Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Enough Hours in the Day

It's crazy. For years I have been trying to accomplish reading 200 books in one year. I think I thought if I read that many it would decrease the size of my TBR pile (always a good thing) and I would actually get to read a lot of the books that I want to read and never get around to.

Fast forward to 2009. It is July and I have read over 200 books already. You know what that made me discover? It would decrease the size of my TBR pile if the vast majority of those had came from my TBR pile, but I decided to coincide my massive reading year with the year that I get addicted to the library. Do I feel like I am making a big dent on all the books I want to read? Nope! As quickly as I read them, there are still way more on my wish list. I am reading faster than I normally do and still feel like I am not reading enough. There are just so many books that I want to read!

The other thing I noticed is that I have to stop starting and stopping books. I rearranged my bookshelves and the amount of books with bookmarks in them was rather embarassing. I was pulling them out and I had quite a pile when I was done! Just think how much smaller my TBR pile would be if I actually read those books, huh? I always say I am going to do better on this, but I never do. I just felt the need to point it out. So, list time!

Ten Books I Have Started, Almost Finished, and then Stopped Reading:

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - I was enjoying it, I got about halfway through, and then I just stopped...

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susan Clarke - I think I would probably wind up considering this book at the top of my favourite reads of all time, but yet... I DIDN'T FINISH IT! I was loving it, and then I just stopped...

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey - This book is like 900 pages like. I was in the 700 to 800 page range and apparently stopped reading it. It is not my normal sort of read, but I actually did like it... So, why did I stop reading it?

The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny - I have the collected works. I read the first couple stories with no problems, but now the bookmark is the middle somewhere and I keep picking it up, reading a bit, and then putting it down again. They are not even long books!

The Book of Dreams by O.R. Melling - I loved the first three books in this series, and then I just stopped reading. I pulled the bookmark out of this book the other night because I am going to have to start it again for sure!

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I read these when I was a child. Loved them, actually. I have started a reread of the series about five times and I still think I am only up to the Horse and it Boy, or however the title is worded. And, I love this series!

Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb - This is one of my favourite trilogies of all time! Actually, the Fool would be on my list of favourite characters ever when I get around to doing a male list. But, I haven't read this one yet. I have started it like ten times. I just don't want the trilogy to end, I think. I have like all of her other books to read, though, so it really shouldn't bother me...

Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong - I forgot Paige on my list of least favourite characters of all time. It's her fault that I can't read this book. I wanted to KILL her in Dime Store Magic. The funny thing is that I read a later book and she was in it and she wasn't as bad, but yet I can't read the next book in the series... I just can't get passed my severe annoyance with her. So, yes, keep starting and stopping this book.

The Crimson Petal and the White - Another book I have started a bunch of times and not finished. I haven't decided if I like what I have read yet or not, but I still should read on in it.

Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien - I started this back when I bought it. Got about 100 pages in and put it to the side. Then, I was supposed to buddy read it with Nymeth. Got about 100 pages in and put it to the side... I am not sure what it is that not working for me. I will have to try again one of these day!

That's just the tip of the iceberg. If you are paying attention, a lot of these books are big. I think I get bored even if I love a book if it is too long sometimes. I mean to go back after a brief detour and then never do. Then, there are the books in series that I love. Some, I just don't want to end, while others... I am worried that the book will destroy the series for me.

What about you? What are some books you have started and stopped a bunch of times? Any idea why it is, or does it just seem to happen?


  1. I also have a bookmark in The Historian. I haven't made any progress in it in months but I was enjoying it.

    For the Zelazny books, see if you can find the audio books. Zelazny read them himself and they are wonderful to listen to.

  2. Yeah, I have a about half a dozen, maybe more. Often they're short stories or non-fiction that I *say* I'm reading slowly, ho ho. Just an excuse - I buy some books, all excited, and then they don't live up to my expectations. I did finish The Historian though and it's well worth it. And I also have a load of Robin Hobbs on mt tbr pile. Only read the first three Assassin books but loved them so much that I can't understand why I'm not zipping through the others.

  3. This never happens to me with books I'm enjoying, but if I don't really like a book and don't want to admit it to myself, I often stop reading it by putting it aside to read another book, telling myself I'll finish it when I've read this other, more exciting book. That's where all my bookmarks get lost. I have quite a few "unfinished" like this, I should probably just give them away and reclaim my bookmarks.

  4. most all the time I stop a book, that's it for me.. but like you I have one book that I keep saying I will go back and finish and thats Jonathan Strange.
    But you are right in that they are all very big books! I did read and finish the Historian, and although it's not "my thing" I did enjoy the book, and that says a lot!
    Many times one could get tired of reading a big book even though enjoying it.. just need new characters and new stories.. I hope you go back to those books especially since you are/ were enjoying them!

  5. 200 books already! I'm so impressed! I thought I was doing good because I'm creeping up on 100.

  6. I've had the same problem with the Historian. I don't know why I stopped; I just did. I liked it, but I guess I wasn't "hooked". It's not often that I stop reading with the idea of finishing later; I have many, but compared to the total TBR pile, they are only a few...

    And I absolutely agree about Paige! I read both books with her, but it was extremely painful.

