• Emily

DNF early fall: some pretty good books that I just could not get through

Updated: Jan 11

Wow, No Thank You, Samantha Irby

Somewhere in the Dark, R. J. Jacobs

The 2084 Report, James Laurence Powell

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, Christopher Paolini


I used to make myself read every book I started. I thought that it was terrible to ditch a book. What if it gets better right after you abandoned it?

I think that the book that changed my mind was Martin Chuzzlewit. I hated this book so much. I was trying to read all of Dickens a few years ago; an anniversary of his birth or death, I can't remember. I skipped all the books I'd already read. I was disappointed in The Pickwick Papers right off. Jo March loved that book! I hated it. They kept back servant girls into corners. Gross. But I had a Reading Project, and I was determined. I got to Chuzzlewit, and it took me- I'm not kidding- four months to plow through that awful book. And since then, I've decided that there are too many books that I really, really want to read, to spend time on anything that isn't working for me.



Wow, No Thank You, Samantha Irby

I'm probably the only person who picked this up and didn't like it. I thought it was OK, but it's humor, and it just isn't to my taste. It was a big hit, so probably everyone else liked it. One thing that I did like was that, as short essays, you could pick it up and read something quick without really getting into the book. After a while, I started skipping around. I don't know, just not for me, I guess.


Somewhere in the Dark, R. J. Jacobs

This book was sad. The main character is a young woman who was abused as a young girl in the foster care system, and developed an unhealthy obsession with a country band. She stalked them and got into lots of trouble, and then after she was getting her life back together, her path crossed with theirs. This is bad, because they have a restraining order, and she's on probation. None of this is a spoiler; it's all at the beginning. After that, I believe it becomes more of a murder mystery. I was reading it at work on my lunch breaks, and I just never wanted to pick it up, so I let it go.


The 2084 Report, James Laurence Powell

I actually enjoyed this book, but about a third of the way in, I got a massive stress headache. It's fiction, but it's written as oral fiction- like Studs Terkel, but it's set in the future. It's describing likely scenarios that will play out due to global warming. I think it's actually an important book, and I was looking forward to it. I believe that if things ever calm down (post-pandemic and after the election), I'll come back to it. I've developed a nervous twitch around my mouth and I just can't deal with this. It is making me try to think of ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.


To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, Christopher Paolini

I had to let this 850 page super-chunk of sci-fi go. At least twice on one chapter, someone's hair was described as "coppery". I had the impression that it was more than twice, but I scanned through and didn't see it. There are little things like that, and once I start picking apart a book based on little things that annoy me, it's over. I read nearly a hundred pages and put it down not knowing if I was done and then after a few days I hadn't touched it, so that decided me.


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