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Thread: Books you are unable to finish...

  1. #1
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    Books you are unable to finish...

    ...or just gave up on. You got stuck, and couldn't proceed further, or you just felt you'd read enough. You have plans to return to them one day, and complete the deed; or not. Off the top of my head:

    Doris Lessing - Shikasta
    John Updike - Couples
    Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
    Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita
    Yu Hua - Brothers
    Margaret Atwood - The Edible Woman

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    Last time I tried to read "Moby Dick" was when I was 10. It didn't go so well...

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    A Feast for Crows. I realized that almost every character that I cared about was dead, so I just stopped reading it.

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    I've only once stopped reading a book, forgot the title already. Not even sure what it was about anymore either, as this was a decade ago. Something about some guy(s) taking a trip through the USA. Fucking terrible book, what a goddamn waste of time.

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    On The Road? Haha, I enjoyed that. A bit overrated maybe, but a fun read.

    Oh, and talking about everyone being dead, I couldn't hack John Irving's The World According to Garp either.

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    I am usually unable to finish when i don't want it to end. The Barock Cycle by Neal Stephenson is a prominent example. That habit haunts my since i learned to read.
    Last edited by baudolino; 02-19-2014 at 09:51 AM.

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    Moby Dick - It started off great but soon got tedious with entire chapters just irrelevant to the story.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray - I hated every single character. I loved the concept of the story though but I just couldn't finish it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heroicraptor View Post
    A Feast for Crows. I realized that almost every character that I cared about was dead, so I just stopped reading it.
    That one was such a long slog to finish. All the best characters weren't in it but I did manage to finish it. I think it certainly has tarnished GoT for me though. I've read the first book of Dance with Dragons but I'm not in a hurry to carry on.

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    "A Map of the World" - Jane Hamilton

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    Niel Gaiman - American Gods

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixer808 View Post
    Last time I tried to read "Moby Dick" was when I was 10. It didn't go so well...
    i tried to read Moby Dick in my teens... and it was so.... sooooooo.... SOOOOOOOOOO dry. that part in the middle where it takes a left off of the highway of the main story and just goes on this tangent about the specifics of whale hunting, and it goes on for pages and pages and pages.... couldn't do it. it's the only book i've never finished.

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    The Last Temptation of Christ. I've tried several times to pick it back up and I just can't get into it.

    Then there's Finnegan's Wake. I'm not even going to try again.

    Quote Originally Posted by heroicraptor View Post
    A Feast for Crows. I realized that almost every character that I cared about was dead, so I just stopped reading it.
    That was a tough one. I almost gave up several times. I cannot make myself care about the Brienne character, and the book practically revolves around her. It's odd too, because the last hundred pages or so are awesome, and Dance with Dragons is a definite step in the right direction.
    Last edited by Jinsai; 02-20-2014 at 02:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    Then there's Finnegan's Wake. I'm not even going to try again.
    I haven't checked it out myself but I've heard it's just impossible for most people. I might give it a shot one day but everything I've heard about it just makes it sound like a pain in the ass.

    For me, I've been trying to get through Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and I just can't. It's written wonderfully but there are no quotation marks so you don't know when someone's speaking or just thinking, and even the, it's hard to tell who's saying or thinking what's written. I've started it a few times, every time thing "THIS time I'll finish it", but I've had it for 2 or 3 years now and still haven't. I just keep misinterpreting every bit of dialogue and then have to re-read so much to get it right that it's just tedious and not enjoyable at all. I REALLY want to enjoy this book, and I've heard great things about it, and I love the characters, but fuck, I can't stand reading speech and not knowing who's saying or thinking it, it just ruins it for me.
    Last edited by ibanez33; 02-20-2014 at 05:03 AM.

