Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I’ve Accidentally DNF’d

September 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is: books you had a hard time with.

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?


  • Laila@BigReadingLife September 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Oh my goodness, two of the books on your list are favorites of mine: Annihilation and Little Women. I have to say that Annihilation (actually the whole trilogy) didn’t scare me, really, they just creeped me out a bit and totally fascinated me. I was a little obsessed with that trilogy when it came out. And I’m a BIG OLD WIMP when it comes to scary stuff.

    I reread Little Women last fall and it was just what the doctor ordered. I’m confident that if you like Anne of Green Gables you would probably like Little Women. Maybe you could propose or find a readalong for that one? Break it into sections? I bet you’d have people who’d want to reread it or read it for the first time!

    • Jackie B September 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Brilliant! This is just the right sort of inspiration to get me to pick these books back up. I’m so glad that two favorites are on this list, even if I am a bit embarrassed I put them down. O_o

      Whew. Big Ol’ Wimps unite! I can handle creepy, for sure. And you have a great point about the relationship between Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I probably will enjoy it more this time around, and I should *certainly* get up some sort of read along or map out my reading. I need to do that with all larger books.

      You convinced me! Annihilation has been reserved from the library! 😀

      • Laila@BigReadingLife September 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        *Does little dance*

        I hope you like it. *Bites nails nervously*

        • Jackie B September 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

          This is the best response ever.

          I hope I like it too!!! But I have faith in your recommendations. 😀

  • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads September 5, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I really want to read Annihilation! I totally understand you though – I’m such a baby when it comes to horror books! I’m fine with horror movies, but for some reason, reading it makes it worse for me, haha. I want to read more horror though because they’re such good reads. I just need to get over my fear 😛

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Exactly! We need a support group or something. For me, I always end up with recurring nightmares after I read something which scares me. It’s… embarrassing? I’m a huge baby, I guess. Oops. Perhaps if I read more horror I’ll get over it? Baby steps. That’s what I need, baby steps.

      • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads September 10, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        A year or two ago I read a horror book and literally ended up sleeping with my light on for like 6 months after, hahaha. And in the grand scheme of things, this book wasn’t even that scary compared to other horror books, haha. I’m SUCH a baby!!

        • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          XD Ohmygosh. You and I must be the same person. I’ve totally done that. I hope we can both find horror books which stop doing that to us…

  • Grab the Lapels September 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    “Life, man. Life.”

    I just found Reading Lolita in Tehran in a local little free library, so now I own a copy! We can do a buddy read if you want.

    • Jackie B September 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      Preach at me. So many books, so little time.

      Oooooh! A buddy read! That would be so much fun! I’d love to do that. It would not only encourage me to read it, but then I’d also have some awesome outlet for discussion. That would be great!

  • Greg Hill September 5, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    I’ve thought many times of reading the Redwall books. And I think I did read the Earthsea books as a kid but I remember almost nothing.

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Greg! What kept you from reading Redwall? I have quite a few books I read as a child and I don’t recall reading– in fact, I recently re-read Call It Courage because I don’t recall anything about it. Oops!

  • KrystiYAandWine September 6, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Oh my gosh! I LOVE your take on this theme. Accidental DNFs are a real thing! LOL. I haven’t done it in a while, but when I used to be more of a mood reader it happened ALL THE TIME. The only one of these books that I’ve read was Little Women, but I read that in middle school, so it’s been A WHILE. Great post, lady! <3

    • Jackie B September 6, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks! It’s really nice to know that I’m not alone in this. It makes me #ReaderShame less shameful somehow. I feel bad for these books since I want to read them all! Alas. I just get distracted by the next shiny thing.

      Do you remember enjoying Little Women when you originally read it?

      • KrystiYAandWine September 7, 2017 at 11:39 am

        No reader shame! There should be no such thing, but we all feel it for some reason. There’s just too many books, too little time, and more coming out every week. 🙂

        I loved Little Women when I read it. Granted I was 13, so who knows if I would say the same now.

