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2011 Books: Books I Didn’t Finish December 29, 2011

Posted by ccbooks in Analysis.
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A small confession: I usually have around 25-30 books checked out of the public library at a time and at least 10-12 books on hold, if not as many as 30. But I certainly don’t manage to read every single book I check out. Here are a few books that I can remember not finishing this year.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

I blame this one on high demand and short library check-out periods. I was probably around 50 or 60 on the hold list when I initially put this on hold, so by the time I actually got it, other books were clamoring for my attention. The jacket copy, hailing Grossman as a convention-breaking, trend-setting fantasy writer, seemed just a bit over the top. I enjoyed his earlier book The Magicians, but I don’t consider it to be hugely outside the conventions of the genre or earth-shatteringly original. I got about halfway through The Magician King before it had to go back to the library. Later, I read a little more in Ana’s library copy. I enjoyed Julia’s story, but found myself skipping the long blocks of Quentin’s self-pity. When characters don’t change, I start to get bored.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

This was my purchase at Books for the Beast in October. Every time I go, I always end up buying a book by the featured author, and I knew this was one that Ana had already read and enjoyed. The beginning, with the mysterious balloonist, and the descriptions of the lavish luxuries on board the ship Aurora, had me enthralled, but after the pirate attack and the landing on the beach, my interest began to flag. Hopefully I’ll get back to it soon.

Tell Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos and The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti

I covered these earlier in my posts on Books for the Beast. There’s usually at least one book in each group that I can’t quite make it through and this year it was these two.

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

I get updates on Recommended Reads from School Library Journal each month and I’m always eager to look at lists of books relating to Greek Mythology. The books written for younger readers are often good picks for my classroom and the YA books are often good reads for me! I liked the idea of this book; the concept that Persephone and Demeter didn’t really have that great a relationship and that Persephone went with Hades by choice, even if she didn’t quite think things through. But the pace was too slow and eventually I just gave up.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Oppel was a good speaker, with some interesting ideas about writing and creativity in general. I was glad to know more about his process writing this book, his latest, and how he was inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. However, when I finally managed to check this out, I got somewhat bogged down in the less than subtle rivalry between the two brothers, as well as Victor’s self-pity and selfishness. The action sequences, in search of the various ingredients for the Elixir of Life, were by far the best parts of the book. I started getting impatient with the characters and so I still have not finished the book. But since it’s a gothic romance (and based on one of the most famous horror stories of all time), I’m pretty sure I know how it ends!

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