On the Fence: Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

I have so many books. So. Many. Books. We all have this problem, of course, but I've found that lately it has me wondering how many of these I'll actually read... and even more so, how many I actually want to read. My criteria for culling my book stacks lately has been harsh, sending books out the door at an astounding rate. But there are a few I've hung on to, or linger over every time I visit a book shop, and yet find I'm unable to commit to:



Wild, by Cheryl Strayed: I loved, adored, fawned over, cried for, worshipped Tiny Beautiful Things, and have returned to it time and time again when I just need a little... something. In fact, I love it so much I'm not sure I'm brave enough to read her other work.

The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith: I was a fan of The Casual Vacancy, even though a lot of people panned it, but I just haven't found this one calling to me. Has anyone read it? Should I?

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy: I admitted defeat on this one when I tried to read it last year. I can't bring myself to get rid of my copy... but I also have no motivation to pick it back up.

The Son, by Philip Myer: I have no reasoning for this one. I saw the author speak at Politics and Prose with Rachel from Home Between the Pages, and he was awesome. I know lots of bloggers, like Shannon from River City Reading, cite it as a favorite novel of 2013. But for some reason, I keep picking it up... and promptly putting it back down again. Someone talk me into this.

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen: I've written before about how I don't think Austen is for me, but I keep thinking maybe I just haven't read the right Austen novel... yet. Maybe

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adele Waldman: I've had this since it came out last summer, but have never made it more than a dozen pages in. Anyone read it? Worth pushing through?


This post is part of Top Ten Tuesday,
hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.





32 comments

  1. You should check out the website Trip Fiction. And for Edinburgh I'm reading The Furies by Natalie Haynes right now. It's pretty good.
    While you're in edinburgh do you have time to meet up?

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  2. Trish @ Desktop RetreatAugust 12, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I'm glad to hear Tiny Beautiful Things was so good, because I feel the same way about Wild. It was SO GOOD I'm afraid to pick up anything else by Cheryl Strayed for fear of breaking the spell. So, yes. You must read Wild. It was one of the most insightful memoirs I've ever read.
    The Cuckoo's Calling - ehn, not so much. It was OK but not nearly as good as Casual Vacancy, which I loved. Why it was so widely panned I have no idea.
    War and Peace - I loved it. I took my time reading it but found myself so drawn in I couldn't wait to back to it. I would say hang on to this one for such a time that feels right to try it again.
    The Son - I have a ccopy of this but haven't picked it up yet. I'm glad to hear about your experience hearing the author speak and that other readers loved the book. Sounds like I'll have to move this one up on my TBR pile.
    Northanger Abbey - I'm not an Austen fan but I enjoyed this one. It's a quick read and kind of a cute story.

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  3. LOL, it is pretty dadgum amazing, isn't it??? <3

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  4. Two words: Read Wild. It's gorgeous and very compelling. I will now be adding Tiny Beautiful Things to my list.

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  5. I've read Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. It was enjoyable while reading, but pretty much forgotten once I finished it. I just re-read my review and apparently I liked it a lot. :) http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/2013/12/love-affairs-nathaniel-p-adelle-waldman/

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  6. I know you've probably heard this enough already, but Northanger Abbey is great. It's not like Austen's other novels and it has some really interesting characters.

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  7. Anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon for Barcelona. His stories are incredible, and the city is as much a part of the mystery as the rest of his characters. Be careful, though, he's spellbinding.

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  8. I read that when I went to Italy a few years ago! I liked it a lot. Really lovely.

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  9. I haven't read her novels, but I've read a lot about them. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  10. Awesome, will do!


    And I didn't realize you were in Edinburgh. I'm only there for a few days, but that would be so fun. Want to shoot me an email with your email and we'll coordinate? ofabookworm AT gmail DOT com

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  11. I've read Shadow of the Wind, so was thinking of re-reading that, or perhaps reading one of the sequels, for Barcelona. I love love love Shadow of the Wind.

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  12. Me too. The next one, The Angel's Game, is one of the only books that I have actually had to yell at people to leave me alone when I'm reading. And I teared up at the end. Luckily I had removed myself to the hallway ;)

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  13. I personally did not enjoy The Cuckoo's Calling. I felt that 450 pages is absurdly and unnecessarily long for a crime fiction novel. I didn't care for the private eye. Galbraith wanted the reader to sympathize with Cormoran Strike but I just couldn't. The voice the author uses really turned me off to the story. The conclusion was interesting but not very original. Galbraith is no Hammett or Christie. That being said, I know many blogger who enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling. I just wan't one of them.

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  14. I just reread Northanger Abbey, it's not my favorite Austen, but I've heard from many people that didn't like her other books that this one is a good one to try.

