the film did gritify the story. In the book, the family was wholesome and good while in the movie they were splintered and falling apart. Chelsey argues that this made the book scarier. Since the family was innocent the villain is allowed to be creepier and appear more monstrous.
Cape Fear is a novel that I’ve thought about picking up and attempting to read again. Chelsey does make a lot of valid points. Who knows maybe the timing was just wrong when I first attempted to read it.
Check out Chelsey’s blog post on Cape Fear here.
2. The Strain – Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
I finished The Strain. Chelsey did not. It’s not the story that she has a problem with, it’s the execution and the writing style that made this hard for her to read. Think about Tolkien and how he tells you everything and goes into four pages to describe a sunset. This novel is the same way. It’s very visual and that’s distracting.the
The thing about The Strain is that it reads like it was meant to be a movie or a TV show but because those weren’t an option at the time, they settled on making it into a book. The TV show adaptation of The Strain is miles better than the novel.
Chelsey has thought about giving up on the first book and attempting to read the second. The story of The Strain is good, but it gets really weird. It would be interesting if the book would offer more details on the backstory of the vampires than the show has been giving.
1. Cain’s Blood – Geoffery Girard
Funny enough The Strain and Cain’s Blood were a bookswap that Chelsey and I did. I managed to finish this book. Chelsey did not.
Cain’s Blood is creepy in a sociopathic way. It’s description of violence is pretty graphic, but it’s portrayal of women is what made us the most uncomfortable. The theory that this novel puts forth is that women are incapable of becoming serial killers because they’re not able to reach the same level of violence or anger than a man. Instead women fall into three roles: the victim, a serial killer groupie or a sexy mother (you’re a caring doting mother figure but you’re still doable by the male lead. It’s a trope that became popular in WWII films).
We both had a lot of problems with this book ideologically and not to mention it wasn’t written that well to begin with.
Check out my blog post on Cain’s Blood here.
Those are the books that we DNF but what about you? Are you the type of person who can put down a book if they’re not liking it, or are you like me and have to soldier through?
Tell us about the books you didn’t finish or if you have any rebuttals to our choices tell us about them in the comments below.