RogerBW's Blog

Unfinished Books of 2014 30 December 2014

Mostly I finish the books that I start. Sometimes I don't. These are the ones I didn't finish this year.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin: impermanently-gendered people were probably revolutionary in 1969, but they aren't now, and much of the surprise value of the book is now lost forever. The idea that not having a gender divide would lead to a less binary, self/other worldview is interesting but unsupportable. I could have done with more of the florid description that most people seem to find makes the book slow; it's better than the clunky Messages.

In the Woods, Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #1): this is a story of psychological disintegration dressed up as a detective thriller. There's a basic criminal case with a fairly obvious solution, but the first-person narrator (with an excessively literary internal voice) destroys himself and his relationships in the process of solving it, mostly because he's too stupid and unobservant to pick up the clues that are handed to him on a plate. Of the two mysteries presented here, one isn't solved at all (it just makes for a cool backstory for the protagonist), and the perpetrator of the other escapes all punishment. Not an author for me.

The Cold War Swap, Ross Thomas: trying to be spy noir, but drowns in stereotyped situations and people, especially some of the most offensively drawn homosexuals I've ever read (and I've read Raymond Chandler). All the interesting people die. Probably tolerable if you like the styles of John le Carré, Eric Ambler or Anthony Price. I don't.


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 09:21am on 30 December 2014

    I only managed to not finish one boo that I started this year, but there again I've not read as many books as you have. I enjoy your plot summaries and comments greatly and look forward to reading more in due course.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 07:22pm on 30 December 2014

    Goodoh. I've been doing this for nearly a year now, and it's made for an interesting and I think positive change in my reading experience.

    (Also it's All Your Fault that I heard about Ancillary Justice before everyone started raving about it, so thanks for that.)

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