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DNF again

Last year I’m not sure if I had any books that I DNFed (Did Not Finish) and already this year, with my giving up on The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found by Frederick Buechner yesterday, I am up to three. The other two books were Waiting For Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk and Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

The Trofimuk book was for a readalong with a group of book bloggers on Twitter, the McCann book was because several other book bloggers had recommended the book and the Buechner book was for a readalong with My Friend Amy for Frederick Buechner Week February 28 through March 4, where she, I and other bloggers were to read and discuss it. I also had agreed to review one other book of his and write an essay on his influence in my life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of his books at our library in time to review and he really hasn’t influenced my life in recent years. When I was in college, I remember reading some of his work and being impressed how he could bring religious concepts down to earth for the layperson. His head wasn’t in the clouds, but that’s as much as I can say. I don’t think I really could write a essay on that.

Specifically with this book, I found myself not caring about learning his family history. I thought I was going to learn more about him and instead I seemed to be learning about his ancestors. At one point, he starts telling about a biography of a great-great grandfather (I’m not sure how many greats actually) that a great-great grandmother kept of the great-great grandfather and how his life was unremarkable. That leads to not surprisingly an unremarkable story about the great-great grandfather, that goes on for about 40 pages. The only point of interest is that this ancestor was treated by Clara Barton during the Civil War and then that his ancestor thought he was in love with her, and blah, blah, blah. Well, at least, to me, that’s what I heard.

At other points in the memoir, he drops other names of people his family encountered or of authors he’s read. Bottom line: I found myself not caring about any of it and wanting to hear more about his life than all these other people’s lives.

Maybe if I returned to this at another time, for example, when I’m not dealing with allergies with the onset of spring and changes in the weather, I’d find the memoir fascinating, but right now I don’t have the patience for it. What’s sad for me is that the book is under 200 pages, and I still can’t finish it. However, I’m learning not to feel too sad about not finishing books, because I have plenty of other books on my shelves — and the shelves of the library where I work– waiting to be read.

Have you had success with readalongs with others? For some reason, I haven’t, even though in two of the cases, I thought I would enjoy the book. Do you ever DNF? If you do, do you write about it or do you just ignore it and move on? Do you feel guilty?

Lest you think I hate Buechner all around, for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed reading his novel Godric, which I joined Amy and others reading it for a Faith’N’Fiction Saturday Roundtable last year. When I was in college, the books by him that I enjoyed reading were The Hungering Dark, The Alphabet of Grace and Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC.

19 responses to “DNF again

  1. Pingback: The karma train is never late II | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

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  3. I enjoyed this book, I think I had several hard reads recently and this one was a smooth memoir. I have struggled with some read a longs though, mainly just getting them done on time… I tend to see so many books I want to try and the deadlines get the best of me.

  4. I have had a lot of successes but I also gave up on Waiting on Columbus.

  5. I DNF often. It doesn’t bother. I’ve decided that I’m going to stop participating in read-alongs and even book tours because I’m such a moody reader. It’s starting to become harder and harder to finish a book on time.

    • But your avatar doesn’t look moody. πŸ˜‰

      I guess maybe that’s what it is too. I don’t like feeling the pressure to read a book in a certain amount of time either.

  6. I DNF all the time. I seldom do readalongs because I usually have other things going (I did the Jane Eyre readalong and didn’t finish- yet- but I’ve read it many times before). Life is too short to be bored.

  7. I’ve never been in a book club … atleast not in my adult years. But just yesterday, a friend caught me updating my goodreads and I stated that I was being very slow in finishing my reading list.
    I didn’t even like the last book I had added and tossed it off the list.

    He said he’d been having a hard time keeping up with his books and think a nook would be useful for him to get through his list !
    I am not sure if I would be game for that idea. If it was me, my nook would already be gathering dust inside the box !

    • Actually you might be surprised, a Nook does help with reading, because you don’t have the distraction of another page. However, that said, two of the DNFs so far were those I tried on the Nook. Hmmmm….

  8. Talk about opposites – I didn’t like Godric, but LOVED Eyes of the Heart. πŸ™‚

  9. I’m in the same boat – I am at 2 DNFs for this year already, and even though I had more than that for 2010, this is a faster DNF pace. (If that makes any sense whatsoever.) I have no qualms about considering a book a DNF if it isn’t working for me. I usually try for the 50 page rule, but I’ve been known to abandon a book much sooner if I know it isn’t working for me.

    On the other hand, Let the Great World Spin has a very good chance of being my “best of 2011” read. πŸ™‚ Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more.

    • Oh, you’re another of THOSE people? I can’t believe I’m going to use this emoticon when responding to a second comment here today, but I am :P.

      I’m too generous. All of my DNFs thus far are at least 100 pages, although maybe not on the Waiting for Columbus.

  10. I read along with my online bookclub. Sometimes it helps me get through a difficult book but sometimes it doesn’t help at all. I like the discussions that grow out of reading with a group. However, there are always those books that you couldn’t pay me to finish. It happens.