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Topic: Have a book you can't ever seem to finish reading, yet still keep?

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Subject: Have a book you can't ever seem to finish reading, yet still keep?
Date Posted: 10/2/2012 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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I've started Ghostwritten by David Mitchell many times.  I can't seem to read it, but I can't make myself give it away either.  He also wrote Cloud Atlas which was recently made into a movie.

Perhaps it's his bio which reads, "His two subsequent novels, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2003, he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. In 2007, Mitchell was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World."

How can I not read a story by such an influential guy?

Anybody else have a book like this?  Besides perhaps the Bible.

 



Last Edited on: 10/4/12 8:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/2/2012 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Actually I have several hundred of those.

Date Posted: 10/3/2012 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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I have many books I want to get to on my TBR.  This one book seems to get lots of attention.  I started reading (from 5 to 15 pages) 'Ghostwritten' maybe six times, I brought it to the FOL once with some other books but ended up keeping it.  Over the years, I've had four editions 'Moby Dick' and only ever managed to read half of it.

Date Posted: 10/5/2012 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2010
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Yes - Infinite Jest! 

I cannot make myself let go of this one, even though I've been halfway-ish through for the past two years. 

A big part of it is that it's an "Important" book that serious, hardcore readers appreciate.  And then I get sidetracked by trshy fun stuff and wander off . . .

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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Yes - Infinite Jest! 

David Foster Wallace is hard to get through.  I've been muddling through his Consider the Lobster for a few years.

Date Posted: 10/9/2012 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2010
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It often is my experience that award winning authors just aren't my cup of tea.  I used to make myself finish every book I started; then I realized that with so much really good stuff out there I was punishing myself unnecessarily.  Now if a book doesn't grab me in the first chapter or two I spot read a few places & if nothing grabs me I'm off to the next book.  I still haven't read a lot of "classics" because I just can't plow through them.

Along the same lines, I kept a few book that had real meaning for me years ago.  Reread now I wonder why in the world I kept them because they have nothing to say to me at this stage in my life.

Date Posted: 10/10/2012 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,110
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Yes!  I've been reading Atlas Shrugged for at least sixteen years.  I started it on a twenty hour train trip from New York City to Florida.  I had to gut through it because it did not capture me, but it was all I brought.  Since then, I always pack it in my purse when I'm going on a long travel trip.  It just hasn't truly grabbed me, yet I am determined to finish it....someday.

Date Posted: 10/10/2012 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2012
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Oh yes. I've got this omnibus edition with four of Charles Dickens' books; Great Expectations is the first one it and I've only been able to get through the first chapter. The other three in the book I haven't even tried.

Also Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. I've been trying to get through that book for the better part of a decade, still haven't gotten further than 50 or so pages in every time I restart it.

Date Posted: 10/12/2012 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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I've got this omnibus edition with four of Charles Dickens' books

Big Omnibus books are hard to finish but they are hard to let go of because they seem like such a bargain.  I had six stories by Isaac Asimov that I finished...but a half dozen others I finally had to abandon.  I decided it was hard to commit to any author for more than one story.  Dickens is classic and timeless, I can see how you could have such great expectations for completing the quadfecta.  

Date Posted: 10/14/2012 3:52 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2012
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@Kerry B., I see what you did there. cheeky It seems to be a good time to try to read Dickens again, I think I'll be able to finish that quartet of books now.

Pam M. -
Date Posted: 10/17/2012 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2010
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I had this problem with Outlander.  Had to start it four times.  Then plowed on through.  Now I have the same problem with the second book in the series.

Date Posted: 10/18/2012 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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Stephanie S. wrote,  Yes!  I've been reading Atlas Shrugged for at least sixteen years.

Sara P. wrote, Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. I've been trying to get through that book for the better part of a decade

My forever to read book is Anna Karenina.  It has been over 20 years since I bought an old used hardcover when I was traveling/working in England.  I recently had nearly 500 books but have that down to about 150 books now.  Yet Anna remains.  I even let Moby Dick go.  Such loyalty!

Date Posted: 10/18/2012 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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I did get rid of my copy of Outlander for just that reason.

Date Posted: 10/18/2012 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2012
Posts: 29
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@Pam M, I had to quit the Outlander series after I finished book 5 (The Fiery Cross?). 250+ pages describing an afternoon at the family picnic and most of it could have been excised. ...Kinda funny, that's really the only thing I remember about that book. *yawns* Oh, and there was something about Roger and a rope. But mostly the plot just... stagnated.

@Kerry B, I think I'll probably be posting Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy here soon. enlightened Maybe someone else can enjoy them.

