Now here’s the thing: I do try to keep my Goodreads-shelves at least somewhat tidy. That means I have my to-read shelf which only has books that I already own (though not all of them because I’m lazy), a wishlist-shelf with books I really want (upcoming books in series I’m reading and books that came warmly recommended by trustworthy people), and a maybe-shelf with books that sound interesting but where I want to check out reviews/samples first before I make a final decision. Of course, sometimes that decision is ‘I do not want to read it’ but I honestly don’t remember too many books that I kicked off that list because I didn’t feel strongly about them in the first place.
So most of these are books I actually owned (or had at least borrowed) and then decided that I’d rather not. Also, I don’t manage 10 because I’m more likely to give a book at least a chance before I toss them.
1. Leonie Swann: Garou
Once upon a time, Glennkill was a big hit in Germany. A crime-novel in which sheep solve the murder of their shepherd. I read it and found it…cute. Garou is the sequel to it but in the end, I decided that ‘cute’ alone isn’t enough to make me read the second book and the book wasn’t much more than cute.
2. Jane Austen: Emma
I have watched the movie and that was enough to tell me that I won’t enjoy the book, either. I just don’t like Emma, the character. She’s a horrible person who manipulates others because she thinks she knows better than they do what’s best for them.
Before you say anything: I’m aware that all Austen heroines (and heroes) have to learn their lesson and that Emma meant well but the thing is…I don’t care. She simply has character-traits that annoy me a lot and I don’t see why I should suffer reading about that for ages before she learns her lesson.
3. Bernhard Hennen: Die Elfen-books
The first book Die Elfen (The Elves) came out shortly after the Lord of the Rings movies and very much tried to ride on its popularity. But to be fair: it’s not just Middle Earth fanfic with the serial numbers filed off. Both take inspiration from Nordic mythology but do very different things with them. And I even enjoyed Die Elfen, a lot. Enough that I got the final two books in the trilogy at once and also picked up the box-set with all the Elfenritter audiobooks without quite knowing how that series connected to the original one.
But when I took a closer look at Elfenwinter I noticed that it wasn’t actually a sequel to Die Elfen but set somehow at the same time but in a different place with different main characters. But the main characters (or rather one of them) was the main reason I enjoyed the first book so much. I decided to give Elfenritter a try then but didn’t even made it through the first book (I am so tired of fantasy novels with stories in which a thinly veiled version of Christianity threatens the Old Ways and tries to burn people). In the end, I threw all of them out.
4. Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone
This is a book I never owned a copy of but I heard so much good about it, I really wanted to give it a try. And then I read Six of Crows by the author and it was…nice. Not great but not bad either and it made me curious about the sequel which I read… and didn’t enjoy at all. And the main reason for that was that it frequently read like an author’s first book. Bardugo tries to trick you into thinking something goes terribly wrong…only it all goes perfectly fine, the current POV-character is just lying to you. That’s bad style.
So after that my desire to try out an actual earlier work by the author diminished. And then the book came up in a discussion with a Russian friend and she screamed “Grisha! The powerful and intimidating mages are called Grishas. That’s like somebody writing a Germanic-fantasy novel where the mages are called Gretchen.” And I will never be able to unthink this which means I probably won’t be able to take the book serious anyway.
5. Colum McCann: Everything In This Country Must
I have not much to say about this except that I read ‘Hunger Strike’ by the author during my teenage ALL THE IRISH THINGS-phase and to be honest I was too young to really get it. I got Everything In This Country Must anyway because ALL THE IRISH THINGS and forgot about it. Recently I found it again, skimmed a few passages and decided that it wasn’t really my thing.
6. Dieter Breuers: Knights, Monks and Farmers – An entertaining history of the Middle Ages
I picked this up during a library sale because the chapter-titles were hilarious and history! Middle-ages! But since then I realized something: I don’t care about generic medieval history that much. I enjoyed Rebecca Gable’s Von Rastlosen und Löwenherzen about the English middle-ages (and if you know German I can only recommend it), I’ve read books about Russian and Irish history and want to dig deeper into those topics (and a few more) but I don’t need a book that focusses mostly on German/Western European middle-ages (and is of questionable veracity anyway, if the Amazon-reviews can be believed).