First Book Unhaul of 2021

On Wednesday I did a book haul post, and this is an accompaniment post to that one, where I unhaul 20 books to match the 20 books I bought. Here’s a link to the book haul, if you missed it. Now, even though I’m getting rid of a lot of books, that does not necessarily mean they are bad books. Most of these are books I thought were okay, but I know I’ll never want to reread and why should I keep a book that I know I won’t read again?

Also, I did this as a video together with that haul and unhaul.

Now let’s get into the twenty books I’m getting rid of.

Histoire Universelle De La Musique

The first book I’m getting rid of is Histoire universelle de la musique by Roland de Cande, which is a French book about the history of music. I got this from the Goodwill years ago in hopes of learning French and someday being able to read this book. Unfortunately, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably never will.

I am just focusing on other languages more. I’m learning Chinese in school now, and other languages I want to prioritize are Korean and Russian. French probably isn’t even in my top five languages to learn. There are just so many languages I want to be able to study, but I know I just don’t have the time to.

Killing Jesus: A History

The second book is Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. I have really enjoyed the Killing series in the past, especially Killing the Rising Sun (about defeating Japan in WWII). However, I ended up being unimpressed with this book. The rest of the books in the series are near to the modern age, based on more factual information we had about the topics they cover.

But the problem with writing a book about the life of Jesus is that, outside the Bible, there is very little information we have about his life (outside brief mentions by Josephus and Philo). Because of that, this book came across as more fictional. I just don’t see myself ever wanting to read it again.

Homegoing

The next book is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This book tells of two sisters, one who remains in Ghana, Africa, and the other who goes over to America in the 1700s as a slave. Then it follows they successive generations until the modern day.

I ended up giving this 3 stars. I loved all the historical details, but I never felt like I could connect to the story because the perspective kept changing to the next generation every chapter. Even if I can appreciate this book for what it was trying to achieve, I just don’t see myself ever wanting to read it again.

Vicki Finds the Answer (Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess, #2)

The next book I’m getting rid of is Vicki Finds the Answer by Helen Wells. This series was published in the 1940s (my copy was published in 1947), and tell stories of mysteries that Vicki, an airplane stewardess, has to solve. I bought it because I got extreme Nancy Drew vibes from it, but when I read it I was a bit unimpressed.

Maybe it was simply because I don’t have nostalgic vibes with this book that I have with Nancy Drew, but I’m not interested in reading more books in the series or rereading this one again.

Frozen Girl: The Discovery of an Incan Mummy

The next book is Frozen Girl: The Discovery of an Incan Mummy by David Getz. This is a short, mostly nonfiction book which tells of the finding of a frozen mummy who was sacrificed and left frozen in the mountains for centuries.

In theory, I love learning about Incan history, but I didn’t always agree with how and what information was presented. I don’t see myself rereading it, but I do want to read more books about the Incans.

Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality

The next book is Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality edited by Raymond Arroyo. This is a book of collected sayings of the founder of EWTN, a Catholic TV channel I grew up with. That founder was a nun known to most as Mother Angelica. I loved her when I was a child, so I was excited to read this book.

While I did enjoy the life lessons and cute sayings, it didn’t really say anything I didn’t already know. I know I won’t read it again, so I’m getting rid of it too.

The Things They Carried

The next book I’m getting rid of is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This was a book I had to read for school last year. It’s a nonfiction book documenting O’Brien’s experiences in Vietnam.

While I enjoy reading about experiences of soldiers in Vietnam, I just didn’t connect with the writing style. It jumped around, had crude descriptions, and just felt disjointed. It was like he was regurgitating thoughts and feelings unto the page with little cohesion. So while I could appreciate the history and his experiences, I just don’t care to read this again.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

The next book is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. I’ve mentioned before what a massive fan of Shakespeare I am, so this book was on my list to read for a long time. Set during Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, it follows two of the minor characters. It is also in play format.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t like this play. The entirety of it is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern having these random, mostly incoherent conversations which lead nowhere. Also, for the most part the original play is ignored. None of the beautiful language and deep messages are there. So I have no regrets getting rid of this book.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery, #1)

I am actually getting rid of the first three books of this series, starting with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. Set during WWII, it’s a mystery thriller following Maggie Hope, the secretary in Winston Churchill’s office. I wasn’t a massive fan of the first book, but so many people loved this series, so I decided to read the next two books because I had already bought them anyway.

And while I don’t hate this series, I never really connected to the characters and the mysteries were just alright, not great but not horrible. I just don’t see myself rereading these or continuing in the series, especially when there are so many historical mystery series out there that I would enjoy more.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)

The next book I’m getting rid of for similar reasons as the previous book. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear is the first book of a mystery series set in the 1920s. I read it a few years ago and felt no urge to continue on. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really make me fall in love with the mystery or characters.

Saying that, with this one I may continue on in the series, but I can easily access them at my library, so I see no point in keeping the first book when I can easily just reread it from my library.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The next book I’m getting rid of is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. This book follows two young men who are sent out to live in the countryside of China to be “reeducated” during Mao’s regime. There, they meet an attractive young Chinese seamstress and find a secret stash of forbidden Western classics including Balzac.

