Tag Archives: DNF

The Secret History

Thoughts tshbydtndt The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Penguin 1992, Audiobook, 22’9″

Narrated by the author.

For RIP X.

My second book by this author. The 52nd book of the year.

DNF’d. (I got to about half way through. I am counting this as a book anyway.)

What’s it ABOUT: Five students enrolled in an exclusive Greeks program of a small liberal arts college decide that one of them must die. It’s not arbitrary – I would have voted to kill him, too, most likely. Maybe. He did get extremely irritating.

The fact of the murder is not a secret from the first page; this book is all in the slow unveiling and feelings (dread?) of why and how and probably the aftermath head-games but I gave up when it was taking too long to get to the dastardly deed.

I am thinking I sound incredibly heartless here. Oh well. IT’s FICTION, PEOPLE!

I couldn’t help but picture Holly Hunter while listening to this. Tartt sounds just like Hunter in Raising Arizona.

A few days after I decided I didn’t have the patience for 10 more hours of Donna describing every little thing and not getting on with the action parts, I read a list of what is required to make a book “Southern Gothic” Someone somewhere asked Ms. Tartt how she managed to make The Secret History a Southern Gothic, but she denied it by saying, “No it’s not; it’s set in Vermont.” LOL

Really now, I just got impatient and wasn’t quite sure if I would encounter anything new in the book – it was just. TOO. long. I’m sure I would have been much more inclined to read it if I had every studied Greek. OR a good book to read on a semester break or long weekend and definitely NOT the first weeks of September when the rush of school start and the TOO-MANY-THINGS to do of real life causes distraction stress.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

Pie – chapter 8, “Henry ordered an enormous dinner: pea soup, roast beef, a salad, mashed potatoes with gravy, coffee, pie and ate it silently and with a great amount of methodical relish.”


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Paris Wife

Sad Thoughts  The Paris Wife by Paula McClain, Ballantine Books 2011, eKindle on my iPad.


I can tell that my mother still has amazing powers of influence in my life. Most especially when it comes to books. If she tells me she didn’t care for something, I can bet that I bring a bias to it not easily overcome.

My mom did not like The Paris Wife. I can’t actually remember what exactly she found displeasing or unsuitable, but I do remember she was not fond.

and so, I too was not fond.

Honestly, I was bored.

I did like the protagonist’s name ‘Hadley’.

Why it was her nickname? or why she went by Hadley and not her given name Elizabeth, I don’t recall.

I liked her spunk. Sometimes. By which I mean that sometimes she exhibited some spunk. I didn’t like that she felt lost and overwhelmingly lonesome when Ernie left on his first 3 week assignment. Come on, Hadley!  Find something to do!  (or go get drunk or … pregnant – THAT will fix things. I didn’t get to this point in the book — I am only assuming that might have happened.)

I was amazed that she was willing to hike through the Alps!  I was unimpressed that she chose to wear silly shoes to do so and then felt the need to tell me about it. Be practical, woman!

I don’t know much about Ernie other than to assume I shouldn’t like him. I did google some photos of young Ernie to see what he looked like and I will admit the man was ruggedly handsome. I wasn’t impressed with his moodiness.

I wasn’t impressed with Hadley.

I felt like I was reading a celebrity ‘tell all’ about the poor first wife of some great (?) – famous – person.  But I could never summon enough interest to care; except for wondering about other little things mentioned like the neighborhoods in Chicago/St. Louis and that guy who wrote Winesburg Ohio. His wife was named Tennessee? cool. I know absolutely nothing about Ezra Pound – what a name! Sounds like one from a different time. And Gertrude. I am intrigued by Gertrude Stein.

But this book felt like it was going to ramble on into the Poor-Me stories of the girl who had to clean up with the womenfolk after the big dinner and having to miss the fun of watching the football game on TV. Poor Hadley, missing the big conversations about culture and art and literature.  Hadley had to sit and have tea with Alice instead.

I was spectacularly aware of how each chapter ended with a doomsdayish ominous teaser about the pain ahead.

“Are you happy?” he said softly.
“You know I am.  Do you need to ask?”
“I like asking,” he said. “I like to hear it, even knowing what I’m going to hear.”
“Maybe especially, then,” I said. “Are you happy?”
“Do you need to ask?”
We laughed lightly at one another.

I was annoyed by this book. I made it about 1/4 of the way through.

 Two slices of pie. Avocado Meringue Pie.

For insightful, enlightening and much more credible professional reviews, may I point you to Fyrefly’s book blog search?  or click here – an impressive review at A Work in Progress.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Ulysses and John Adams

You might think by the title that I am going to try and connect the story of Ulysses with one of the best presidents the US has ever had the honor to put to work but I am not.  I’m not that smart.

No, this title is only because I am combining mini-DNF reviews in one post.    [Sorry to disappoint.; this is just a housekeeping post, mostly.]

I was just entering a reading slump or perhaps Ulysses spurred it on but I was trying to hard to read just to click off many books and I truly think this kills reading enjoyment and motivation.   Every year, I set a high book count as a goal for the twelve months and mid-way, I falter.   This time the motivation was dead in February.  YIKES!

  I was reading the free eBook.

I really did want to read Ulysses and even though Fizzy and the gang of ReadAlongers were inspirational and so helpful in explaining the setup and symbols and related cultural references and the oddities that are Joycean, I couldn’t keep up.    Falter, indeed.

That’s all I’ll say about Ulysses.  Nope, that’s a lie.  As soon as I typed those words, all sorts of odd thoughts pushed to consciousness and demanded to be heard.  OK, maybe just one.   The others seem to have dissipated as I continue to type this tripe.  (wow, my dictionary doesn’t have tripe!?)     Anyway, that thought was:   I can see why people have jump in and make Ulysses and/or Joyce a fulltime job!   It’s so FULL.

and then we come to John Adams.   

I had checked out the audio of David McCullough’s bio and loved it.    Wow – what a guy!  I was inspired by his patriotism.  But it was only part 1 and the library doesn’t have part 2 (I know, right?  HUH.)   Or hasn’t yet alerted me that I can check it out via ILL.  Whatever.

He’s not going anywhere.   I want to buy the book and maybe read the second half.   And get the audio.    AND THEN see the movie!

And that is all.   Thank you.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Fifteen Days Into January

You probably don’t need me to tell you that it is day 15 of the new year.   However, I’m aghast at what has happened to my reading since the last page of the 2008 calendar was torn off, crumpled into a ball and thrown into the rubbish.

I have (or should I admit to the past tense of that possessive and say HAD) such high hopes to post all my challenge buttons in the sidebar and on a dedicated page, to list the books for those challenges, and last but not least, actually READ something.

I am ashamed to admit that I have completed my first book of the year.

First.   Meaning ONE.   Singular.   Within 15 days.

I have DNF’d one; I just wasn’t in the mood!   It was not a horrible experience*, I just kept finding most anything to do besides pick it up and continue once closed and set on my nightstand.

Alas, this is hardly a good start to this year’s goal to read 100 books.

* I put down Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. I realized, that after 5 days of ignoring it, that maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for politics** right now.     This was the large print version that I purchased with gift money, with the intent on adding it to the library of the nursing home where I volunteer.   Since I wasn’t reading it – and it’s so close to the inauguration – I decided it best to give it to my friends rather than let it collect dust and remind me of my reading slothiness.

Besides, so many exciting thrilling fascinating books have been in line and two of them are due at the library in one week.   I’ve GOTTA get busy!

**  I’m such a bad American…