Mini-Reviews: Recent DNFs

So, it turns out that once I get on a DNFing streak, I really get on a DNFing streak. Here are some more mini-reviews from books I’ve abandoned.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Pulitzer Finalist Susan Choi’s narrative-upending novel about what happens when a first love between high school students is interrupted by the attentions of a charismatic teacher

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

DNF @ 3%

This book was so, so hyped (even Obama recommended it!) but I made it to 3% before I couldn’t take it anymore. THREE PERCENT. Between the constant descriptions of how unattractive the characters were (I get it, you don’t have to remind me on every page) and the weird groping in the middle of class, I just can’t. I know I hardly read any of this book, but based on what I did read, I don’t understand how this book won any awards.


The Hero and the Hacktivist by Pippa Grant
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 9, 2018
Source: Borrowed

For anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of an unsolicited dick pic…

He has the muscles of Adonis, an ego bigger than the sun, and a very clear desire to get back in my pants. Which would be fantastic if he weren’t a SEAL and I wasn’t a criminal.

Although, I prefer the term avenger.

I’m a hacktivist, cleaning up the cesspool of cyberspace one scam artist and troll at a time, and I sometimes bend a few rules to get justice done.

He’s a military man with abs of glory, sworn to uphold the letter of the law no matter its shortcomings. And if he’d known who—or what—I was, I doubt he would’ve banged me at my best friend’s wedding reception.

Or come back for more.

Which is why he’s now the only thing standing between me and one very pissed off internet troll who’s figured out where I live.

I’m pretty sure he’ll get me out of this alive—and quite satisfied, thank you very much—but I’m also pretty sure this mission will end with me in handcuffs.

And not the good kind of handcuffs.

The Hero and the Hacktivist is a romping fun SEAL / Best Friend’s Brother / Robin Hood in Cyberspace romance between a meathead and an heiress, complete with epic klutziness, terrible leg warmers, and an even worse phone virus gone wrong. This romantic comedy stands alone with no cheating or cliffhangers and ends with a fabulously fun happily ever after.

DNF @ ~5%

It’s actually been a while since I DNFed this one, so I’m estimating about how far I got before I gave up. This book was just one nope after another for me, and it got to be too much really quickly. The book starts with someone randomly throwing up in a corner and then progresses almost immediately to a hate-fuck between two people who’ve never met. Add to that characters who annoyed me from their first mention, and it was a recipe for a DNF.

#romanceopoly: military mews


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 6, 2003
Source: Borrowed

In Bryson’s biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves.

Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

DNF @ 42%

As much as it pains me to say it, I had to DNF my latest attempt at education via Bill Bryson. I loved The Body, but A Short History of Nearly Everything did not hold my attention at all. It’s well-written and full of information, but it’s not what I expected. Rather than give it a bad rating, I just DNFed.


Have you read any of these books? What’s the last book you DNFed?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Body by Bill Bryson

The Body by Bill Bryson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Source: Borrowed

In the bestselling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe.

Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up.

A wonderful successor to A Short History of Nearly Everything, this book will have you marvelling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again.

It was the end of 2019, I was scrolling through the Goodreads Choice Awards nominees, and a book called The Body stood out to me. I immediately went to place a hold on it at the library, only to find a really, really long waiting list. The hold eventually came in and I got to listening.

Now, some background. I worked in a hospital for seven years. I’m a Certified Professional Coder (for medical claims, not computer programs), which means that I’ve spent plenty of time learning about human anatomy and physiology as well as pretty much every medical condition you can find in the International Classification of Diseases. I’m currently working as a Risk Adjustment Medical Record Coder, which means that I have to sort of infer what doctors mean and put two and two together to match their documentation with the proper code over on the health insurance side. All of this is to say that I find medical conditions pretty interesting and I have a good amount of background in this kind of thing.

I still found The Body absolutely fascinating.

This is not a dry, scientific textbook. This is an incredibly interesting book that touches on each of the human body systems and provides seemingly endless facts on each of them. Since finishing, I’ve found myself interjecting these facts into daily conversations, usually at random. I’ll be talking to my boyfriend about what to eat for dinner and say something like, “Oh! I learned in The Body that sometimes doctors used to do an oophorectomy because of a chronic cough, isn’t that crazy?” or “I forgot to tell you! I read in The Body that there was a woman who scratched all the way through her skull!”

But it’s not just one bit of trivia after another. It’s also really educational! Bryson strikes a great balance between the basic building blocks of information on a topic and some fun stuff to even it all out. The book is funny, but not in an over-the-top kind of way. It’s really a great book for anyone who’s interested in learning more about their anatomy.

The book teetered between four and five stars for me, but I decided to go with four because I felt that the book got a little bit rambly at times. I’d think that a topic was almost over, but it would just keep going (and going, and going, especially The End). But still, I’ve already put a hold on Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and I can’t wait to learn even more!


Have you read The Body? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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