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    William L Shirer's 1959 monstrosity "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".Tried many times but its just too daunting, i even picked up a paperback copy a couple months back, and its just been collecting dust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanez33 View Post
    For me, I've been trying to get through Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and I just can't. It's written wonderfully but there are no quotation marks so you don't know when someone's speaking or just thinking, and even the, it's hard to tell who's saying or thinking what's written. I've started it a few times, every time thing "THIS time I'll finish it", but I've had it for 2 or 3 years now and still haven't. I just keep misinterpreting every bit of dialogue and then have to re-read so much to get it right that it's just tedious and not enjoyable at all. I REALLY want to enjoy this book, and I've heard great things about it, and I love the characters, but fuck, I can't stand reading speech and not knowing who's saying or thinking it, it just ruins it for me.
    I've read The Road and No Country For Old Men, same deal, but you get used to it. Gotta pick up some more of his stuff, the writing is gorgeous!
    Quote Originally Posted by "The Road"
    He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.
    Last edited by Fixer808; 03-29-2014 at 10:05 PM.

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    Blood Meridian is certainly worth persevering with. It doesn't matter who's speaking: part of the point is that this gang becomes an indistinguishable mass of violence, that the men lose their individuality through these horrific violent group actions. For a while I was confused between the captain and Glanton, but once I let this worry go, and submitted to the book's logic, it clicked. I think it's meant to be a disorienting, confusing read.
    One of my favourite things about BM (now that I'm on the topic) is that the rocky landscape is the protagonist, not the people, who are like insects crawling on a rock.

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    Anna Karenina.

    I was reading it on the plane on my way to, and at the home of, my then girlfriend's parents' house. I thought I was going to marry this woman (mutual discussions).

    I got about as far as the guy being absolutely devastated over being rejected by the woman he wanted to marry. I put the book aside for a couple weeks to read something a bit lighter...and then got dumped.

    Never, ever, reading the rest of that book.

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    Books you are unable to finish...

    But it gets WAY better. He (Levin) ends up marrying Kitty, after all, and ends up being really happy. Anna, not so much LOL.
    Last edited by allegro; 04-06-2014 at 10:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    One of my favourite things about BM (now that I'm on the topic) is that the rocky landscape is the protagonist, not the people, who are like insects crawling on a rock.
    Exactly this. That being said, the Judge is perhaps the most terrifying character I've ever encountered in any book.

    My reading progress of Kafka's The Castle directly mirrors the protagonist's journey to said castle. Some Zeno's arrow shit going on here.

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    Never could get more than halfway through "Catch-22" or "Paradise Lost". I'm willing to give Heller another chance but I think I'm done w/Milton. Monumentally boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ad infinitum View Post
    Never could get more than halfway through "Catch-22" or "Paradise Lost". I'm willing to give Heller another chance but I think I'm done w/Milton. Monumentally boring.
    To be fair, Paradise Lost isn't a book; it's an epic poem with over a thousand lines. I have an English Lit degree and I studied Paradise Lost for my 400-level Capstone Thesis and I got to see the great Stanley Fish lecture at a Milton symposium the University of Illinois at Chicago , and I gotta say i *love* Paradise Lost but it does require some guidance and some additional material (my thesis focused on Eve from the feminist perspective yeah yeah I know, but there is a SHITLOAD of research from that perspective, I could barely narrow down my research!). I've re-read it at least 3 times and my shelves are loaded with additional research and I highly recommend:

    * this
    * this
    * And if there is any way you can get ahold of C.S. Lewis' "A Preface to Paradise Lost," GET IT because it, in itself, IS FUCKING AWESOME.
    Last edited by allegro; 04-08-2014 at 10:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allegro View Post
    To be fair, Paradise Lost isn't a book; it's an epic poem with over a thousand lines. I have an English Lit degree and I studied Paradise Lost for my 400-level Capstone Thesis and I got to see the great Stanley Fish lecture at a Milton symposium the University of Illinois at Chicago , and I gotta say i *love* Paradise Lost but it does require some guidance and some additional material (my thesis focused on Eve from the feminist perspective yeah yeah I know, but there is a SHITLOAD of research from that perspective, I could barely narrow down my research!). I've re-read it at least 3 times and my shelves are loaded with additional research and I highly recommend:

