Monday, October 05, 2015

Where Is Your Bookmark? (10/06/2015)

My plans to schedule October's blog posts last week fell by the wayside. Mouse became sick towards the end of the week and is still feeling under the weather. Her dad stayed home with her yesterday, and it took everything I had not to call out of work too, especially when she begged me to stay. Talk about mother's guilt.

This past weekend I finished reading Rebecca Chastain's Fistful of Fire, which I hope to review for you later this month. It was such a fun and intense urban fantasy novel. It took me awhile to start a new book after that. You know how bookish high's sometimes take a moment to come down from?

I started reading Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes to feed my current hunger for a crime thriller Sunday night and have already been pulled in, although not quite as much as I have with her other books--still, it's good. This one is about a police analyst who finds the decomposing body of her next door neighbor one night while investigating where her cat has been. She suddenly becomes aware of just how easily something like that might happen to her--no one noticing she's dead for days, or even months. In her usual style, Haynes uses several different narrators to tell the story.


First Paragraph of Human Remains:

When I got home I could smell the trash cans on the cold air, a faint bad smell that made me wrinkle my nose.

Inside, I opened the back door, rattling the box of cat biscuits in the hope that it would bring her scurrying. It was a clear night, so she would most likely not make an appearance at the back door until I was in the bath, when she would howl and scratch to be let in. Despite the cat flap and my efforts to get her to use it--propping it open, coaxing her, bribing her, and even shoving her forcefully through it--she ignored it and came in and out only when I was hope to open the door for her. I'd even tried getting rid of the litter box, but she'd just piss on the lino in the kitchen and then pull it up at the corner with her claws to try and cover her excretions. After that I gave up.


Teasers from Human Remains at 22%

Nobody can see pain. They have no frame of reference for pain that's happening to someone else. They can only see inactivity - which they interpret as laziness.

and at 23%:

I dreamed of death the way previously I'd dreamed of the pain leaving me, and the way before that I'd dreamed of gardens and children and weekends away. Death was my elusive lover, treasured and longed for and jealously guarded, and always distant. Always out of reach.


What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday theme is Ten Books I Was Unable to Finish.  It is rare I do not finish a book. More so in the years before I had my daughter, before my personal reading time became even more precious. I have less patience for books I cannot get into right away these days. Still, I try to give a book a fair shake. What makes me give up on a book? Most often, it's my lack of interest in the characters, the story, what is happening, what will happen, etc. I am not one of those who reads the end of unfinished books to see what the outcome will be. If I don't finish the book, I likely don't care how it ends.  

1. Haweswater by Sarah Hall ~ I had actually hoped to revisit this book at some point to try again, but it wasn't meant to be. The writing is descriptive and lovely, but after three attempts, I just could not drum up interest in the story or characters. It is well liked by many who read it, however. Maybe you would like it too.


From Goodreads:
The village of Marsdale is a quiet corner of the world, cradled in a remote dale in England's lovely Lake District. The rhythm of life in the deeply religious, sheltered community has not changed for centuries. But in 1936, when Waterworks representative Jack Ligget from industrial Manchester arrives with plans to build a new reservoir, he brings the much feared threat of impending change to this bucolic hamlet. And when he begins an intense and troubled affair with Janet Lightburn—a devout local woman of rare passion and strength of spirit—it can only lead to scandal, tragedy, and remarkable, desperate acts.

2. Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers ~ This book sounded like it would be perfect for me: a historical setting, scary vampires, and interesting characters with literary ties. Alas, I made it as far as half way and just couldn't make it the rest of the way through. Getting that far had been a bit of a struggle, a sure sign being when I avoid a book. It's a rather slow going book, even for a thriller.


From Goodreads:
Winter, 1862. A malevolent spirit roams the cold and gloomy streets of Victorian London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the onetime physician of the mad, bad and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Polidori is also the supernatural muse to his niece and nephew, poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother Dante Gabriel. 
But Polidori's taste for debauchery has grown excessive. He is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl, the daughter of a veterinarian and a reformed prostitute he once haunted. And he has resurrected Dante's dead wife, transforming her into a horrifying vampire. The Rossettis know the time has come – Polidori must be stopped. Joining forces with the girl's unlikely parents, they are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence they never suspected.

These wildly mismatched allies – a strait-laced animal doctor, and ex-prostitute, a poet, a painter, and even the Artful Dodger-like young daughter – must ultimately choose between the banality and constraints of human life and the unholy immortality that Polidori offers. Sweeping from high society to grimy slums, elegant West End salons to pre-Roman catacombs beneath St. Paul's cathedral,
Hide Me Among The Graves blends the historical and the supernatural in a dazzling, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.

3. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris ~ Many love David Sedaris and his essays about his life experiences. He's written several books, in fact. I thought this particular collection would be a good one to listen to. I needed a good laugh and was assured he would be the one to deliver it. Let's just say Sedaris and I are not a good fit.



4. American Psycho by Brett Eaton Ellis ~ I attempted to read this as part of a group read, but it didn't work out. The writing bored me to tears before I got too far into it. I at least got through the movie and liked that.


From Goodreads:
Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. American Psycho is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to face and it takes us on a head-on collision with America's greatest dream - and its worst nightmare.

5. Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver ~ I have made several attempts to read this one, and each time failed to get into it. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will likely never get through it.


From Goodreads:
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it -- from garden seeds to Scripture -- is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

6. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan ~ The writing is beautiful, and I wanted so much to like this one. I was very disappointed when I didn't. I kept hoping I would fall into the book, and, at times, I thought I might--I was on the cusp--and then nothing. About half way in, I realized reading this one had become more of a chore than anything, and I had to let go.



From Goodreads: 
Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.
Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.
Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.

7. Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta ~ I had heard such great things about this book and eagerly dove in. It sounded like something I would really like. It wasn't what I expected, which isn't usually the death knell for a book; but it this case, I suppose it was.


From Goodreads:
An ambitious and powerful story about idealism, passion, and sacrifice, Eat the Document shifts between the underground movement of the 1970s and the echoes and consequences of that movement in the 1990s. A National Book Award finalist, Eat the Document is a riveting portrait of two eras and one of the most provocative and compelling novels of recent years.

8. A Touch of Passion by Bronwen Evans ~ Historical romance and I are not always the best of friends, although I do love history and I enjoy a good romance. This particular novel sounded like fun, but I didn't like either of the main characters right out of the gate. While that isn't always cause to not finish a book, it was in this case. I could care less what happened to them.


From Goodreads
Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion. 
After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart. 

 9. Further Out Than You Thought by Michaela Carter ~ Such beautiful writing! I was drawn to this book because of the time period it is set in (1992 L.A. Riots). It is one of those books that one needs to read slowly and savor, but at the time I was reading it, I struggled to stay with it. It is a much more literary fiction novel than I was in the mood for at the time, I think.


From Goodreads:
In the Neverland that is Los Angeles, where make-believe seems possible, three dreamers find themselves on the verge of transformation. Twenty-five-year-old poet Gwendolyn Griffin works as a stripper to put herself through graduate school. Her perpetually stoned boyfriend, Leo, dresses in period costume to hawk his music downtown and seems to be losing his already tenuous grip on reality. And their flamboyant best friend and neighbor, nightclub crooner Count Valiant, is slowly withering away. 
When the city explodes in violence after the Rodney King verdict, the chaos becomes a catalyst for change. Valiant is invigorated; Leo plans a new stunt—walking into East L.A. naked, holding a white flag; and Gwen, discovering she is pregnant, is pulled between the girl she's been and the woman she could become. But before Gwen can embrace motherhood, she's forced to face the questions she's been avoiding: Can Leo be a father? Can she leave the club life behind, or will the city's spell prove too seductive?
Weaving poetry and sensuality with an edgy urban sensibility, Further Out Than You Thought is a celebration of life, an ode to motherhood, and a haunting story of love, friendship, and one woman's quest for redemption.

10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ Three or four attempts to read this one, and I am finally coming to the realization that I might never finish it. I want to try though. I really do.


From Goodreads:
Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed.
The prodigious cast of characters, seem to act and move as if connected by threads of destiny as the novel relentlessly questions ideas of free will, fate, and providence. Yet Tolstoy's portrayal of marital relations and scenes of domesticity is as truthful and poignant as the grand themes that underlie them.

What books made your DNF list? 


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

53 comments:

  1. I have read The Poisonwood Bible and while I didn't expect to like it I actually loved it. I might have to try the one with Polidori...

    Check out my TTT.

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    1. Lauren - Just about everyone I know loved it. I kept hoping I would. I wanted to. The first few attempts, I was hoping it was just timing. Often, that's all it is. But when I still couldn't get into it, I had to admit to myself that maybe the book and I were just not a good fit.

      If you do read Powers' book, I hope you enjoy it!

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    2. Mostly why I didn't expect to like it was the whole Oprah's book club thing...

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  2. I'm totally with you on bookish withdrawal- sometimes after a great book it ruins the next one that comes along! Or at least sets the bar awfully high... :)

    Great tease- that certainly is thought provoking and makes me curious about it. Have a great Tuesday!

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    1. Greg - Yes! I figured it was best to go with a completely different book next to help stave off any disappointment--and I chose a book by an author I generally love. Too often I set that bar high after finishing a book I really liked. :-S

      Human Remains is interesting so far. It's a bit different from her other books, but I'm enjoying it.

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  3. You are ahead of me. I haven't even tried WAR AND PEACE...though I do love POISONWOOD BIBLE. Sigh.

    My TTT

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    1. Anne - I really do want to read War and Peace someday, but I'm starting to wonder if I ever will. I loved Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

      I had high hopes for Kingsolver's book, but I just couldn't get into it no matter how hard I tried.

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  4. Human Remains is my second favourite of Elizabeth Haynes work, after Into The Darkest Corner, I only reviewed her latest yesterday. I think when someone is a great writer it comes down to the subject matter used - glad to hear you are enjoying it though.

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    1. Cleo - I loved Into the Darkest Corner. I am not too far into Human Remains still and am curious how everything will play out. This one definitely is more graphic than her other books have been, but I am enjoying it. Like you, I think she's a great writer.

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  5. I like the first paragraph. Sounds like a gripping crime/mystery. As to your Top 10, I was surprised you didn't like The Poisonwood Bible. I'm such a big Barbara Kingsolver fan that I'm disappointed when someone doesn't like her. It's okay though as we all have our own tastes.

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    1. Margot - Human Remains is proving to be gripping, yes! I am counting down to my lunch break so I can read some more. :-)

      I may have to try something else by Kingsolver. The premise of The Poisonwood Bible really appealed to me, but I just couldn't get into it.

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  6. Well that intro really made me want to read this. I do like this author as well.

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    1. Diane - Elizabeth Haynes is one of my favorite authors. I admit Human Remains has a lot to live up to given how much I've enjoyed her other books.

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  7. Don't read many crime thrillers, and not sure I would continue based on the intro.

    Interesting DNF list. I like David Sedaris on audio, but DNFd him in print. Read Poisonwood Bible for book club, but didn't like it much, and I still have a bookmark in War and Peace (won't say how many years it's been there), so it's not officially DNFd... yet.

    Hope Mouse is feeling better.

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    1. JoAnn - Maybe I would do better with Sedaris in writing, but somehow I don't think so.

      I don't know that War and Peace is officially on my DNF list yet either. It's getting closer to being there though. :S

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  8. Love your DNF list! I did listen to Sedaris and definitely liked it, but not as much as the hype seemed to indicate. And - I can see why you might DNF War and Peace - ha!
    I probably wouldn't read any farther with the intro book...not grabbing me.

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    1. Sarah - I think my expectations may have been too high for Sedaris. I ended up feeling more sad for him than finding him funny, which I don't think was the point. War and Peace . . . I have tried reading it on my own and in read-a-longs. Maybe I should give myself a year to read it . . .

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  9. I have not read any of your 'did not finish' books, although The Poisonwood Bible has been on my TBR for years and years. Not sure I'll ever get to it though. I do want to read Human Remains. So far, I've read 2 of Elizabeth Haynes books and have 3 to go. This one sounds good, though a little creepy. Ick to think about your neighbor's dead body.

    Sorry about Miss Mouse's illness. Hope she's better soon.

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    1. Kay - This is my fourth by her. I think the only novel of hers I haven't read is Dark Tide. I am not sure I even own that one, which is a crime in itself, I think.

      Creepy is a good word for this one!

      Mouse is feeling much better today. I hope it means the end of it. Sunday was the worst of it. She was so miserable. :-(

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  10. Oh, I love the books I've read by Elizabeth Haynes...haven't read Human Remains yet...the title is a little off-putting, but after reading the excerpts, I'm in.

    In your Top Ten, I see a couple that I read...and even enjoyed, but they were a little disappointing: Eat the document and Further Out Than You Thought.

    As for War and Peace, I wouldn't even try it nowadays...but I loved it back when I was young and had the inkling to read this kind of book. LOL.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - The title definitely is a fitting one from what I've read so far.

      I was hoping I'd like Further Out Than You Thought. I loved the writing. I just had such a hard time getting into it and staying with it.

      I think timing has a lot to do with some of the books I am unable to get into--or those that I do. I would like to put War and Peace under my belt, but I imagine it's not going to happen any time soon no matter how hard I try.

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  11. I love a great thriller, especially in the fall; this sounds super creepy and I love that - ha! The cover looks creepy, too! Thanks for sharing this one and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who has to DNF a book, every now and then - ha!

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    1. Tara - Yes, the fall is the perfect time for a thriller. :-) Creepy is a very good word for this one.

      You definitely aren't alone in occasionally needing to DNF a book!

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    1. Kathy - Thank you! She is doing much better today. I just hope she stays that way for long while.

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  13. So sorry to hear Mouse is unwell. I wish her a speedy recovery.

    So many great books featured here. As I have just commented on another blog its great being part of this community even if it does mean my wish list grows daily.

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    1. Tracy - Thank you. She's much more her normal self today. Hopefully she'll be completely better soon.

      Yes, these lists are bad for our wish lists. My list seems to be never ending . . .

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  14. I like your list and the sound of your current read.

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    1. Catherine - Thank you! I'm enjoying the book so far. :-)

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  15. I know it's hard to leave a sick child. Hope she is feeling better.

    sherry @ fundinmental My TT

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    1. Sherry - Thank you. She's feeling better today, thankfully. I was home with her on Friday when she was sick. My husband and I often take turns, but it's hard to be the one to have to go to work, especially when she wants me to stay. :-( She was in good hands though and ended up having a fun day with her dad.

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  16. Oh no, I hope Mouse is feeling better! I totally get mother's guilt.

    I did finish American Psycho but I had so much trouble with it. I couldn't even bring myself to review it. It was just a sordid book.

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    1. Athira - She is doing much better today. She lost some weight while sick and is still pale, but she's got all her old energy back and is eating like a champ. The mother's guilt never goes away, does it? Ugh.

      I am glad to hear I'm not the only one who had trouble with American Psycho. It sounds like I was better off not finishing it.

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  17. Felt the same about Sedaris, but I probably finished it anyway, trying to figure out what people enjoyed about it. I see in one of your comments you thought maybe your expectations were too high, but I think he's just not funny!

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    1. Elizabeth - I was trying to be nice to Sedaris, but I think you're right. I just didn't find him all that funny.

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  18. Fistful of Fire sound interesting. Hope you feature that here.

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    1. Suzie - A request! I don't think I've had one of those before. ;-) I'll make a point of featuring it next week. I actually will be posting a guest post by the author next week.

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  19. Hope Mouse is feeling much better now! Oh those Top Ten DNF books - I feel like I could write that post with just of my books from this year. Anyway, shame you didn't enjoy the David Seders or Barbara Kingsolver but I'm all for not spending time with books you aren't enjoying. Life is too short and there are way too many books waiting!

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    1. Iliana - She is feeling better, thank you. I was really worried about her on Sunday in particular. That seemed to be the day it hit the hardest. I would definitely read a post about your DNF books for the year. I wish I was better at keeping track. I should make a point of it.

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  20. Great teaser. I haven't read any of those books on your list.

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    1. Yvonne - Thank you! I'd say you aren't missing out on the books I didn't finish, but many people actually liked several and you might too if you read them. So, who knows?

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  21. Interesting list! I did get through War and Peace in high school, but it was more because it was a challenge then that I actually got much out of it.;) I was kind of lost half the time... lol.

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    1. Amanda - I have a feeling at this point my reading it would just be to prove I can, which I'm sure isn't the best reason to read a book. I'll probably be lost half the time reading it now as an adult. LOL

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  22. I hope Mouse feels better soon!
    I need to add Human Remains onto my wishlist. I love Elizabeth Haynes' books. And War and Peace is definitely one of those books that intimidates me due to the thick volume. I've it on my shelf but I know it'd be a long time before I'll read it.

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    1. Melody - She's feeling lots better, thank you, Melody. Haynes' is such a good author. I love her books. Someday maybe we'll be read War and Peace.

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  23. I'm yet to read War and Piece because I have alot of friends who have indeed enjoyed the book... but not too enthusiastically

    Here's my list that’s full of supernatural gifs ... 10 Reasons why I've stopped lending out books

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    1. Meleika - I think most people I know who have read War and Peace were just happy to take on the challenge. Others loved it. I don't know. Between the names and amount of characters, I find it all confusing when I do read it. I keep hoping it will get easier.

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  24. Human Remains sounds intriguing, but maybe a little too intense for my tastes. Great teasers, though.

    I've started War and Peace several times, but I've never been able to stay interested long enough to finish it. Too much war, not enough peace. And too many pages!

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    1. Joy - Human Remains is definitely dark and disturbing.

      Yes, definitely too many pages!

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  25. I couldn't finish Poisonwood Bible either My TTT

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    1. Carrie - It's nice to know I am not the only one who couldn't finish it!

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  26. I haven't read any of these books but I was considering reading A Touch of Passion because it sounds so good. It's a shame about the characters because horrible/annoying characters can ruin even the best books. I'm kinda of ashamed to admit this but I had no idea American Psycho was an adaptation, even though it's been on my watchlist for quite some time. From what you said, though, it doesn't sounds like my kind of book at all, so I'll stick to the movie.
    I'm sorry these books didn't work out for you. :(

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    1. Veronika - You might like A Touch of Passion. Quite a few people have.

      American Pyscho didn't impress me. I just couldn't get into it. The author's writing was a big turn off for me.

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