Monday, November 14, 2011

Recent DNF's

  Here are three books that I've not been able to finish in the last week:

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.  I've actually read it before, several years ago, but aside from disliking the ending I don't remember much about the book at all.  When my Classics book group selected it for November's discussion I picked it up again.  However I only got about 100-150 pages in before I couldn't handle it anymore.  I found Isabel to be annoying this time around and I just don't think I had the patience to deal with James' very descriptive (and to me, sometimes rambling) writing style.

The Bomber by Liza Marklund.  Judith at leeswammes really enjoyed this book; and since she and I have similar tastes, and the book sounded interesting, I thought I'd give it a try.  The main event happens right away, but I found that it almost takes a back seat to the the media covering the story, and of the primary character's struggle to maintain the work-life balance.  I got bored.  I also found the translation of the edition I read to be hard to follow sometimes. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I admit, the premise of this novel didn't interest me that much, but I bought into the buzz/hype surrounding its release and I picked up the audio version and started listening in the car driving to and from work. The first part of it seemed interesting but the magic stuff lost me and unfortunately I let my mind wander and I lost the storyline. I'll probably go back to this one again when I'm taking an extended road trip.

If you've read any of these books, can you give me a good argument for going back to them one day?


  1. Suzanne, I had a good chuckle when I read your comments on the HJ novel. I went through a phase in my early 20s (a long, long time ago) where I read everything Henry James wrote. This went on for a year, or so. One morning I picked up the James novel I was reading at the time, thought about it for a moment and said to myself, "This guy writes like crap!" I have never read another Henry James novel, and haven't had one on the bookshelf for 30+ years.

    The bottom-line-- I'll not be trying to talk you into picking up The Portrait of a Lady, or any other novel by Henry James. ;-) Cheers! Chris

  2. I have always wanted to try something by Henry James, and have a copy of The Golden Bowl that I have been too intimidated to read. From what I have heard, he is very wordy and can be obtuse at times, so I keep putting it off. Maybe I will finally read it next year in my classics challenge!

  3. Pity about The Bomber! I actually enjoyed reading about the work/life struggles.

    I'm now reading The Night Circus which I'm still enjoying at page 35. We'll see....


What do you think? Good or bad, I'd love to hear from you (but be nice - I'm sensitive!)