Monday, April 23, 2012

Books I didn't finish

Ulysses by James Joyce
Why didn't I finish it?: Because it's Ulysses. Nah, but this thing was mostly over my head and trudging my way through it felt like an academic exercise.
Will I ever bother with it again: Sure, I'll give it another go someday. Because it's Ulysses.  
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
Why didn't I finish it?: Good question. It's perfectly readable and stylistically impressive. The only problem was the complete and utter lack of plot or character development. That's not necessarily a deal-breaker for me (I've finished stuff that was way more aimless than this), but it does make it hard for me to care whether I ever get to the end or not.
Will I ever bother with it again: Nah. Truman Capote said, "That's not writing, that's typing." But that's not why I'll never finish this. It's just because I care that little.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Why didn't I finish it?: There's nothing wrong with this book. I just hate Levin. It's never a good thing when the most boring character in the whole book is intended as a stand-in for the author. You might as well just call the book "I Judge Everyone".
Will I ever bother with it again: Probably. I liked The Death of Ivan Ilyich, so I know Tolstoy is the man. I just have to ignore anything about this book that I dislike.
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol Why didn't I finish it?: It's too long.
Will I ever bother with it again: No.  
All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Why didn't I finish it?: The first chapter to this book is 75 pages long. The equivalent scene in the movie takes takes like two minutes of screen time. Yeah, I found it slooooowwwww.
Will I ever bother with it again: Unlikely. Maybe it gets a hell of a lot better after that first chapter. But I just don't see why I should.
Anything by Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, etc. Why?: I've got a lot of gaps to fill in my literary knowledge. Some of them, I like to keep that way.


Wendy McMillan said...

You failed to mention that Dead Souls is unfinished so you couldn't finish it even if you wanted to.

My list is...Les Miserables, that Dracula book Shelly gave me, and a few nonfiction titles I can't remember. Oh yeah, I've read all the Old Testament except Isaiah.

Austin said...

I tried reading The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce and couldn't get into it at ALL. I want to read Joyce because, you know, he's Joyce, one of my teachers suggested I start with Dubiners, but haven't gotten around to it yet. My attention span has really suffered ever since I was born, and it's only gotten worse.

Kudos to you on at least trying to read some of those books.

Future blog post suggestions: top x favorite books, books you hated or struggled through to complete.

Jacob I. McMillan said...

I agree about Portrait, AustinDM. I stopped reading Ulysses because I wasn't getting it, but I stopped reading Portrait because it sucked. There's a difference.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have arbitrarily decided to post a new blog every day, so I'm always looking for new ideas.

Tracie said...

I stopped trying to read Zen & The Art of Motorcyle Maintenance, A Room with a View (this was a book I was listening to though so that might make a difference), The first book in the Dresden files, among others. I never finished Mists of Avalon. I really liked it in the beginning but it was just SO long and I lost interest.