The Shelf of Shame: 7 Books We Never Finished

January 13 2015
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We read (and LOVE) a lot of books, but sometimes, we’ll admit, sitting down with a new book is like an awkward first date: the character’s a little iffy, the pace is off, the setting isn’t quite right, or things just don’t click. In the spirit of starting fresh in the New Year, some members of the Off the Shelf staff are coming clean with the books that—at least for now—got away. Hey, there’s always next year!

Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen

Freedom follows Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world. This award-winning novel comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty, the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, and the heavy weight of empire.

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Freedom
Jonathan Franzen

Freedom follows Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world. This award-winning novel comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty, the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, and the heavy weight of empire.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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The Shelf of Shame: 7 Books We Never Finished

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 13, 2015

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Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

"I’m opening myself up to literary crucifixion, but here it goes. EVERYONE has read this and loves it. And I borrowed a friend’s copy to see what the fuss is about (I’m a bit contrarian, so I refuse to read what everyone else has read just because). I got through the first 100 pages or so. And then the movie came out, and my boyfriend wanted to see it, so I said “Sure.” And we loved the movie SO MUCH, so I just said, forget it. I want to read the 109 other books on my shelf first." — Kevin

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Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Some say she’s cold and unfeeling, calculating to a subhuman degree, and basically totally nutso. I say Amy Dunne is just a smart, sensitive woman in a man’s world, frustrated by patriarchy, down with to-do lists, and dedicated to the fine art of revenge! This powerhouse of a novel sees crime writer Gillian Flynn come into her own as a dramatic storyteller in full command of her many gifts.

Crazy like: A fox! Amy is a hottie!

Best crazy moment: The box cutter. ’Nuff said.

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A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway

"I love to read and I love to travel and I love the 1920s and I love Paris, so over the years many friends have forced this book upon me. I’ve tried to read it. Eh. Despite the fact that the book does indeed reference lots of things I love, I’ve never been able to see past Hemingway’s douchebaggery and misogyny in order to finish it. Want a copy? I’ve got extras."
— Allison

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A Moveable Feast
Ernest Hemingway

A MOVEABLE FEAST is a love letter to La Ville Lumière and a testament to Hemingway’s boundless artistic ambition. Permeating every page is the heartbreaking story of love gained and lost.

Read Peter Golden’s review here.

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Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

"I had a friend in college who claimed this was his favorite book, so I bought a copy and planned to read it over a break. I got about 200 pages in, and my head started spinning, so I stopped (though in my defense, I have made other attempts). I’m pretty sure that’s as far as he got, too, considering the only thing we ever talked about were the first 2 chapters. . ." — Julianna

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Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace

"I had a friend in college who claimed this was his favorite book, so I bought a copy and planned to read it over a break. I got about 200 pages in, and my head started spinning, so I stopped (though in my defense, I have made other attempts). I’m pretty sure that’s as far as he got, too, considering the only thing we ever talked about were the first 2 chapters. . ." — Julianna

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Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy

"My book club ambitiously chose this book in August, after which there was a conspicuous four month hiatus in meetings. It was never mentioned again." — Hilary

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Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy

"My book club ambitiously chose this book in August, after which there was a conspicuous four month hiatus in meetings. It was never mentioned again." — Hilary

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Fifty Shades of Grey
by E.L. James

"My best friend gave me this book and told me I HAD to read it. Plus it was pretty much the hottest book around at the time. So I tried. Maybe I’m a big prude, but I read a few chapters and just couldn’t handle it…I felt so awkward I had to stop." — Sarah Jane

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Fifty Shades of Grey
E.L. James

"My best friend gave me this book and told me I HAD to read it. Plus it was pretty much the hottest book around at the time. So I tried. Maybe I’m a big prude, but I read a few chapters and just couldn’t handle it…I felt so awkward I had to stop." — Sarah Jane

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Don Quixote
by Miguel Cervantes

"I started reading Don Quixote the summer after college when I had just moved to Chicago without a job. I wanted to do something productive with all of my jobless time, and I thought I would never read Don Quixote otherwise, so I got it out from the library and renewed it twice. I got halfway and then I got a job." — Meg

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Don Quixote
Miguel Cervantes

"I started reading Don Quixote the summer after college when I had just moved to Chicago without a job. I wanted to do something productive with all of my jobless time, and I thought I would never read Don Quixote otherwise, so I got it out from the library and renewed it twice. I got halfway and then I got a job." — Meg

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