Date Posted: 10/25/2012 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,788
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I was forced to give up on Kathryn Davis' The Thin Place after reading about a hundred pages about three times because I realized I had exactly zero ability to grasp its wonders. Nevertheless it has haunted me as a likely work of true brilliance, and when I stumbled across a perfect hardcover copy at the local charity thrift store I bought it without hesitation, hoping to map through it one day.

Then there's Ulysses which I have no choice but to canonize along with everybody much more learned than me, which doesn't change the fact that it's unreadable, utterly. Infinite Jest struck me as merely annoying, and I never got past page fifty or so.

The one virtually unreadable book that I loved -- OK the three virtually unreadable books that I loved and actually got through are: Gravity's Rainbow, V., and The Life & Opinions of Mr Tristram Shandy, Gentleman -- that last one being a laugh-out-loud, pre-post-modern, retro-futuristic masterpiece that everyone who's heard about it in high school and run screaming should seriously reconsider. It can be read piecemeal, over the course of a lifetime, and will enrich your soul.



Last Edited on: 10/25/12 11:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/30/2012 9:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2005
Posts: 27
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I'm almost 64 years old. My feeling is that if the book doesn't grab me by the second attempt, I find another. Life is too short to try to read books that are just not for me when there are thousands of others I can enjoy. If I can't get into it between page 1 and 75 I'm on to another.

I made two attempts to read The Road. The first time I was like "Huh?" The second time I must have been in a different place because I couldn't put it down and read right through.

Date Posted: 10/31/2012 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I've tried twice to read James Michener's Centenial.  I liked the mini-series but I couldn't get into the book AT ALL.  I'll give it one more shot, eventually.

Date Posted: 10/31/2012 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Allene L wrote...My feeling is that if the book doesn't grab me by the second attempt, I find another.

I'm much the same way.  I quit many books these days.

It was one of those very few hangers-on, like Ghostwritten, that got me wondering why I can't seem to let certain titles go.

Vostromo wrote...Then there's Ulysses which I have no choice but to canonize along with everybody much more learned than me, which doesn't change the fact that it's unreadable, utterly.

Taking inspiration, I just got rid of my unread and like new copy of Ulysses.  A couple decades was long enough opportunity to read it.  Unlike with Ghostwritten, I could only read about 3 pages of Ulysses.



Last Edited on: 10/31/12 10:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/1/2012 8:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 852
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I finally traded off my copy of Ulysses for the reason that Vostromo quoted: utterly unreadable. However because of this I do not canonize it, and it is my choice to say that there was a lot of hype about the book and rather than admitting they never read it, they claimed they did and it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Show me a person who says they read Ulysses from front to back and actually enjoyed themselves and I will show you a liar.



Last Edited on: 11/1/12 9:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/9/2012 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2005
Posts: 1,728
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I have a few that come to mind:

The Stand - Stephen King

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

Les Miserables' - can't think of the author right now!

I have NO problem giving up on a book I can't get into.  I don't know what the deal is these though.

Date Posted: 11/9/2012 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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The Stand - Stephen King

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

Les Miserables' - 

I'd agree, these do stick around.  For me:  I have The Stand (3 years?, hardcover, read page 1), Atlas Shrugged went the way of Ulysses after a decade, totally unread.

I read Les Miserables.  A miracle.  I saw the stage performance and was inspired, I guess.  Same thing happened with Wicked.

Date Posted: 11/11/2012 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2012
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I've got another one; Kerry B's post reminded me... I read Wicked but have never been able to get through Son of a Witch. Or Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Both books sounded interesting in theory when I got them several years ago, but I've never been able to finish them.

Date Posted: 11/12/2012 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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Outlander, mostly because it sounds so much like a book I would like. I love a lot of books in that genre. But for some reason, altho I keep trying,  just cannot get in to Outlanders.

"Gravity's Rainbow" is another. I thought I would, and I tried and tried. Just could not.

Some classics are a whole 'nother story. I know I should read them, but so many I just don't want to---and at this point, it''s rerally hard to make myself do it for just the "should" reason!

The diff is, I keep trying on books like Outlander. With some of those classics, like Ayn Rand, Moby Dick and Ulysses, I gave up a long time ago.... :)

Date Posted: 11/19/2012 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
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Stick with Atlas Shrugged folks.  I agree its an effort to get through a 1k plus page book, but this one is worth it.  I've read it twice already and will read it again.

-RD

Date Posted: 11/20/2012 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,328
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I have been struggling to read M.M. Kaye's "The Far Pavillians" since the late 80's.

MIL who has Fabulous taste in books. Said I Simply Must Read it. So far I'v managed to read about 1/8th of the way through. No idea how many times I've re-started. I just can't get into this book. Now it's an inside joke.

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