Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them


This week’s topic is Books I Loved but Never Reviewed, but I’ve reviewed books on my blogs since blogging began. I’ve lost a lot of that content when Bloglines died and I’d never backed up, but I did review them. I’ve mentioned most of my lifelong favorites on this blog too many times. So, I decided on a different title. Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them. This does not mean I did not like them! I just couldn’t get my arms around them enough to stay in the book. They were to “out-there” or too strange or too complex or __________.



I KNOW I’d love this story. I studied Iran and the end of the Shah in college–in fact, the end came at the end of my high school years so you could say we were the “Iran Generation” in America. Walter Cronkite’s daily count of how long the hostages had been held was part of our evening. Those same hostages being released only after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president was such a vindictive moment in history–especially in light of the humanitarian Jimmy Carter is now at nearly 100 years old. But this was my first attempt at a graphic novel. I couldn’t make sense of it in the same way I do with traditional books–whether reading or listening to them. I wasn’t a big comic book fan as a kid, either. I’m glad this book is so successful though. It is a great device for storytelling for so many reasons. My brain just opt-out. Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi.



I have written about this book before her on this blog. Cathy Ames gave me real-life nightmares. I couldn’t get that ‘voice” out of my head as she suggested the bad things. I had to just toss the books back. As I’ve said before, that is a true testament to the incredible writing talent of Steinbeck. I think I may have seen parts of this movie as a kid on the old summer Afternoon Movie–there is something so haunting about the whole book that makes me think I may have seen it before my mind could understand it well enough. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.



At a time when the Islamic world was just coming to the attention of the American news media–that is after the Iranian hostage crisis, Salman Rushdie was put on a real-world hit list by the reigning Ayatollah Khomeini who issued a fatwa ordering his death. I tried desperately to get through this book. I failed. I beat myself up for years for being too weak. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.



Although I’d just spent two years in a country south of Somalia, and in spite of non-stop news coverage of American troops in Somalia, I gave up on this book. Today it might seem an easy read to me. Then, I lacked the cultural knowledge necessary to digest it. So, of course, I bought the entire trilogy sight unseen in those long-ago pre-internet, pre-Amazon days. Sweet and Sour Milk by Nuruddin Farah.


Probably anything Tea Obrecht writes is beyond my ken. Her books sound amazing, but then they just escape my comprehension. My friend reviewed Inland–she explains it all pretty well.


Sorry, for once I couldn’t come up with the full ten books.


Check out the rules at That Artsy Reader Girl and join in next week!

13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them

  1. I read East of Eden so many years ago, but honestly I remember very little about it. I have books too that just felt like they were beyond me, and I just couldn’t get the point.

    Liked by 1 person

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