I feel as though I have been on an abandoning spree. Most of the books I brought back with me from my trip home to replenish my reading supplies have ended up in the abandoned pile. I don’t know if I am going though a picky phase or I have just had several duds languishing on my shelves. Anyways, I’m actually upset over my decision to abandon these two novels because I have read so many reviews praising both books. However, I refuse to force myself to read any longer, particularly when one book is over 500 pages. The last book mentioned in this post is a nonfiction book I’ve had on my shelf for two years now.

Winner of the Orange Prize,  Half of a Yellow Sun examines the struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s through the intertwining stories of Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy; Olanna, the lover of Ugwu’s master; and Richard, an Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s twin sister. The first time I started reading Adichie’s novel, I ended up setting the book aside and promised to come back to the novel. Almost a year later, I abandoned this book one hundred and fifty-five pages in largely because I could not keep the characters straight. It also did not help that the focus of this novel, the Biafran Uprising, had yet to begin. My unfamiliarity with Nigerian history further complicated my understanding of the novel as I never could ascertain the time period or context of the events.

This was also my second time trying to read The Postmistress, a novel set in World War II were multiple characters are interconnected through the transfer of knowledge through radio dispatches by Frankie Bard. Blake’s novel grabbed my interest because of its setting and focus on female characters both at home and in the trenches, so to say. However, the novel begins rather oddly with one of the characters seeking out written confirmation that she is “intact”. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and even know I cannot recall exactly which character was searching out this verification. This was also my second time picking up this book and trying to get through it. I abandoned it fifty-three pages in.

Subtitled “The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean”, Americas promised to be a comprehensive introduction to the countries and people of Latin and South America. I love how this book begins — a snappy reminder that the United States of America is not the only America, that everyone living on the continents of North and South America are Americans. Unfortunately, the book falls apart after that point. Rather than introducing each country individually, the book tries to present a history not confined to geographic boundaries. Then the history of Chile begins to dominate the narrative, marginalizing all other countries until such a point where Winn decides to back up in time and reintroduce other countries. I abandoned this book one hundred and thirty pages in.

Others’ Thoughts:

Books Mentioned:

  • Adichie, Chimamanga Ngozi. Half of a Yellow Sun. New York: Anchor Books, 2006. Print. 545 pgs. ISBN: 9781400095209. Source: Purchased.
  • Blake, Sarah. The Postmistress. New York: Amy Einhorn Books, 2010. Print. 326 pgs. ISBN: 9780399156199. Source: Purchased.
  • Winn, Peter. Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999. Originally published 1992. Print. 663 pgs. ISBN: 9780520221819. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Anchor Books. Book Cover © Amy Einhorn Books. Book Cover © University of California Press. Retrieved: July 4, 2012.