I gave up. If you finished and loved any of these, please offer your review/ encouragement to revisit. Life is too short, and there are too many great books out there, to agonize over ones that don't demand you see them through to the end. But sometimes a slow start gives way to something amazing. Did I miss out?
  1. Canada by Richard Ford
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    Wow, this one takes its time. Sooooo much exposition that it felt mansplainy to me. I've tried twice and it hasn't hooked me either time.
  2. Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
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    I borrowed this from a friend this spring (!) and need to commit to finishing (which means re-reading at his point) or giving it back and admitting that I didn't finish. I stopped reading it to start a library book I had a hold on and just never went back. It got a Man-Booker nomination. They know what they're talking about, right?
  3. The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
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    I loved the idea of this book--an apocalyptic flood sets the children's wing of a hospital afloat with staff, patients and their family members inside. 400 pages in I asked a friend, "Is there a payoff?" She said "NO."
  4. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
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    I only have the vaguest memory of this book but it felt like I was working really hard as a reader, which is not what I look for in pleasure reading (see Canada).
  5. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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    I started reading this the week before my younger daughter was born. That pretty much tells the story of why I didn't finish this book. I intend to go back to this one. Probably.
  6. Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
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    Kind of a sneaky inclusion because I love this and had to go on hiatus, again, to read a library hold book instead. It's the complicated and unsentimental love story of an undocumented Uighur/Han immigrant/refugee and a returned vet who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, mostly set in NYC. Lish writes an amazingly detailed representation of Zou Lei and Skinner as characters and the (often hidden) worlds they inhabit.