Looking through my list of upcoming ARCs I also had to address the fact that I have books on my NetGalley to read shelf that I have started ages ago and never finished. I do not know if I will ever get back to them. I have decided do a series of Mini Reviews in the future of the books I received for review and then DNFed, for whatever reason. I am a horribly moody reader and at the same time have in the past maybe requested too many books. It is something I am currently remedying. I have a list of books I want to request (in a word document called “Request when reviews are done” and I have been eyeing the titles on there longingly) and won’t allow myself any impulse requests anymore (let’s see how that works out).
So, welcome to my shame corner of ARCs I have since decided to DNF:
In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott (Harper Collins UK, Fourth Estate)
As Rebecca Stott’s father lay dying he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Yet, each time he reached a certain point, he became tangled in a thicket of painful memories and could not go on.
The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan: non-sect books were banned, women were made to wear headscarves and those who disobeyed the rules were punished.
Rebecca was born into the sect, yet, as an intelligent, inquiring child she was always asking dangerous questions. She would discover that her father, an influential preacher, had been asking them too, and that the fault-line between faith and doubt had almost engulfed him.
In In the Days of Rain Rebecca gathers the broken threads of her father’s story, and her own, and follows him into the thicket to tell of her family’s experiences within the sect, and the decades-long aftermath of their breaking away.
Thoughts: On the surface this is just my type of book: a memoir written by a woman about growing up in a sect. I am fascinated my sects and their sociology and I was very eager to read this. However, I struggled from pretty much the first page. I find Rebecca Stott’s writing style clumsy and her authorial voice sounds like she does not want to write this book. Now, it is very possible that this will be addressed later, but it did not grab me within the first 20% of the book and I am not sure I will ever get back to reading this. It has since gone on to win its category in the Costa Book Award and even that does not make me any more eager to pick the book up again.
Fever by Deon Meyer (Grove Atlantic/ Atlantic Monthly Press)
Blurb: Nico Storm and his father Willem drive a truck filled with essential supplies through a desolate land. They are among the few in South Africa–and the world, as far as they know–to have survived a devastating virus which has swept through the country. Their world turned upside down, Nico realizes that his superb marksmanship and cool head mean he is destined to be his father’s protector, even though he is still only a boy.
But Willem Storm, though not a fighter, is both a thinker and a leader, a wise and compassionate man with a vision for a new community that survivors will rebuild from the ruins. And so Amanzi is founded, drawing Storm’s -homeless and tempest-tost—starting with Melinda Swanevelder, whom they rescued from brutal thugs; Hennie Flaai, with his vital Cessna plane; Beryl Fortuin, with her ragtag group of orphans; and Domingo, the man with the tattooed hand, whom Nico knows immediately is someone you want on your side. And then there is Sofia Bergman, the most beautiful girl that Nico has ever seen, who changes everything.
So the community grows–and with each step forward, as resources increase, so do the challenges they must face–not just from the attacks of biker brigands, but also from within. As Nico undergoes an extraordinary rite of passage in this new world, he experiences hardship and heartbreak and has his loyalty tested to its limits. Looking back later in life, he recounts the events that led to the greatest rupture of all–the hunt for the murderer of the person he loves most.
An exhilarating new standalone from the author of the internationally bestselling Benny Griessel thriller series, Fever is a gripping epic like nothing else Meyer has written before.
Thoughts: I requested this because it is set in South Africa and my partner was about to embark on his internship of three months. I like dystopian novels but this one is just so unbelievably dull and feels like it’s a lot longer than it is. I think I made it about 40% in when I put it down (on my flight back from South Africa) and just never picked it up again. It is not a bad book but just not for me. My main problem was with the main character: a young boy that feels real but thus is very annoying.
Have you read one of those books and think I would enjoy it more if I kept on? How do you deal with DNFs of books that you should be writing a review on?