I’ve never official said I’m not finishing a book. I always put it down saying I’m going to get back to it someday. And I certainly haven’t blogged about books I’m not going to finish, until today. I’m taking a stand and saying I’m not going to finish these books.

The first was Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler. Penzler is the founder of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York and from what I can gather is a pretty big deal. I can say this, he got some real heavy hitter to write short stories for his yearly giveaway to his customers. The only requirements were, it must take place at Christmas and some of the action must revolve around the bookshop. And let me tell you he got some names. Notable contributions are made by Mary Higgins Clark, Anne Perry, Ed McBain, and Lawrence Block. So honestly it had all the makings for a book I should love. But, I just didn’t. Partly because I’m not a big short story fan. I like to take a little time to get into a story and for obvious reasons the short story format just doesn’t let you do that. I think I finish half a dozen or so, skipping around hoping to find one I liked. The main issue I had was that these are all authors who write novels so the stories seemed rushed and not fully fleshed out. I know it can be hard in such a short space but practiced writers in the format can get it done. I’m sure there are people out there who loved this, I just wasn’t for me.

The other book I’m conceding to not finishing is Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. I know everyone loved this book but I couldn’t get into it if my life depended on it. It was my book clubs pick for January and try as I might I couldn’t get past the first third of the book I don’t feel so bad because none of the ladies in my book club did much better. I don’t know if I’m just not as bright as I used to be or if I just missed the boat but I threw up my hands and gave up. I thought it was dull, I thought the author jumped around too much, and I hate to say it but I thought she came across a little haughty (I’ll admit the word I wanted to use was pompous but I hate how pompous that makes me sound). I know I’m in the minority here. Everyone seemed to love this book and maybe I’m showing just how unenlightened I am but though this will stay on my Nook forever I’ve thrown in the towel.

I’m happy to say everything else I’ve read in the last 6 months or more have been varying degrees of winners for me. So, tomorrow I’ll start on those. But for today I thought I would be brave (because I really hate admitting defeat when it comes to reading) and say My name is Martha and I’m not finishing these books.