Books That Got the A(X)e [DNF 2020]

Traditionally, it’s very hard for me to give up on a book. If I’m not feeling it, I’ll put it down and come back to it later, try to skim read through some of it – but these books, in the end – I couldn’t imagine picking it up to read even 1 more page … so I’ve had to abandon them … did not finish … gave them the axe.


Milkman, Anna Burns

Milkman and Overstory

I mentioned in June’s Mid-Year Book (F)reakOut Extravaganza that Milkman, the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Winner, had been my biggest disappointment of the year thus far. At 75%, I just couldn’t anymore. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plot, I didn’t care about the story. I was just listening to the audiobook praying it would end soon … and one time I put it down, and I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up again.

The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones

The summary reads, “The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.” Doesn’t that just sound amazing?! Well – the first part of the story wasn’t too bad …  up to the point where Lewis had the incident. It should have just ended there. But no – it continued and I struggled to really get into the book. Finally, I was over it and gave up at about 70%.

Into Bones Like Oil, Kaaron Warren

Who would have though I could DNF a novella?! It’s only 90 pages … but yes – 50% of the way I could take any more. This really should have been a straight-forward book, but there is so much obtuseness, and unnecessary fluff that I couldn’t be bothered. I did like the premise, which is why I picked it up – but just not the execution.

People come to The Angelsea, a rooming house near the beach, for many reasons. Some come to get some sleep, because here, you sleep like the dead. Dora arrives seeking solitude and escape from reality. Instead, she finds a place haunted by the drowned and desperate, who speak through the sleeping inhabitants.

This Is How You Lose the Time War, Ahmad El-Mohtar

I technically finished this 2020 Hugo Award Winner for Best Novella after skim reading some of it. This Is How You Lose the Time War is definitely poetic and the story is beautiful … but maybe too poetic for me and it left me bored to tears. Again, the summary of this one drew me in, and I was so disappointed I couldn’t love it more.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic … Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them.

Which hyped book or award winner have you not been able to finish this year – or didn’t like it as much as everyone else did?


// Comments //

  1. Kim

    Aug 22

    I almost gave up on How to Lose the Time War also. Skimmed a lot too. I was bored to tears but I can see why so many people loved it. I’ve recommended it a couple times to people I think would like that style.

  2. Raidergirl3

    Aug 21

    I’m actually surprised you got that far in Milkman. Now, I loved it but I could see a reader not liking the style and giving up after ten pages, lol.
    I had a couple Tournament of Books books from the library and couldn’t get past page two. I really didn’t give them a chance.