Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read

top ten tuesday

Each week, The Broke and the Bookish holds Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book blogging meme. This week, we’re talking about books that we’re not sure we want to read. I’ve chosen ten from my shelf that I vaccilate back and forth between reading and not reading. Some of these I’ve picked up multiple times but either still didn’t start reading them or didn’t finish reading them.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

2. The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

3. The Wanting Seed, Anthony Burgess

4. Out of Oz, Gregory Maguire

5. The Boy Detective Fails, Joe Meno

6. A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers

7. Atonement, Ian McEwan

8. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

9. A Long Fatal Love Chase, Louisa May Alcott

10. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

Maybe one day I’ll finish one, if not all, of these. But we’ll see. Are there books here that you love? Books that you hate? What books do you tend to pick up and then put back down?

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  1. Atonement was the first Ian McEwan book I ever read and I loved it. I’ve read just about everything else by him since then, earlier books and later ones. Having said that, I thought I’d re-read Atonement a while ago and I just couldn’t be bothered to wade through the elaborate prose. The style is supposed to convey the English upper classes of the 1940s, and that makes it pretty heavy going. I’d definitely recommend Saturday, Solar and Sweet Tooth though.

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    1. That’s the second vote for Saturday that I’ve seen, so it might go on the TBR list. I don’t have any object to McEwan, really, as I haven’t read anything that he’s written yet. I just dislike the way that (at least in the film) the past/present shift happens in Atonement. I feel like that’s a writer’s trick that’s too easy to see through. I had a similar reaction to the end of Life of Pi.

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  2. If you were curious to try Ian McEwan, but wanted less of a commitment, you might try On Chesil Beach–or, even better, Saturday. Saturday was wonderful.

    Loathing A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius openly and with no apologies was one of my grandest accomplishments in high school. A girl who had my name, my grades, my languages, and the affections of a boy I wanted, decided to talk about the book as if it had been penned by a god. And, meticulously documented by the Blackboard forum system our school was guinea pig for, I lacerated the book, with glee. My teacher, fed up with what was honestly a biblical amount of perfection, in all areas, on my rival’s part, cheered me on. Dave Eggers is a fine editor, and I loved, for a time, what he did with The Believer. But AHWOSG is just awful.

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    1. One of these days I might break into the Ian McEwan works, but I doubt it will be anytime soon. I’ve got lots of things left to read for dissertation/comps, so reading for pleasure is, unfortunately, pretty far away right now. Atonement won’t be the book I choose, though. lol

      And that’s hilarious about AHWOSG. It is just one of those books that from its very title bothers me, and I’ve little assurance that the text will be better than the title.

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    1. I hated the end of the film, and the abrupt shift, so I’m not sure that I’ll enjoy the book. I don’t like the feeling that the writer/narrator has played a trick on me.

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      1. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I cannot make proper comparisons. There is a shift between the past and future in the book though, so if you didn’t enjoy the movie, you might be disappointed with the book…

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        1. Yeah, that part was what bothered me in the film. I felt tricked, and I didn’t like it overly much. I’ve heard that it’s handled a bit better in the novel but that it’s just as abrupt, which is a major reason I haven’t read it.

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  3. I struggled with life of pi – I might be alone with this one… equally with the movie, 10min into it then fell asleep.

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  4. Oh, I LOVED Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell! It’s subtly and brilliantly written, and just so quintessentially Victorian English, but weirdly supernatural. Yes, if someone were to attack me in my home, it would probably be the first book I’d fling at them, but it was totally worth the heavy-lifting. I love Atonement as well, but I didn’t step anywhere near the movie first; I suspect that made a big difference.

    As for books I haven’t been able to finish, I think the only one I’ve tried multiple times and failed at each attempt is Wuthering Heights. I don’t know what it is about that book, but I’ll get about a quarter of the way through, roll my eyes, and give up. If someone could convince me that it gets better, I’d try again, but nobody has so far!

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    1. haha….I read the first 50 pages of Jonathan Strange, and it was just taking so long to get to the real story that I put it down. I was also in the midst of a master’s thesis, and it wasn’t very good for light reading. As for Atonement, I’m pretty happy that I watched the film first—I hate getting into a book only to have that sort of trick ending that happens in Atonement.

      I tried to get through Wuthering Heights soooo many times before I finally had to read it for an exam. I still didn’t love it, but I’m glad I read it.

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  5. I’m the kind of reader where you have to “have me at hello.” I have a few books I’ve been trying to read for a year- and now that I’m thinking about it I will probably just cart them off to Goodwill.

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    1. I have a difficult time giving books away, but it’s about time for me to clean out my bookshelf again. I have a tendency to finish a book once I start it, but there are a few that I just haven’t been able to finish.

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  6. I haven’t read any of these, so I can’t really recommend any. I’ve felt the same way with Atonement though. I’ve wanted to read it, but I just don’t know if it’ll be something I really enjoy. There are so many other books out there I’d rather read because I know I’ll like them.
    My TTT

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  7. Ian McEwan just doesn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t even like the film Atonement. Your other choices sound like great reads! After seeing the musical I really want to read the Wicked books.

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    1. No, and I think that was part of the mistake I made if I were going to read it—I watched the movie first, and I hated it.

      And I read the first 3 Wicked books—Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion among Men. I really do like Maguire. Wicked was amazing. Son of a Witch was pretty good. But by the time I got to A Lion among Men, the story-line had become too convoluted for me, and I was bored. I just can’t decide to finish the series.

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  8. Ugh, I owned A Long Fatal Love Chase for YEARS…. never got past the first page. I know it’s the kind of stuff Louisa May started out with but… yeah, that one would be on my list!

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      1. Same.. I finally parted with it in my last book-purge-due-to-move. Realized I’d been carrying the thing around for over a decade and never, really, was going to read it.

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