    * this
    * this
    * And if there is any way you can get ahold of C.S. Lewis' "A Preface to Paradise Lost," GET IT because it, in itself, IS FUCKING AWESOME.
    Yeah, of course it's technically a poem, I just tend to consider it loosely as a book because of its sheer length. I'll have a look at the links you recommended & I'll *definitely* track down the Lewis piece. I read/studied some of his work in a college theology class & really enjoyed it. I can see how some preparation & study beforehand would lend to a better appreciation & understanding of Milton. I'll keep an open mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ad infinitum View Post
    I'll have a look at the links you recommended & I'll *definitely* track down the Lewis piece. I read/studied some of his work in a college theology class & really enjoyed it. I can see how some preparation & study beforehand would lend to a better appreciation & understanding of Milton. I'll keep an open mind.
    Yeah, I don't think I would have appreciated it at ALL had I not had my hand held by a really great, really well-seasoned English professor, plus I never thought I'd get into theology studies like I did, really cool stuff! And Lewis and the other scholarly essays really gave me a shitload (too much?) additional perspective and, with that, it became something I realized shaped (twisted?) our view of Genesis WAY more than I ever realized.

    That same professor made us *LOVE* Beowulf, did these awesome lectures, reading it aloud, percussive, beating his fist into opposite hand as he read, Professor Wilcox, wow, I was blessed.
    Last edited by allegro; 04-08-2014 at 12:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allegro View Post
    I have an English Lit degree
    Annnnnnnnnnd NOW i know why i like talking to you so much.
    I want an English Lit degree, damnit.
    I made it up through English 5 in high school. I scored a perfect score (5) on BOTH English AP tests.
    They used my essay from one of those AP tests to teach the AP test at my high school.
    I have a real knack for literary criticism...i truly believe i could have made a career of it.
    I was also a National Merit Scholar finalist and i FORGOT MY FUCKING CALCULATOR. If i had had the calculator, i would have been a fucking NMS.
    I was one of those people who could have gone to an ivy league school on a full ride, but i am also bipolar...my highschool sweetheart left and i just shut down.
    I finished high school in a mental hospital. When i got out, i started drinking. So i spend a LOT of time pouting about the might have c-c-could have beens.
    blah blah blah poor me, ANY damn way...

    House of Leaves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elevenism View Post
    I want an English Lit degree, damnit.
    There's never a time that's too late to get one, just remember that.
    But, hardly anybody can make a career out of literary criticism, especially not these days. i sure wish I could make a career out of it! It's so much fun!
    Last edited by allegro; 04-12-2014 at 07:16 PM.

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    But @allegro , there is SO much of it!
    I would love to be an english teacher.
    What do you do?
    But you know what fascinates me the most? Theology.
    If i could do anything in the world, i would get a degree in comparative religion with a minor in english lit.

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    I love Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 and Breakfast of Champions are some of my favorite books, yet damn I cannot get through Cats Cradle.. I keep picking it up, losing where I was, reading a bit, putting it down, picking it up.. ugh.. I actually think I'm going to have to start again.

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    Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott.

    I was disappointed I couldn't get into On the Road as well. The book is supposedly the product of everything I love, but it ended with a big struggle and a big nope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FeedYourHead View Post
    Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott.

    I was disappointed I couldn't get into On the Road as well. The book is supposedly the product of everything I love, but it ended with a big struggle and a big nope.
    Try Darhma Bums. On the road is pretty tedious. I enjoyed it but never felt the need to read it again. Bums' however I've read a couple times and imo does a better job of conveying those feelings.
    Last edited by Pillfred; 01-17-2015 at 06:59 PM.

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    I can't read fiction anymore.
    It's been like a year.
    Whenever I pick up a novel, I'm like: eh.
    And put it down after a few pages.

    I guess after 10 years reading fiction non-stop I need a break. I can still do audiobooks, though.
    I did write a novel last summer: so maybe that's something to do with it.
    It's some message that I should be writing fiction, not reading it.
    In any case it's really weird.

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