It's not 1-40 because I listed all the books I could remember reading or find in my Kindle history, then numbered/ranked them. Then I added books that I remembered and renumbered and reranked. Then I thought of more and renumbered again, so on round four I just added the ones in and made them numbers like "26A," as you'll see below.
We're still on book I didn't bother finishing reading, beginning with
30. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales, Margaret Atwood: Margaret Atwood gets a lot of praise, and most of her books just sound unappealing to me. I finally decided to try this one, because I like short stories. I got through the first one, I think. Maybe I got mostly through it. I'm pretty sure it was about an old lady and her husband who is a ghost. Either way it was a plodding and dull story. I didn't care about the old lady. I wasn't interested in finding out why her husband was a ghost, if he was. The book wasn't aggressively trying to put me off, the way David Foster Wallace used to. It was more that reading it felt like a chore, like when I try to read articles about the deficit or Syria, not because I want to but because I feel like I ought to. I doubt I'll be trying any more Atwood stories anytime soon.
29. The Uncoupling, Meg Wolitzer. I already discussed this bomb, here. I only ranked it this high because the others were so much worse; at least on this one I got about 4/5 through it, although mostly that was because (as I said in that earlier post) it was the only thing I had to listen to on a day of long driving.
27. To Rise Again At A Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris: I bought this book on sale from Amazon, and it was the last book I actually purchased. Every book I've read since then has been borrowed from the library or given to me as a gift. I think this book might have been the reason I became so leery of buying books. It was only $2.99, and that low for a reason. It's not very compelling. And it should be! It's about a dentist who suffers insomnia and who finds out, unrelatedly, that someone has created a whole Web presence for him of a vaguely biblical nature. The guy himself is a sort of determinedly antisocial man who got that way because he was so desperately bad at being social. It has all the elements I should like, but never put them together in any way that mattered to me. I still have it on my Kindle and every now and then think I should go read it some more but then I think eh and go on with my life.
26. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt: Another one I mentioned here, and I just saw when I checked out that link that I also didn't finish Funny Girl by Nick Hornby so let's make that 26B.
The Goldfinch when I mentioned it in October was one I'd just started, and looking back to that post I can see I was still kind of excited about it. I'm not sure what went wrong. In the book [SPOILER ALERT] the boy who steals the painting goes to a museum with his mom. There's some sort of bombing and the boy barely survives, taking the painting in the process. His mom dies, and his dad isn't really in the picture. Through all that I was liking the book. The boy goes home from the museum, just wanders away with nobody knowing he was in there (but it's done believably) and the book up to that point is really very good. The rest of that day and night are very touching and sad, as the boy relates what happens. Then there is this longish part where he stays with a friend and my interest just waned. I don't know. Maybe it was that I had other stuff going on or something. It just felt like one day I didn't want to go on reading. Possibly the staying-with-a-friend lost steam or something. I just sort of dropped the book and can't really explain why, but when I saw it was available at the library again I thought about trying again, and my mind sort of went Oh no here we go again so I didn't check it out.
You can see how the books are getting a bit better -- the last one I only didn't finish because of library deadlines. A couple others were maybe worth finishing. The next installment will begin with books I actually did finish.