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  15. Yay for you!!! This trip is going to be amazing! I would highly recommend (like everyone else) Zafon for Barcelona. Tana French is a great choice for Dublin, but I would also recommend Maeve Binchy. She's a comfort read for me, but I loev her books and I read her (Circle of Friends) for the first time in Dublin. Paris: A Moveable Feast or Time There was Soft or Anna and the French Kiss. Rome: Angels and Demons. Edinburgh: I haven't read this one, but I've read the first book in the series and loved it - One Good Turn.

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  16. I would recommend the sequel The Prisoner of Heaven too!!!

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  17. That's what I keep hearing. Interesting that it wasn't your favorite though... can I ask why not?

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  18. A lot of people made the same complaint re: length for The Casual Vacancy, but the length of that didn't bother me. I just don't know if my heart can stand not to like a JK novel, so maybe it's better left untouched?

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  19. Always good to hear it again, though!

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  20. Totally on Cuckoo, W&P, and Nathaniel P. I haven't been able to make any of those happen yet. Kinda don't care.

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  21. Of course! It's less about not liking Northanger and more about loving others more. It's also a bit more immature than her other work. Catherine, the heroine, is intentionally a flighty and young girl. I identify with other Austen women more. You'll have to let me know what you think if you read it.

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  22. I feel the same way about Wild and The cuckoo's Calling.

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  23. Emma @ Words And PeaceAugust 13, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    awesome! for Paris, you absolutely need this one, available as kindle: http://wordsandpeace.com/2014/03/07/book-review-interview-and-giveaway-paris-rue-des-martyrs-i-love-france-86/. Literary fiction, so good, a hidden gem! There's also the Marseille Caper, by Peter Mayle, I enjoyed it - a mystery

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  24. Steph VanderMeulenAugust 13, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    I'm having a bit of trouble with WILD. At first I tore through it, till about a hundred pages in, but then I got tired of the repetition. It's like she's trying really hard, extra hard, to impress on us how hard it was. So she keeps repeating how heavy something was or whatever. I keep feeling like I want to edit it! I still want to read to see how it turns out, but at the same time, I've found it easy to put down.

    I'm dying to read The Son. I have it.

    War and Peace? Forget it, at least for me. I can't ever make it through the Russian novels.

    I loved Northanger Abbey! Creepy and more interesting, in my opinion, than her others. Also shorter. I don't know if I have what it takes anymore to read classics, so I don't know if I'd read it again. I read it first in university.

    No interest in the Cuckoo's Calling, and I've never heard of the other one!

    PS. I've done the same as you. There are SEVEN boxes of books in the garage to go. I asked, would I read this, really? And would I read this again? If the answer was no, I boxed. I want only a well-curated collection now. Never mind what I might read one day. That's like the jeans I might one day wear again if I ever lose the 15 pounds I've gained since way back. Meh! :)

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  25. I just couldn't get past the first 12 pages! Maybe I need to try it again...

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  26. I'm hearing a repeated theme here. Ok, Wild is on my list. Maybe it will be good plane reading while I'm traveling...

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  27. Ok, Wild is moving from the maybe to the must-read pile. And you must read Tiny Beautiful Things!


    I tried War & Peace twice and never made it more than 250 pages or so... granted, that's a lot of pages, but in the context of the whole book... it's actually not so many pages at all. I'll put it back on the list though!

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  28. Right? I don't know what it is but they just aren't happening. I've made it 250 pages into W&P. Twice. And no further...

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  29. I enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling — a throwback to the old detective story. But I would very highly recommend The Son. I think it's the kind of book that would hold up over several readings. It not only informs and entertains, but really makes a person think. I call it a darker and grittier Lonesome Dove.

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  30. Side note, my post on Northanger Abbey is up today if you want more info on the book! http://avidreader25.blogspot.com/2014/08/northanger-abbey.html

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  31. So I DNF'd The Casual Vacancy, and that's making me really hesitant to start The Cuckoo's Calling. I have it, in hardcover, sitting on my shelf, but I just worry...

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  32. I was sort of meh on/disturbed by THE CASUAL VACANCY, but I really enjoy Rowling's detective books! Great characters, and I just love her voice. THE SON was one of my top books of 2013, and I am not a fan of Westerns!. Also loved WILD and I am not a big memoir person.


    NA is not my favorite Jane Austen, so I don't know if it will win you over. The most recent BBC adaptation starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild is, however, a delight.


    The Waldman is a perceptive character study of a certain type of man most women who dated in their 20s will be familiar with, but it's not a game-changer.


    I can't help you with WAR & PEACE since I have been trying to read that one for years myself! If you find a reason to read it, let me know.

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