  • theorangutanlibrarian September 8, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I love this post and this topic! I actually have this problem with one book at a time- basically when I’ve been reading a book for ages and struggling through it for whatever reason, but that I do intend to finish, I’ll stick it on “currently reading”- but of course I won’t be reading it, until eventually I feel guilty enough and finish it.Then, once I’ve finally fixed this, I find another book to start and then leave unfinished and the cycle continues 😉
    Ah I’m terrified of horror too- so I can really relate to that one!! And I love Little Women- I highly recommend picking that one up again (if nothing else!) I really like Tender is the Night, but Fitzgerald’s writing style, while beautiful, is really hard to read. I do recommend it though (and yes more stuff happens later on) I really do want to read Lolita in Tehran at some point!

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Haha– Yes! I’m so glad that I’m not alone! I also used to do the same thing where I’d leave something “Currently Reading” forever until I’d finish it. I finally created a “Will Return” shelf on GR for the books I accidentally DNF’d. It’s been really helpful in maintaining my sanity, too– I like only having the 3-4 books I’m *actually* reading on my Currently Reading shelf.

      I’m so glad that you pointed out more stuff happens later on with Tender is the Night! I want to know what happens so badly, particularly since Fitzgerald thinks of this as his seminal work. But Part I was sooooo slow! I appreciate also your recommendation for Little Women; this has gotten more recommendations than everything else on my list! I had best get on both of these. 😀

      • theorangutanlibrarian September 11, 2017 at 10:31 am

        hahaha I’m glad I’m not the only one that does that! 😉 It’s a bit embarassing!! ahh that’s a good idea!! I should do that!! hahaha yes, cos it’s almost guaranteed I’m not currently reading what’s on my currently reading to keep the numbers lower 😉

        It does get better! And it gives you a really interesting insight into the author’s life, cos there are so many parallels. I totally get that though. hehe that’s great!! 😀

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom September 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I am a chronic book finisher, so it is very rare for me to DNF a book. I can count on both hands the number of books I DNFed in my lifetime… Sometimes I wish I could just NOT finish a book ((sigh)) but I always worry that the book will pick up and I’ll miss out OR I get to that point where I’ve already read more than 50%, so I may as well just push on lol

    What’s up with Newberry picking the last book in a series? How many books are in that series? I agree, rude!

    Confession: I’ve never read Redwall… My husband (non-reader) remember reading it as a kid and loving it, so I am very curious about it.

    Little Women! Try reading it around Christmas time 🙂 It’s a wonderful “cold weather book.”

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Wow! Do you know all the books you’ve DNF’d? That would be magical. Chronic book finishing is a problem many of our peers have. It’s a challenge! When do you give up? How do you walk away?

      According to my research, only three mid-series books have been awarded the Newbery. The High King, book 5 in the Chronicles of Prydain (and how I ended up in this mess), The Grey King the 4th book in The Dark is Rising series, and Dicey’s Song, the second book in the Tillerman Cycle. But, they haven’t awarded a book mid-series the Medal since 1983… so maybe we’re safe? Who knows. Still. Rude. There are so many extra books I need to read on my journey!

      I love it when non-readers have strong positive book memories. That always encourages me to pick up those books! Redwall is a fun middle grade fantasy-style book. It’s light reading, too. I strongly recommend it.

      I appreciate the pro-tip about reading Little Women around Christmas time! Sometimes, you need to read a book in the right season too. I never thought of that.

  • Annemieke September 9, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Usually I don’t but I’ve had this with The Last Magician recently. A challenge started and I just left it to the side. I don’t think I was in the right mood for this book either as it felt like a slower read.

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Yay! I’m glad I’m not alone, even if this was a bit of a fluke for you. Do you think you’ll be coming back to The Last Magician again in the future?

      • Annemieke September 10, 2017 at 7:32 am

        I will for sure. But other books have been drawing my attention so we’ll see when that will be.

        • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 7:34 am

          Story of my life.

