It’s Not You, It’s Me (2)

Book Reviews Reading

It's Not You It's Me

Every reader is bound to hit a slump; not every book can live up to my high expectations so this happens, from time to time. In the immortal words of George Costanza, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Some books just don’t work for me, whereas other readers may really enjoy them.  This is a feature I pull out periodically to showcase books that I’ve either never finished or reviewed, including the dreaded DNF. I unoriginally stole this idea from one of my favorite book bloggers, Christina, at Confessions of a Book Addict (thank you, Christina!).

Version Control
Author: Dexter Palmer
Published by Pantheon Books (February 23, 2016)
Kindle version, 512 pages
Source: publisher

I was really excited about this one, mostly because of the description and the pre-release buzz; in addition, this author is new to me and this type of read is a little different than my usual choices. I have to admit that, even when I was dying to finish (sometimes out of boredom), the novel remained intriguing to me. This was one of those experiences where I kept reading, holding out for a miracle, because I just knew that something amazing would happen and I would be able to shout about this one from the rooftops; unfortunately, it never happened. It’s a good book; a solid effort (in my humble opinion) by a celebrated author, and I’m sure it will receive plenty of praise. Palmer definitely injected some commentary, dealing with issues of race, social media and the manner in which we give our lives over to technology, sexism and religion; for me, it felt like too much for one novel. A more sophisticated, intellectual reader may have an entirely different experience. For an extremely well-written take on this (exactly what I would’ve said if I were a writer with Catherine’s skill!), check out this review by Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books.



Work Like Any Other Author: Virginia Reeves
Published by Scribner (March 1, 2016)
Kindle version, 272 pages
Source: publisher

As with the aforementioned title, I was excited by the premise behind this debut: a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins and find peace after being sent to prison for manslaughter. This could easily have been a win for me because it includes several elements that I really love! I know, I know, I can be a really picky reader. There’s nothing wrong with conversation back and forth between characters in a novel…as long as it propels the story forward. After reading along through 20% of this one, I was really trying to make it work; by 25%, I was done. When I’m only a fourth of the way through a novel, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s tough for me to continue on if I have not experienced any connection to keep me interested. The issues covered in this novel are definitely significant and deserve more attention; hopefully, it will work out for other readers.


  • I like this feature 🙂 Sometimes it helps to know which books you can cross off your TBR list – in addition to what books you should add!
    And – you didn’t miss anything in Work Like Any Other…story really meandered and I didn’t really care by the end, though I did finish it.
    And, I’m crossing Version Control off my list thanks to you and Catherine, so yay!

    • I’m glad I could be of service, Sarah! I told Shannon (River City Reading) that, selfishly, I would like for her to read Version Control so that I can hear her take; I think I want someone to like it, just not me – ha! Thanks so much!

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    I’m glad you are continuing to use this feature! Life is too short to read “blah” books. 🙂

  • I have a really hard time stopping a book once I’ve started it. I feel like I have to give it a chance, which is silly, and a waste of my time! I need to be ok with not finishing a book. I remember as a kid feeling almost nauseous when I picked up a book I was determined to finish but absolutely hated. Good for you for being able to stop! I need to know your ways!

    • Sarah, I think because I read so many book blogs and hear about so many great books that are coming out that I just can’t bear to slog through one that I don’t enjoy when I know there are so many other options – ha! The grass is always greener, right?? Thank you!

  • You’re taking one (or two) for the team! I’ve had quite a few DNF this year and hoping to finally settle into a groove.

  • Pam

    I rarely DNF books, but actually a few of us in my book club stopped reading The Goldfinch after getting past several hundred pages. The depressive (to me) tone of this book was just not working for me and obviously others yet we still had an engaging discussion.

    • That’s so interesting, Pam; I never have read that one, but I’ve heard lots of mixed comments/reactions which is intriguing. I didn’t start DNF-ing books until I started blogging; I think I’ve just realized that there are too many other great ones out there and I want to find them – ha! Thanks so much!

  • Lesley

    I have been there. Some I’ll give up on, but others I’ll keep as something to keep slugging through around books I do finish. I’m stuck on the 5th Outlander book, and I’d been doing really well up until this one. There’s soooo much in each one, maybe I just need a break.

    • I have trouble when I read several in a row from the same series; I even found this to be true when I re-read the Harry Potter novels. Maybe you should take a break and read something completely different and then go back to it? I’d love to know if that would make a difference! Thanks so much!

  • Kay

    You guys are likely all younger than me and I got to the point where I knew I wasn’t going to be able to read all the books I wanted to. So, I do DNF or set aside books. Sometimes I pick them back up, but many time I don’t. I know from my time working in the library that not every book is for every reader. And the ones that don’t work for you will probably work for someone else. After I gave myself ‘permission’ not to struggle with a book, I felt very free. LOL

    • Kay, this is such a great point; I never DNF-ed a book until I started blogging and began to come across so many amazing books. I think I finally decided that my time was not worth wasting on something I didn’t enjoy, but I have lots of friends who will soldier on, as if it’s some kind of personal challenge – ha! Thank you for sharing this!

  • I DNF books all.the.time! I have to really love a book pretty much right away to stick through to the end. I’m not reading “Try Not To Breathe” (which I think was recommend by you!) and I cannot put it down!!

    • Oooooh, I’m so glad you’re enjoying that one, Allie! I have a review coming up tomorrow, but no spoilers!! Thanks so much! I wish I’d learned this DNF lesson years ago; until I started blogging I would just keep on going, no matter what.

  • Oh yeah, I’ve been especially DNFy lately. I seem to be hopping around from book to book finding it hard to stick to anything. Ahhh, well. It’ll pass. Comics for me in the meantime.

  • I usually DNF 10-15 books a year. There’s just too many books out there waiting for me, to spend time reading ones that don’t grab my attention in the first 50 pages or so!

  • Thanks for the shout-out, Tara! And I love your reviews!

    • I really appreciate that, Catherine! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend!