Sunday, May 9, 2021

Unfinished Business, Round Two


Two summers ago, I wrote a blog post titled: Unfinished Business. It was about books and series of books that I started a long time ago, and, for various reasons, was not able to complete. I wanted to, but I couldn't. 

In most cases, that was because I lost access in one way or another and didn't have the resources to just buy what I wanted to read. In other cases, it wasn't that I lost access, it was that I realized that I was reading a story I could get in trouble for reading or a story that was just not old enough for yet. 

A couple months before I wrote that post I started trying to build a complete list of every story that'd been left hanging  along with some books that I had finished reading, but hadn't finished understanding and hadn't finished thinking about. There was a lot. A lot more than I told you about. 

I've read a lot of it in the last two years, and it feels really good, but as I went, I kept remembering more. To this day there are even a couple items I know exist, but I can't remember the title or the author, and much Googling has yielded nothing. *Gets distracted and tries again for half an hour, no results.*

Annnyways, thought I'd do an update post. I think I'm at the tail end of my list and remembering new stuff to put on it so here's what's left: 

The Mars Diaries series by Sigmund Brouwer

I started reading this in middle school. The Christian school library I had access to at the time had the first few books, and then I got one for Christmas one year, but after that I didn't see any in libraries or bookstores anywhere, and I didn't know about Amazon, so that was that.

From what I remember, this is a Christian middle grade series set on Mars about a 14-year old boy who has never been to earth. He is a paraplegic and the only child on the planet. All his friends are grown-up scientists. I remember the massive, frustrating cliffhanger at the end of book five or maybe six (of 10), but I don't remember much else about the plot, so I'm going to need to start this series over from the beginning. 

The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer

I picked up Bloody Jack, the first in a 12-book series about a teenaged girl who masquerades as a boy to gain employment on a ship, when I was around 13. I had never read a book before that used misspelling to show dialect, which was both fascinating and difficult to read. Because sailors swear a lot, and because Jacky does end up getting pretty hot and heavy with one of her shipmates, by the time I finished the book I admitted I probably wasn't really allowed to be reading that stuff, and quit the series with minor regret.

I thought about it every once in a while over the years, but one book into a 12-book series isn't too invested, so even now I just think it would be fun to find out what adventures Jacky got up to. I'm currently reading book three (which is MUCH easier via audiobook), but I'm not in any rush on this one.

The Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore

I was so excited about this series when the first book came out in 2010 and was quickly picked up for a movie. I read the first three books as they were published at which point the two people writing under the pseudonym "Pittacus Lore" reportedly split up over artistic differences, and it appeared the least talented of the two was going it alone. 

At that point I couldn't justify procuring more of the series with my limited resources, over objectively better books, but now I'm happy to get back to them, since they're free at my library. Book four was mediocre at best, but things are looking up with book five, and I only have two to go. I Just Want To Know How It Ends, I really don't care anymore if it's good, I just don't want it out there, existing in the world, unfinished by me. 

And oh right, it's about a bunch of alien kids with super powers being hunted across Earth by grown-up aliens of another species without superpowers but with pretty intense technology. The only humans involved are super nerdy and believe in conspiracy theories, and also there's a human love interest who could pretty easily be replaced with a potted plant. Very few humans involved in this whole thing, is what I'm trying to say. 

The King Raven series by Stephen Lawhead

I was really, really confused by the first few pages of Hood because it was both recommended and lent to me in highschool by a super-conservative Christian lady in my church, but right off the bat there was a bunch of violence, swearing, and sex. The book scared me, the situation weirded me out, and altogether I probably read 25 pages before deciding I just wasn't ready for this adult retelling of Robin Hood. This is honestly one of the things that established for me that I don't take book recommendations from most people even if I trust them in most other areas of life.

But. This is business that feels unfinished to me. I think about it more than I should. Now that I'm a grown-up (weird, right?) I think I'll give this another chance and see if it's good after all, and maybe I was just too sheltered to handle it at the time. I mean, I'm sure she thought I'd like it for a reason. 

Phantastes by George MacDonald

The only thing I know about this book is that it's a fairy tale and that it's by the same man who wrote Orthodoxy, which is one of my favorite nonfiction Christian works in existence. My mom had a copy and I eyed it from middle school through high school. I think I tried to start it a couple times, but the type was so close, and the writing was just too difficult for me at the time. I think, with a college degree in literature I can probably handle it now. 

The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side by Agatha Christie

Okay this is a completely different case. I never started this book, and it's kind of a long story. I used to be on this website called Bookmooch. Basically it was a book trading site where you could list books, and if someone wanted your book, they could use points to mooch it from you. Then you were responsible for the postage to get it to them, but then you'd get the points, and you'd get to mooch a book from someone else. 

It was like thrifting books but much more complicated. I eventually realized I was spending more money sending books all over the world (yes, I was sending internationally fairly often, extra points!) than the value of the books I was able to find on the site. There just weren't enough people doing it and not enough good books to go around, so even though it was super fun, I eventually quit. 

One of the last books I picked up through Bookmooch was The Mirror Crack'd, but the copy that came to me was so musty that I ended up just getting rid of it, because musty books make me sick. Sad. Anyway, my library has it so, I'll be grabbing it, probably in the fall when the weather's perfect for cozy mysteries. 

Is this just me? 

Do you have Unfinished Business from your reading past that you're working on? I've found it to be a super cathartic thing. Even when the books turn out to be unremarkable, it still feels really good to finally read them and just know what became of the characters I met all that time ago and sort of just close boxes that are open and messy in my mind. 

Next Up: General Life and Reading Update: Kittens, Recent Reads, and More


  1. I have so many series I need to finish or start again because I forgot everything about it. I remember really liking Hood, but Scarlett was my favorite of the three. It's a really well done series. I should probably re-read it.

    1. Series are the worst! Especially when they take years to come out. I'm so glad to hear you liked Hood and Scarlet and Tuck. I'm getting more excited about tackling that now!