Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down, But Didn’t.
I don’t usually put books down part-way through. When I do, it’s because they were awful, or just not keeping my attention, or I hated the characters. So my list of books I almost put down, but ended up finishing (and hopefully enjoying) is pretty slim. But here goes (not in any particular order):
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Yes, really. Despite how much I love these books now, I read the first one when I was at beginning of a not-yet-diagnosed bout of anxiety disorder complete with frequent panic attacks. I could hardly focus on it. Frankly, I ‘m not sure anything could have held my attention right then. What I really craved — what I always turn under stress — was something familiar that I’ve read several times before. Something with no surprises. Despite that, I pushed myself to keep reading and finished the book. But it wasn’t until I read it a second time, 3 or 4 years later, that I realized just how wonderful Sorcerer’s Stone really is — and plowed through all the available books as fast as I could. Now the entire series has become one of my favorite, return-to-when-I’m-stressed-out books. (Oh, and the anxiety? Most of the time I’m completely fine now; when it does flare up occasionally, it’s manageable. And I haven’t had a panic attack in years… knock wood.)
The White Witch, by Elizabeth Goudge. I love Elizabeth Goudge, but when I started this historical novel in my twenties, for some reason I found it slow going. I’m glad I persevered, though, because I ended up enjoying it. It’s still not one of my top favorites among her works, but her characteristic themes of love, hope, and redemption run through it, and the historical setting is well done.
Richelle Meade’s Gameboard of the Gods
was almost a DNF for me when I read the ARC last year. It seemed to take forever
to get to the action of the story, though there were plenty of hints in the beginning of the book. And I wasn’t enamored of one of the two main characters. I slogged on because it was an ARC and I wasn’t comfortable with not finishing it. Once things finally started happening, I found myself drawn into the story much more than I had anticipated. So much so, in fact, that it stayed with me after I’d finished it, and when the second book showed up on NetGalley, I requested it. (I hope to get to it later this month!) You can see my review of the first book here
Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is a collection of back-story material – the history and myths of Middle-Earth that took place well before the events immortalized in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It’s dense and rich and occasionally a bit dry; the experience of reading it is more like reading the Bible than reading LOTR. And it can be very hard to keep track of who is who, particularly given the similarity of some of the names. There were times when I almost put it down, but I kept going, driven by both my love for Tolkien and Middle-Earth generally, and by the fact that it was, literally, the only English-language book I had available; I was spending a month in Mexico at the time, as part of my college’s Winter Term. In fact, I’d chosen The Silmarillion for the trip precisely because it was so dense – I would have finished anything lighter before the plane landed in Guadalajara! I’ve never been sorry I read it; some of the stories are wonderful, and it makes the LOTR experience so much richer. Actually, it occurs to me that it’s probably time to read The Silmarillion again. It’s been 30 years, after all!
An Air of Treason, by P. F. Chisolm.
This is another book that takes a while to get going, and I wasn’t quite sure whether to hang in there or not. I did, and ended up enjoying it very much, both for the mystery and for the history. I reviewed it here
The Rose Throne, by Mette Ivie Harrison, is the only book on the list that I finished, but sort of wished I hadn’t. I really wasn’t thrilled with it. (You can read my review here.)
I almost gave up on Kristen Britain’s Green Rider because I thought it was going to be one of those cliched “teenager finds out she’s something special and saves the world” books. And it is… but it isn’t. There’s a lot more to it, and some very original bits. While I still think it’s unlikely for quite so many unusual things to happen to Karigan, Britain manages to pull it off, in part through making Karigan herself very real and believable. I’ve read two in the series, with two more published to go, and the fifth book in the works. (I’ve also just realized that I never reviewed Green Rider, which was very remiss of me.)
I’m sure there are a few other books that should be on this list, but none of them jump to mind right now. As I said, I usually either plow through a book, or give up in disgust… although some of the books on this list prove that maybe, just maybe, I should be more inclined to keep going instead of giving up when a book doesn’t grab me at the beginning.
What about you? Are there books you’ve almost given up on, and been glad — or sorry — you didn’t?