  7. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I've done the same thing with some of the same books you listed. It took three tries for me to read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - it was worth it in the end, but something about it made me slug through it.

    My excuse is always that there is a "right" time for every book to be read. Which clearly means this was a wrong time to read it :)

  8. Hey, I was also halfway into The Chronicles of Narnia but I just didn't finish it. I also started on Huckleberry Finn sometime back, but I left halfway through. I have no clue why, now that I remember it. I agree with saveophelia, there is a right time for some books, a right mood. Sometimes I finish boring books in a flash, sometimes I leave a good book midway.

  9. I typically only start a book again only once. If I still can't make it through the next time then that book wasn't meant to be read by me! :)

    On another note, you've already read 200 books?! I think I just about fainted! haha... I wonder what your end total will be. How exciting.

  10. Both Jonathan Strange and Glass Books of the Dream Eaters are chunksters that I got about a third of the way through, was LOVING, and then inexplicably went on to something else and have never gotten back to them. It is a shame, really.

    Oddly enough I just reread my Children of Hurin review last night and all the comments...we had a good Tolkien, LOTR films, Narnia discussion going on towards the end of those comments and it was fun to rehash all that. Hurin is a book you have to be in the mood for. It is a heavy, tragic book and I for one am not always in the mood for that kind of read. I have been thinking about picking it up and rereading it again though.

    I've brought The Historian home from the library once...maybe twice...and never read more than a couple of chapters before giving up. I don't know why because I enjoyed what I read.

    It is a strange thing when this happens and I'm sure there are some people who don't do this at all, but I've come to accept that it is a part of what makes me me.

  11. I've started and stopped Gone With the Wind 3 times. Embarrassing. Everyone I know says it's a must read, especially given the fact that I live in the Deep South. But, I had small children running around my feet during two of those attempts, so I'm hoping to try again, soon.

  12. Sigh, I could do with more hours in the day. I'm glad bad at putting books aside, even if I'm not enjoying them, so I can't think of any. But this post reminds me that I've yet to review The Children of Hurin. Ooops :P

  13. Anonymous5:38 PM

    O_O You've already read over 200 books? (Stupid question, I know. You've said so and I can see it in the sidebar.)

    Hun, I want to switch places with you, massive TBR pile and all.

    Mm... Books I've started and never finished... I think the only one I have some desire to finish is Dreamsongs by George R.R. Martin. All the rest are coursebooks I was never assigned in full and books I've no intention of finishing. (I fail at not finishing books. This may be a good thing.)

    It's an interesting list, yours, though. Maybe you really are just not much of a long-book reader... I don't really know why I stopped reading Dreamsongs. Possibly because, being shorter works, it lost momentum, having to restart over and over. I mean, it is a pretty darn large anthology and I know I didn't enjoy must of the section I did read. (So long ago that that's all I remember.)

    Also, where your TBR pile is concerned... Isn't it so that, if you hadn't read these books now, they'd have ended up on your TBR/reading pile eventually anyway? So it might not seem like you got a whole lot crossed off, but you did. They just weren't on the list until after you'd read it. If that makes sense.

    I do really like saveophelia's comment on 'right' time to read a book. I've had that with Pratchett. I could not get through his works when I was younger. It wasn't the humour, it wasn't... anything except the very strong desire to throw them against the wall at the first page. I decided to try again years later and bam. Instant-fan.

    I guess that might also tie in a little with books 'speaking' to a person. I've had that more often. When a book you're not planning on getting to is lying there going "Read me. Read me." until you pick it up.

  14. I've started and stopped both Crimson Petal and The Historian. Congratulations on hitting 200 so fast!

  15. here I thought I was kicking serious butt at 104 books!! Wow!! I really enjoyed the Historian so I hope you get a chance to finish that one. It is refreshing to see another Hobb fan!! I love the fool too...I don't want to start this series either because I don't want to say goodbye to this character. I keep anxiously awaiting something new from her!!!

  16. I am SO impressed (and a bit envious) that you have read 200 books this year!! Kudos to you!!
    I would love to get 100 read but haven't ever reached that goal yet.

    For me, I've realized that it's my mood or what is going on in my life that effects my not finishing a book. I've stopped reading a book several times to go back to it and wonder why I stopped or didn't like it. I do think that it is the big, long books that are harder to stick with also. I hope that you can finish The Crimson Petal & the's one of my favorite books, so rich and detailed. I have it on my keeper shelf of books and would love to go back and re-read it one day.

  17. Goodness! Already read 200 books! I think I'll be lucky if I read the 90 that I was hoping to get to. In total awe!!

    As far as books I've started and stopped numerous times, the biggest in my mind are Vanity Fair and A Tale of Two Cities. Done that so many times that I just finally completely gave up on them.

  18. congrats on reading 200 books already! that's an accomplishment.

  19. I feel you! I don't start and stop books that often, though. I usually finish the ones I start reading and if I don't like them, I've learned to stop and move on.

  20. Just wanted to let all you Hobb fans know that there IS a new book out by her that is set in the Realm of the Elderlings universe - it's called the Dragon Keeper. :)

  21. I used to feel so guilty about all the unread books I own but I've just realized that even if I somehow manage to miraculously read them all I'll just replace them with more lol.

    I tend to start a book or a series and don't stop till I finish it.


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