I didn’t hate this book, but I also didn’t love it. The two young men were kind of annoying, and I didn’t like how objectified the seamstress felt. I did love the historical detail, but I don’t see myself ever wanting to read this book again.

Life of Pi

The next book is the Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This book follows a young man who is in a horrible shipwreck and finds himself adrift at sea with a collection of wild animals, including a massive tiger.

I know a lot of people loved this book, but I was pretty underwhelmed by it. The visual descriptions are extremely flowery, and the twist ending was amazing, but for most of the book I was thoroughly bored. Nothing really happened except for Pi existing on this raft with the animals. I think I might enjoy the movie more, because the visuals were honestly the best part of the book.

White Fang

The next book is White Fang by Jack London. This book tells a story of a half wolf, half dog who endures much torment in the North before finding a new life with kind humans.

I read this late last year and while I did enjoy it, I liked Call of the Wild better and this is almost the same story. I can’t imagine that I would ever want to read this book again.

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)

This is probably a controversial choice, but I wasn’t a massive fan of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, so I’m getting rid of my copy of it.

This book is a sci-fi which follows Ender, a young boy placed into a highly competitive war game simulation with other children as war with an alien race threatens to destroy them. I honestly found most of this book a glorified training montage. Not very much happened, and only the ending was really interesting. So I’m getting rid of my copy of this.

Eclipse of the Body : How We Lost the Meaning of Sex, Gender, Marriage, & Family (And How to Reclaim It)

The next book I’m getting rid of is Eclipse of the Body by Christopher West. This book is based on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, a collection of speeches given by the late pope.

While I enjoyed this book, it didn’t really say anything I didn’t already know and I don’t see myself ever rereading it in the future.

Knit One, Kill Two (A Knitting Mystery, #1)

I’m getting rid of the first two books in the next series, starting with the first book Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton. This is a cozy mystery series following a woman who inherits her aunt’s house and joins a knitting club in town, only to be pulled into murder.

One of the reasons I’m getting rid of these two books is that I just didn’t like Kelly Flynn, the main character. I don’t see myself wanting to continue on in the series, especially when there are so many other modern cozy mysteries I might enjoy more.

Rebecca

And finally we’ve reached the last book! And that is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This book follows a young woman who marries a wealthy widower, only to go to his massive estate and find a great mystery surrounding his previous wife Rebecca.

While I loved the dark ambiance of this book (Du Maurier creates amazing gothic ambiances), I just didn’t care for the story and characters. I thought the twist was kind of obvious and the main character extremely bland (even though I think that was what Du Maurier was trying to achieve). I have enjoyed other books by Du Maurier, but I see no reason to keep this one because it is possibly my least favorite of hers I’ve read.

So there is my list. Have you read any of these books and do you disagree with me on some of my opinions? Do any of them look interesting to you? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

7 thoughts on “First Book Unhaul of 2021

  1. A very interesting read! I haven’t read many on this list, but agree with you on Life of Pi and see your point completely re Homegoing (can’t quite agree on Rebecca, though, hehe). I recall film Life of Pi was quite an amazing experience in 3D, but in all honestly I don’t think I will watch even the film ever again. I have also heard there is going to be a movie The Things They Carried. Speaking of the Vietnam War, one book that I definitely want to read this year on this topic is Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. I have such high expectations regarding it.

    It’s impressive you want to prioritise learning the most difficult languages and those that use non-Latin letters! The way I see it, people are usually easily put off by having to learn a different alphabet on top of different words, grammar, etc., but I now think it is so worth it because it opens worlds, deep cultural intricacies and mentalities few even imagine! If Russian weren’t my native, I would never had the courage to even start, and I am currently struggling with Chinese characters for my Japanese course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to see the film version of Life of Pi, because I think the visuals would make the film better than the book. I hadn’t heard they were making a movie of The Things They Carried, but I do want to learn more about the Vietnam war, so I’ll check out Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. I’ve never heard of it before.

      I’m probably crazy for wanting to learn the hardest languages for English speakers to learn, but I also don’t want to learn the languages I don’t truly love. I’ve loved Chinese and Korean for years, and the more Russian novels I read and movies I see, I want to learn that language too. It’s so hard though…

      Good luck with learning Japanese! Their characters are just as hard as Chinese just slightly different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is strange but I rarely watch Russian films or read contemporary Russian books (apart from Russian classics). Perhaps we are all interested in something we want to explore further, we feel we don’t know enough about and blog about it. There must be some exotic, enticing element present, and I like the feeling of discovering something new with each post I write. On that basis, I am probably more likely to blog about Africa or Latin America than Russia.

        Also, thank you, and good luck with your Chinese, too!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m currently taking a class on the history of Africa! It’s fascinating. And I agree that some of the appeal of distant places in that they are distance and unknown. Perhaps that’s why I’m not as interested in learning about America history as I am Asian history.

          Liked by 1 person

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