  • luvtoread September 10, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Ooh the Redwall books! I actually hadn’t ever heard of this series until my sister-in-law gave me all of her old books, and this series was in the stacks. I’ve been wondering if it’s worth reading, as I haven’t seen it mentioned on blogs. Do you recommend the series?
    Also, The Wizard of Earthsea is one of my favorite books and you can really tell it’s influence in the fantasy genre 🙂 It’s definitely worth attempting that book & series again.

    • Jackie B September 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Well, I’ve only read the first Redwall book to this point. Lots of my friends adore the series! I found Redwall itself to be enjoyable. It’s a great introduction to fantasy for MG readers. The story is certainly interesting; I will certainly be continuing the series in the future!

      Thanks for the recommendation about The Wizard of Earthsea! It’s great to hear so many people talk about how much they love it. 😀

      • luvtoread September 10, 2017 at 9:34 pm

        Glad to hear that Redwall is a good series. I think I’ll try to read the series at some point!

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer September 11, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Hahahahaaaha! i accidentally DNFed books ALL the time back when I read something other than ARCs. I’d pick a book up at the library and yeah not get past the first couple chapters and intend to but then it would be due… That’s back before I blogged and didn’t have a mile long list of worthy books to read!!

    I love that these all came from Book clubs! I am not alone in not wanting to finish some or prioritizing something else as more important!!

    The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared sounds awesome! And I trust that you like it…. Maybe for book club party this year if I can find it without an insane order price.

    Honestly I CANNOT read Ursula Le Guin books… I’ve tried SO MANY times and I just can’t handle her protagonists. My dad loves her but yeah no for me…

    You’re so kool and well rounded Jackie!! They would adore you in my book club, lol! Too bad you don’t live in Texas… <3

    • Jackie B September 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      I’m so glad that I’m not alone! I have to return library books all the time– it’s really disappointing. The worst is when I return a book I haven’t finished, but I can’t immediately get it back out. #FirstWorldProblems But, inevitably, I read them all. 😀

      Oooh– The Hundred Year Old Man is a great book. It’s like a global version of Forrest Gump. I think it would make for a GREAT book club book! There is a ton to discuss. Particularly if you have some older women in your book club; they might have lived through some of these events!

      Wait. What’s a book club party?! I MUST KNOW.

      Ugh. There are some authors I just can’t read either. Patrick Ness is the one which first comes to mind. And potentially Sarah J Maas (but I want to try ACoTaR first). Don’t fret about it– if every book was for everyone book clubs would be boring. 😉

      D’aw. Thanks for such an amazing compliment! Perhaps I’ll get a chance to visit some day. 😀 Also– you’re in Texas! Anywhere which has been affected by Harvey? If so, I hope you’re okay.

      • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer September 12, 2017 at 12:36 am

        We’re fine! We got the edge of the storm… we’re sending people every weekend to help homeowners in Houston! It’s really so devastated for some people but they have such great attitudes!

        First world problems! I’ve got yo use that sometime, hahhhaaa. I totally agree on Patrick Ness, ugh (at least to me! I’ve tried soooo many of his books…) jury is still out on Maas I’ve only read ACOTAR, lol.

        Now… I know you’ve been waiting for me to say … a book club party is held in a December… a slew of woman come like 30 or so (NOT nearly this many come to the discussions) thug bring a dish to share and a book! We wrap them and then choose numbers, stealing is involved but everyone leaves with a book. Then a vote happens for the books we’ll read for the year. ♥️ Super fun, well attended!

        • Jackie B September 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

          I am so sad for the people who have had their lives more-or-less wiped away, but I am also really impressed with how positive everyone has been, like you said. These stories have been amazing!

