There are a lot of directions I could take this. I could look at the hyped books I never really go into (probably most of them), the books I dragged myself through (mostly in school), or even the books I intentionally DNF’d. However, I have a small problem I’ve been hiding from the bookish world. I tend to start books… and never finish them.
I know, I know! But hear me out: I am involved in quite a few book clubs. Too many, one might say. And sometimes, I find that I just can’t get all the reading in for that month. So, I start a book, but I end up unable to finish it. Yet, I keep it around. I might not have been completely smitten with it, but the book is definitely worth reading and finishing. So what happens? The next month comes around and I’m drowning in book club books. The cycle continues.
Therefore, I have quite a few accidental DNFs on my To Read list. I’ve started them, but for some reason or another, I never finished it in that moment. In the case of most books below, I just needed to prioritize reading for other book clubs. But I want to finish all these books someday! So, without further ado…
All titles below are links to the series Goodreads page for all books in that particular series.
10 Books I’ve Accidentally DNF’d… and will definitely still read someday!
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
Why I Picked It Up: My Kids Lit Book Club had chosen to read The High King, 1969 Newbery Winner. But when we chose it, we didn’t realize it was the FINAL book in a series, The Chronicles of Prydain! (Really, Newbery. That’s just rude.) I didn’t give up, and I started the series from the beginning with The Book of Three.
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: About 2/3 of the way through The Black Cauldron, I got distracted. But I am on a quest to read all the Newbery Award winners before 2022, the 100th anniversary of the Newbery, and with the final book of the series on the list– well, I had best get cracking!
Mattimeo by Brian Jacques
Why I Picked It Up: I never read Redwall until I was an adult. In fact, when it was “cool” to read these books, I had long since moved on to Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time. I felt like anthropomorphic animals were beneath me. When my Kids Lit Book Club read Redwall, I realized how mistaken I had been. Young Jackie had deprived herself! I was smitten with the series and wanted to continue.
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: Unfortunately, Older Jackie was too smart for her own good. Since we had started with Redwall, I decided to read these books chronologically instead of in the order they were published. That more-or-less stopped this dead in the water. I know how that reading these as they were published is much more meaningful. On this quest, I’ll eventually reach Mattimeo again.
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Why I Picked It Up: This 2015 Nebula award winning science fiction novel was selected for a book club I used to participate in. While it’s sci-fi, it’s also classified as horror. I don’t read a lot (…any…) horror, so I was hesitant. It’s short, and I thought I could do it.
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: I refuse to be a big baby. This is an award winning novel! Everyone in book club loved it! I must be able to find some sort of horror I can read. Seriously, people. This is just embarrassing.
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Why I Picked It Up: My roommate at the time had picked up The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonasson in the airport earlier that year. When she came home, the book was immediately handed to me. I fell in love. So, we both picked up the next translated book of Jonasson’s we could get our hands on!
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: I do love Jonasson’s storytelling. While this follows a similar structure to The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, I find it fun to follow. It’s charming and humorous and probably a great vacation read.
Completely Unexpected Tales by Roald Dahl
Why I Picked It Up: Again, Kids Lit Book Club decided to read Dahl. Specifically, to compare his adult and children’s literature. Running out of time, I read about 1/3 of the collection– enough to participate in our conversations at a minimum.
Why I will Pick It Up Again: I adore short stories. Dahl’s adult short stories are QUITE different from his children’s literature, and also err on the horror side. This is another easy way for me to dip into horror without completely keeping myself up at night.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin
Why I Picked It Up: How many times have I picked this up? SO MANY. Why do I keep DNFing it? Life, man. Life. It just keeps getting in the way. I think I’ve tried over half-a-dozen times in my life to read this. *sigh*
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: Um. I love the Miyazaki film? I love everything LeGuin had written I’ve read? It’s a cornerstone of young adult fantasy? It’s supposedly BRILLIANT? Yes. All those reasons.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Why I Picked It Up: This was to be a buddy read with one of my friends; a spin-off from a book club I love. Unfortunately, it was surrounded by super fast-paced YA books in my TBR and never quite got past them.
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: It’s a classic. I don’t think I am allowed to go through life without reading Little Women. Am I?
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Why I Picked It Up: A classic novel, Fitzgerald’s works have always been high on my list of works to read. I read The Great Gatsby in high school and I know I could get more out of it. I adore The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, too. So when this was a book club pick, I jumped at it!
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: Okay, this one might be cheating. Honestly, this book didn’t really work that well for me. But I stopped when Part II began, and all my book club friends said that Part II was when things really began to get good. I trust them.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Why I Picked It Up: Is there any bibliophile who isn’t immediately drawn to books about books? After reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, I wanted to learn more about Iran’s revolution and how it changed the lives of women.
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: My DNF for this book was almost intentional. I did consciously elect to stop reading (unlike all the others I’ve mentioned)– but only due to my prioritization. This is actually one of the few books I purchased and put on a shelf to keep it at front of mind! I can’t wait to learn more about how these women’s lives were affected by all the changes in Tehran.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristoff
Why I Picked It Up: Two words – Emma Watson. I love what Emma Watson is doing with her Our Shared Shelf book club. All of the books she has selected have been extraordinarily powerful and led to great discussions in my book clubs. That said, my reading of her books has fallen off…
Why I Will Pick It Up Again: Most of the books Watson has put on the reading list lately have been too dense and challenging for me, to be honest. I want to read them all! But my life is too hard for me to sit down and really process this information. At this point, all the books she’s recommending are going on the Someday-Maybe list. Which is a serious list for serious adulting… when my mind and life are ready for such reading.
Whew! What a list and what a trip down memory lane. It was great to see all these books again and remind myself what I still have left to read. Hopefully, you’ll see some of these appear on the blog sooner rather than later!
What do you think?
- Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Share your links below!
- Do you accidentally DNF books? How do you keep track of these books for future reading?
- Which books above have you read and loved? Read and disliked?
- If you had to pick only ONE book for me to actually finish from this list– which would it be?
- What was the last book your DNF’d?