Allow me to introduce you to my albatrosses, the scourges on my reputation as an otherwise greedy consumer of the written word. These are the books with pristine spines and bookmarks barely protruding above page 17 or chapter 5. I will likely never finish these books, and it’s certainly not because they’re bad; some are by some of my favorite authors, in my preferred genres, even. So why couldn’t I drag my eyes across their pages? Perhaps I was derailed when some well-meaning friend loaned me Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when I was in the midst of one, or maybe amnesia following a horrific croquet accident rendered me temporarily incapable of doing the rereading necessary to complete another. In any case, while I’m not admitting that it’s MY FAULT, I’m coming clean about the books I’ve never been able to finish.
2. The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay, by Michael Chabon
I have tried and failed three times to get into this book, which has characters I love, but doesn’t draw me in as completely as Chabon’s other novels have.
3. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
This book, well-loved by my closest friends and mother (my literary kindred spirits, all of them), eludes me. And I typically love family tragedies! You can’t KEEP Joyce Carol Oates’ novels away from me!
4. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
Honestly, my dog ate this one. The same Thursday in 2005 when he ate my iPod and an entire loaf of bread. The bite marks on the cover remind me of a perfectly awful day in my life, so I’ve basically given up on finishing it, ever.
5. To Have and Have Not, by Ernest Hemingway
In the same way that I can watch six “Downton Abbey” episodes in a row, I love to devour authors serially. Consequently, I started this after consuming A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Sun Also Rises in just a couple of weeks. Maybe it was a loss of momentum, or the fact that I was 15, but I found Harry Morgan too subtle, and, therefore, inaccessible.
Phew! I feel much better. But now it’s your turn: what are the skeletons on your bookshelf?