          Oh man. I will certainly be scheduling a book club party or two this holiday season. We’ve done similar things with my smaller friend group book club in the past, but it was never a “party”. I will raise the bar this year! 🙂

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks September 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    You’re gonna laugh. But I’m facilitating my #bloghop by actually reading this article on moms phone and commenting right away on my phone. So I don’t have to scroll back and forth. AAAAALLLLL for the comment quality! Ain’t I SMRT.
    Looks like you’ve got a lot of good classics there. Although I haven’t quite heard of them, they look reputable 😀 (I’m one of those weirder people who read more sci-fi than fantasy?)
    Reading things in the order they were meant but not published? 😀 okay, I am laughing. Did you try reading/watching Star Wars in the “right” order too? *dying of laughter here* okay, time to stop being mean now, but 😀 that was just too good. I can see the dilemma though – I was also super puzzled about how to read Discworld, for example – and it doesn’t help that everyone keeps saying “oh you can choose!” And my OCD demon just dies, lol.
    I will have to admit I have also dropped Wizard of Earthsea. But like 10 pages in 😀 didn’t quite engage me. I am going to read it though! It’s just… one must. It’s just classical enough to be a must read! However, I have never read anything else by LeGuin.
    And I have also DNFed Little Women! Although, I’ll admit, I only DNFed book two (apparently, it’s in two parts?) It was just kind of really boring me T_T but I almost finished it… I’m not going to go back to it, I had my friends tell me what happens xD
    Loved this post 🙂

    • Jackie B September 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Gurl! I am doing something similar! I have your comment opened in two windows on my lappy and I am replying in one and reading it in the other. We both write so much– it’s hard to keep it all in mind as we comment and review! but seriously. You are the SMRTest.

      I definitely have some classics on here– and I didn’t realize how much of it is fantasy! I feel like there is more YA fantasy than science fiction? I participate in two YA/MG-focused book clubs, so I end up seeing a lot of it there. I’ll take any YA/MG sci-fi recommendations you have, too! Then I can bring them to book club!

      I know, I know, I’m a fool. I was thinking that reading books in the order they were meant I might better understand the story. For example, for #AnneReadAlong2017 we are reading Anne of Green Gables in the order the books are intended rather than the order in which they were published. So far, I approve of this choice. But it’s definitely not always the right choice. And, as far as Star Wars is concerned, I prefer watching the movies in The Machete Order.

      I completely understand where you are going with Discworld! I feel the same way. I just… I need some order of semblance of order so I can have organization to my chaos. I require order to things!! Ugh. Maybe we can try it together someday. We might both just give up. 😉

      Yay! I’m not alone in DNF’ing books accidentally! I also have not read anything by Le Guin, and that’s certainly a crime. I obviously want to read Earthsea, but I’d also read Hainish Cycle too! As far as Little Women is concerned, I’ve been told it’s a nice book to read when you’re stuck inside on a cold snowy day during the holiday season. I think I’ll try that this year. 🙂

  • Shouni September 22, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Guess who’s finally catching up on blog posts? 🙂

    Oh my gosh I accidentally DNF books ALL THE TIME. Little Women is one we share in common, I had it on my kindle and started reading but then forgot about it until a few weeks after and haven’t picked it up since. I don’t think any readers are allowed to go through life not having read Little Women (that’s what I’m getting from the general reading public anyway) so I guess we’ll have to revisit it. I haven’t heard of most of the other books you mentioned. “Reading Lolita in Tehran” sounds like something I would like so I’m adding that to my list.

    • Jackie B September 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Gurl, you certainly aren’t alone. I feel like I haven’t been keeping up with ANYONE’s blogs. Life has just been so crazy as Summer is coming to a close. Fall is officially here and yet I can’t seem to catch up yet. Oops.

      YES! I AM NOT ALONE! DNF’ing everyone seems to be against. Hm. In fact, I might write a post about that some day. Good idea. 😉

      Anyway– I’ve heard a lot of people say how important Little Women is to their lives and to literature in general. I guess we’ll both have to read it then? 😉 We’ll get there some day.

      I’m glad you haven’t heard of a lot of these books, actually. It’s really comforting to know that my friends are diverse and varied readers from me. That’s why I keep them, to find all sorts of other books to read and to expand my own breadth of reading. 🙂

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