1. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books you couldn't finish.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Fitzroy Zeph, Jan 25, 2014.

    Everyone has their individual tastes, so this may be an unfair question, but which great book could you simply not finish?

    I've tried twice now, and cannot bring myself to read the rest of Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I'm sure it's for lack of sophistication on my part, but I find it grating despite being beautifully written.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The Silmarillion. I know you said 'great books', but most of the books people tend to classify as such, I just can't be arsed to read.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm assuming you mean great by other people's standards since I can't judge how great a book is if I haven't read the whole thing.

    I'll go with The Magic Mountain by Mann. I was discussing this book with a few others in another thread, and I told them I quit because it was a difficult read. Another one is Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I read most of the first volume, but I got bored. No way in hell I'm reading the other 6 volumes.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There are several books I couldn't get through the first time I tried. I guess, when I was younger (teens and twenties), I didn't have as much patience or as much, ah, "aesthetic refinement" (hee hee) as I have now. These books include Moby Dick and Finnegans Wake. I haven't tried Infinte Jest, and I still haven't made it through Gravity's Rainbow.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I could live to be a hundred and I still wouldn't be able to finish this book.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It takes a lot of meditation. When you're done, you have a black belt in Wake-Fu.
     
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  7. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    This isn't exactly in the same vein, but I found On the Origin of Species to be a massive disappointment. I didn't realise there would be so many peas in it.

    If Charles Darwin had spent as much time studying polar bears and tigers as he did peas it would have been a great book.
     
  8. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    None as of yet. I did put "One Hundred Years of Solitude" down to work on my own project, but it's there, page marked, ready for pick up where I left off.

    As an aside, I loved "Midnight's Children." I had a hard time putting that book down.

    A couple books took me a long time, as I had to take a break from them: "Moby Dick" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Both are big books, like "One Hundred Years..." so I expect to pick 100yrs up again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Look what I came across:
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I can understand why, but I'd give it another bash. The ending to Gravity's Rainbow is (I'm really not joking here) one of the most intense and funniest things I've ever read. Even if I'm not sure I understood it. I'm still not sure what Gravity's Rainbow is all about, and if I read it again I bet I still wouldn't understand it, but it is one heck of a ride!

    The Wake, though, and Magic Mountain ... yeah, stopped with those books. Magic Mountain because I just didn't feel ready for. The Wake, I just couldn't be bothered with. I do intend to give both books another try, but there wasn't much of an entryway for me to care about what Joyce was trying to do with that book.

    The book I have finished but now wonder why (related, her-her) are Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. I'm actually more glad I read The Tommyknockers than Ayn Rand's book, I at least hated Tommyknockers passionately. That's at least a reaction, exactly what I didn't get with Ayn Rand.

    That's really something. I'm really not sure what to make of it. I liked it more when I switched off, and just felt the rhythm of the words, but I have no idea what any of it means.

    Edit: talking about Pynchon, interesting that Joyce used the word 'Vineland'. Considering the Pynchon novel of the same name came out after Gravity's Rainbow was called the new Ulysses ... I feel like I've suddenly got the joke.
     
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  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @Lemex - I agree completely about Atlas Shrugged. By the 2/3 mark through the book, she'd said everything she had to say and, as a novel, it was not at all compelling.

    As to the original question, for me it would have to be The Red Badge of Courage. I was assigned this as reading three times as a student - in my first and second years of high school (they figured out that no one had read it the first time) and my second year of college. The furthest I got was page 40 or so. When I was in my early forties, I decided to go back and read several books that I either had been assigned and had ditched, or that I just had never read and felt I should have done. This time, I vowed, I would make it all the way through Mr. Crane's little tome. This time, I made it as far as page 25. To this day, I do not understand why this is regarded as great literature. To me, it's dry as dust.
     
  12. fmmarcy
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    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne. I'm quite the sci-fi buff, so I thought it would be good to go back to the founding fathers of the genre, H.G. Wells and Verne. Wells went alright, but when I ventured into Verne's iconic novel, I kept getting bogged down in his complicated and confusing descriptions of marine biology. All I wanted was a good story about Captain Nemo and his submarine (which was interesting, mind you) but I hit a wall of boredom and confusion every time he veered into marine biology textbook territory.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I hated The Tommyknockers so much I have yet to give King a second chance. It is one of the only things in my life I have started without finishi
     
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  14. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    I've attempted The Lord Of The Rings several times, but never got further than the first book. Although the pace picks up as the story goes on, it's so slow to begin with. I really liked the films - one of the few instances of a film adaptation being better for me than the written source material.
     
  15. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Tommyknockers was indeed very terrible, but it had a pretty good ending.

    A coworker lent me Big Sur by Jack Kerouac. I'm halfway through and I want to be able to tell them I read it, but it just seems so directionless.
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Finnegan's Wake - made it to page twenty before I admitted defeat.
    120 days of Sodom - too gross, so I quit.
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I wish he had read the whole book because hearing the words spoken makes it a bit easier to catch any puns or references that I might ordinarily miss. That's mostly because I'm mispronouncing a lot of the words (like "Mezha").
     
  18. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    I don't know about anybody else, but I felt like frisbee-ing Infinite Jest out my top window after 200 pages or so. Not because it was difficult, but because I thought it was over-written, boring, pretentious shite
     
  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I tried Red Badge of Courage several times. Being an English major, I pretty much assumed I was the only of my ilk on the planet who was unable to get through it. Worthy, no doubt, but yes. Not very readable.

    I've also struggled more recently with anything by China Mieville. I can see why folks like his writing, but I find it difficult because it's REALLY depressing stuff, and I also struggle sometimes to figure out who is who in his stories. This is dystopia on a grand scale indeed. However, I will persevere. I think there is a lot in there. I think maybe I just need to be in the right mood. (Incredibly down, and looking to go even downer...) I think he's one of those authors whom I respect, but just can't enjoy!
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Wow, that would have been amazing! I wish he had done that now, too. What we need to do is capture an Irishman, train him to read it, and then make him read through it for an audiobook.
     
  21. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I've been working on the Christian Bible (KJV) for a couple of months now, and I'm not yet through Genesis, so I doubt if I'll finish it. Obscure, repetitive and not even good literature. Hard to blame The Author, I guess.
     
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  22. Ice_Twin
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    Ice_Twin New Member

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    Agreed! I know it gets better and more exciting but the start is just so slow and rambling, I gave up and just watched the films instead, which is something I usually berate others for doing. (blush)
     
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  23. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    That could be tough. How would he pronounce "Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk"? :p
     
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  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Easy. With the gutteral "gh" and the accent on the nineteenth syllable.

    :p
     
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  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I pronounce it naturally when I gargle water. :p
     
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