Books I DNFed

As I wrap up my first ever reading journal, I thought it might be interesting to go through the books I set out to read and then didn’t finish.

Twenties Girl

As much as I loved Finding Audrey, I couldn’t stand this book. I hated the main character,  hated her friends, hated the ghost of her grandmother, found the 2nd hand embarrassment so intense I kept having to put it down, and finally drew the line when Lara started lying to the cops. I stopped listening to the audiobook about 25% of the way in.

Falling Kingdoms

I could not keep track of this story. It jumps between so many different characters and places so fast that I couldn’t keep up or get any of the straight. I might have done a little better with a physical book (provided the book included a map), but when a huge political infodump happened I was just so lost I put it down. I also really disliked the narrator for the audiobook. The story seemed to be set in a pseudo-historical version of Italy, but he gave everyone fake English accents. I didn’t like any of the characters. There was a chapter where literally NOTHING happened. And then we get to the boy who is in love with his sister. But it’s okay! She’s not really his sister! Except he doesn’t know that!

Nope. Hard pass.

90 Church

This one I actually did a review for before I decided to stop reviewing DNFs.

War and Peace

To be fair, I do plan on going back to this one. I’m listening to Anna Karenina right now and really enjoying it, I just wasn’t in the right headspace for this one at the time.

The Bluest Eye

I stopped listening after 10 minutes. The first chapter is obnoxious, written like a Dick & Jane book. And in the 2nd chapter we find out that the main character, a little girl of (I think) about 10, is a psychopath who wants to dismember and mutilate little white girls.

Nope. No thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever put down a book that fast.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business

I was hoping this would be helpful in my writing business, but it turns out it’s too outdated. The book was published in 1997 and was just far too basic. Check publication dates on your nonfiction, kids.

What makes you stop reading a book?

90 Church by Dean Unkefer

Genre: memoir
Secondary genre: true crime/investigation, history
Format read: audiobook
Content warnings: sexual assault
Rating: DNF

Wrapping up my nonfiction crime reading spree was 90 Church, a memoir about the start of the FBI’s first drug task force in the 1960s.

I was expecting something in the vein of Erik Larsen’s work, but that wasn’t what I got. Unkefer’s story is tawdry, gritty, and dark. It follows a dedicated, patriotic family man as he descends into the chaos of a corrupt department, doing drugs, drinking himself into a stupor, fighting with his wife and ignoring his son. It reads more like an HBO crime drama than anything else.

I was about halfway through when I reached the part that made my put the book down for good (CW): After picking up a woman at a bar and going back to her place, he’s so enraged when she doesn’t want to sleep with him that he beats and rapes her.

No. Hard pass. After spending five hours listening to him justify drug use, binge drinking, his mistreatment of his family, and falsified reports, I didn’t want to hear how he justified rape and assault. This isn’t a record of the early days of law enforcement, it’s a self-aggrandizing account of narcissist.

Pick something else if you want to read about true crime and criminal investigation.