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I have mixed feelings about sharing this list.

reading with some tea

I’m a strong believer that if you aren’t enjoying a book that you should move on to one that you will. You are only able to read so many books in a lifetime, so don’t waste time on a book that isn’t working.

BUT . . . just because I didn’t finish a book doesn’t mean that the book is bad or the author is bad. It merely means that the book wasn’t right for me OR it just wasn’t working for me at the time.

And that’s why I’m writing this blog post. I would love to hear from those who finished one or more of these book and loved it to tell me why I may want to reconsider. Maybe if I picked it up again, it would resonate me differently in a new state of mind or a new year.

How I Decide to DNF Books

I wrote extensively about DNFing books in this blog post. One principal I use pretty regularly when deciding to call it quits on a book or keep going is what is known as the “four-chapter rule.”

It’s as simple as it sounds. I give myself at least four chapters before I will give up on a book. The reason for this is that while it’s not uncommon for books to start slow, usually by the fourth chapter you have a pretty good sense of where the book is going and if you want to keep going with it.

This method has served me well, as there are several books I kept reading until I got to the fourth chapter, and I’m glad I did because several of those books went on to be some of my faves.

Books I Did Not Finish in 2023

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow book

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This book sucked me right in. I really loved the first part of it and the friendship between Sam and Sadie. But I got to about halfway through this book and found that I just didn’t care enough about them to keep going.

If there’s one book in this list I may pick up again, it may be this one because I know this book won a lot of awards in 2022 and was a fave of many. I also typically love a good campus novel.

The secret book of flora lea

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

This is another one that initially sucked me in, and historical fiction is a genre I typically enjoy. But something I don’t like in historical fiction is when historical characters come across as too modern — in other words, not very historical. I can’t remember the specifics, but that’s what I remember was happening with this one.

That being said, I’ve seen this book show up on many people’s favorite books of 2023, so maybe I judged this one too early.

Maame by Jessica George

Maame by Jessica George

I loved the premise of this book and the main character, but the main reason I decided to DNF this book is that it was just a bit too crude for my taste. (If you want specifics, you can email me for more details.) I won’t say graphic because I don’t think it was that graphic. The crudeness didn’t come from the main character. It came from one of her friends and from Google. Because the main character is a bit of a late bloomer, she’s too embarrassed to ask people questions about men as she starts to date. So she takes her questions to Google. I didn’t mind this at first, but it started to get a bit old.

It would take a lot of convincing to finish this one.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

I started reading this book after hearing it recommended by Ann Patchett. While I had no problem getting into the book, it just seemed like a bit of a downer. I have a hard time reading sad or stressful books if I’m dealing with stress in my own life. (I want my books to be a mood-lifter, not make me more depressed.)

Does this one turn around at some point? If it does, I may pick it up again.

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

My main reason for DNFing this book was because I was listening to this one on audio, and I found the narrator difficult to listen to. But that may not be the narrator’s fault. The book frequently switches between characters, and from my experience, such formats can be a bit tricky to follow on audio. (That, and books with a lot of characters.)

So here’s the question . . . do you think it would be picking up a physical copy??

bright-lights big christmas by mary kay andrews

Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

I love a good Christmas book, and I was excited to read this new one by Mary Kay Andrews. There are two reasons I decided to give up. First, this is supposed to be a Christmas romance, and I really wasn’t sensing any chemistry between the love interests. Second, I found the main character to be a bit annoying. She came across as very naive, and I think she’s supposed to be fairly well-educated. It just didn’t make sense. And with so many other Christmas books I wanted to read, I decided to move on.

countdown to christmas by jo thomas

Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas writes books about food and romance, which sounded perfect for a Christmas read, but unfortunately, this one fell flat for me. First, as I said in my intro, I learned this year that in order for me to like a book I need to be able to have empathy for one or more of the main characters, and I was struggling with that with this book. For the romance books, I prefer to see the romance happening more organically. This one felt a bit too heavy-handed for me.

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah

This one fell into the unbelievable premise trap for me. The main character in this book is dealing with a horrible situation. Her sister and husband are having an affair. When her sister shows up to drop off the wedding invitation, she gets in her car, drives to the airport, and buys a ticket to the next flight to anywhere. (You seriously can’t blame her!) But here’s where it got weird for me. The plane crashes and she walks away from the plane and goes to the nearest motel. She doesn’t go to the doctor, she doesn’t tell the airline that she’s okay. She just walks away. What?!? And why?!? Am I missing something here?

Are there any books on this list you think are worth finishing? I would love to hear which book and why.

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