Books I DNFed in 2019

The ability to put down a book I wasn’t enjoying is only something I’ve been able to accomplish in the past couple of years. I would often slog through stories I didn’t care about because I was a completionist, and I guess didn’t care that reading sometimes didn’t bring me joy. I’ve recently started recording my DNFs, and I think I might have missed a few from the beginning of the year. I’m also not counting books I bought/checked out from the library and only read a few pages of before quitting. Prepare yourselves for some spicy takes! Also, it feels weird including affiliate links for books I didn’t enjoy, so I’m not gonna do that.

Actor Ewan MacGregor throws down a piece of paper and howls in frustration.

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek – I discovered this audiobook when I was browsing Hoopla and thought it would be good to listen to in the car. The subject matter is definitely within my wheelhouse, but I just wasn’t into this book. Part of it might have been the accent that the narrator was using (I’m extremely picky about narrators and Southern accents). I might have kept reading this if I had picked up the print copy, but I think I just tried to read this at the wrong time. 

The Ruin of Kings – I picked this book up because of the hype I had heard from booktubers. I have a few people whose judgment I trust, but this choice let me down. I’m always looking for fantasy by women authors, which is why I was excited about this series. That’s why it was extra upsetting to me when I saw how underdeveloped the female characters were in this book. I actually have the ARC for the second book in this series, The Name of All Things, on my shelf, and I’ve heard that it’s almost a completely different story with different characters. I might give it a try and see what happens. Also, I was really intrigued by the plot of the first one – a “chosen one” story in which the character brings about destruction rather than salvation – but as I was reading it, I didn’t find a reason to care.

The Furies – I really, really wanted to like this one. I was super excited when the publisher sent it to me, and I saved it to read in October. My main issue with this book was the tone. I could not for the life of me figure out what the author was going for. Based on the book’s description, I was expecting a Pretty Little Liars type mystery but with witchcraft and feminism. The author is clearly knowledgeable about feminist theory and art history, but I only know this as a reader because the main character (who is in high school) was constantly referencing all these things that the author (a doctoral student) has apparently studied. It felt like the book was taking itself too seriously, and I couldn’t tell who the intended audience was. Also, there were so many cliches.  Admittedly, I only read the first few chapters, so the author could have done something new and interesting with all of her established tropes, but I guess I’ll never find out. 

Where the Crawdads Sing – Remember how I said I was really picky about narrators using Southern accents? Well, I’m also picky about authors writing about the South, especially if they don’t live there. Yes, I’m aware that Delia Owens spent her childhood in Georgia and frequently visited the mountains of North Carolina. Y’all know where this book is set? The coastal marshes. And she lives in Idaho now. Her depictions of the Southern landscape read like someone who is remembering it through the lens of nostalgia and did a little research about the beach to fill in the gaps. She can probably get away with it because she’s a nature writer and very good at what she does. I know a lot of people love her writing style, but it just didn’t connect with me. Also, that poetry is not good. Don’t @ me. (Actually, please do @ me, because I love talking about books.) If you’re also one of the few people who didn’t enjoy this book, you should check out the BookRiot podcast bonus episode where they discuss their feelings about this book.

If you have any similar – or very different- opinions, let me know! 

Happy reading. 

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