AtoZ, Blog Challenge, Books, Fiction

Tortle – 5 books that I couldn’t read till the end


Tortle means to walk off or to skulk away. It is also a dialect variant of the word Turtle. My interpretation is to share 5 books I could not continue reading till the end. 

I was a Puritan when it came to not finishing a book. I used to die of guilt and be ashamed of the fact that I left a book halfway. But this kind of took a toll on my reading sensibilities. I became intimidated by new books and would check a hundred reviews before investing time and effort into them.

Off late since, say, a decade, I started a new pact with myself. If a book didn’t reel me in within 50 pages, I could let it go with no guilt. After all there are too many good books to read and too little time to read them all. So without much ado, sharing a list of five books I recently abandoned. Do you DNF or are you a stickler for finishing the book till the end?

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The setting is the Republic of Gilead where women with fertile wombs are turned into surrogacy slaves and placed in the home of high ranking officials. Its the era of declining birth rate and this is the solution of the administration to build up a suitable population.

This dark and dystopian tale was too much for me to stomach and I decided to tortle away from the book after reading about a 100 pages. Then I tried to watch the TV adaptation and failed miserably there too. Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

“Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future. When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.” – Excerpt from Goodreads

The premise of this book was so delicious that I picked it up without hesitation when I saw it available on my audiobook app. But the telling is pretty fragmented which left me confused and disinterested in the story. I am still curious about this one and perhaps will pick it up again someday. Do you have a book like this on your TBR?

Lajja by Taslima Nasreen

Set against the backdrop of the demolition of Babri Masjid in India in 1992, the book follows the butterfly effect of this destruction in Bangladesh. The country is racked with religious riots, forcing Hindu families to flee Bangladesh in droves.

This book is an extremely heavy read with an enormous amount of factual context, followed by its analysis. Then there are repeated incidents of inhumane behavior towards the Hindus caught by the rioters. The actual story line felt lost and burdened by the cumbersome tale telling. I had picked up this book with a lot of expectations but 100 pages down, I had to tortle off. And I know I won’t be picking it up again for sure.

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia

The setting is Mexican Revolution of 1918 when an abandoned baby boy is rescued by Nana Reja. Birth defects and being covered by a blanket of bees, baby Simonopio is shunned by many as a child kissed by the devil. But he soon becomes a cause of wonder as he possesses the ability to see visions of the future. The bees form a protective armor around him as he goes about protecting his family through disasters and threats.

The premise tempted me into downloading the book but two chapters down, the narration made me drowse off. I don’t know if it’s the narrator or the narration, the book lulled me into disinterest.

The Great Alone by Kirsten Hannah

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. – Excerpt from Goodreads

I had picked this book at a bookstore since it was on a deal. Having read a couple of books by Kirsten Hannah, I was excited to begin another one. But the book was lost from the first sentence. The writing  is terribly structured and at first I thought I was mistaken about the author name. But that was not so. I found the paragraphs very repetitive and none of it made sense to me. I would advice my readers to not go near this book, ever.

Also read my book review of The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris

So what did you think of this post? What are your thoughts on DNF-ing a book? Which is the last uninteresting book you read/abandoned?

Coming up next U – Ubookquitous!!

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For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

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8 thoughts on “Tortle – 5 books that I couldn’t read till the end

  1. I get you totally. Earlier I felt guilty on leaving a book midway and finished it somehow, lajja was one such book. It read like a list of names, was so disappointed with it. But now I know better. Life is too short to read bad books. Now j leave books without qualms of they don’t appeal to me.

    1. I totally agree with you on this Anshu. Glad to see another person who felt the same way about Lajja. I was heartbroken to realize I didn’t like reading it as I was really looking forward to it.

  2. I loved watching The Handmaid Tale. I binge watched it during the pandemic.
    Books I gave up after a few pages…the one I mentioned on one of your posts: Shantaram. Also a few others I found on KIndle Unlimited. They were thrillers that failed to thrill me. 🙂

    1. I dont know why and how books get overhyped. Or is it our selection review? I cannot fathom the reason but being disappointed with books has become more of a case these past few years than before.

  3. I used to feel the same way, Shalini. There were books that I forced myself to finish reading just because I started it. But now I have turned a brave woman and stop reading the book if it doesn’t interest me a few pages in. I don’t even bother to remember the names of those books because well, there is so many more books to read.

  4. I felt the same about the Murmur of Bees. Didn’t read very far. I stopped finishing books I wasn’t interested in when I finished school. I was amazed at how fast I could read once I wasn’t reading because I had to.
    I read A Handmaid’s Tale and I know the story, but I wouldn’t finish it if I started it now. I wouldn’t even start it. Real life is too harrowing.

    1. Glad to hear you felt the same way about these two books. I hate the overtly realistic and dystopian fantasies. They are scary and depressing for me.

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