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Books You Couldn't Finish

161 posts in this topic

The most famous book where I got stuck in the middle and never finished is "Anna Karenina". I certainly want to read it again some time but the Kitty-Levin-arc was too boring and I got too busy and after a few weeks break I was "out" and would have had to start over again. (Another one that was actually pretty good but also hard and confusing (far more so than Tolstoy, it is more modern with skipping back and forth between viewpoints and times) and I got stuck around halfway was Heimito von Doderer: "Die Strudlhofstiege" set in early 20th cent. Vienna. The eponymous Stiege is a fairly impressive pedestrian's stairway between two streets.)

I read "Moby Dick" in translation as a teenager (it might have been slightly abridged but not much, lots of the whaling details were still in there) but got stuck after a third or so when I tried it in English 10 years later. (I finished Ulysses in translation after one or two futile attempts; have not yet tried to read the original.)

Two books I never finished because I lost them while travelling were "Sophie's Choice" (this one was actually stolen with more of my luggage...) and "Portrait of the artist as a young man". I never bothered to get another copy and try again.

Of genre fiction I got stuck in the first quarter or so of the 3rd Bakker book and have not returned to it in the last 2 years. I also finished the first respective volumes of "Prince of Thorns", "Black Company" and "Riddle-Master" without becoming sufficiently fond of them to continue with the subsequent volumes although in the last two cases I have multi-volume pbcks.

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The Dune Prequels by Kevin J. Anderson

Troy Rising by John Ringo

The real question is why I began them.

 

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7 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

The Dune Prequels by Kevin J. Anderson

Troy Rising by John Ringo

The real question is why I began them.

 

Those aren't "books". :P

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22 hours ago, Astromech said:

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell  I made it halfway and fuck all happened. The footnotes were better than the actual story. I was also not a fan at all of the imitation Jane Austen prose. Thankfully BBC had an adaptation of the novel that was better.

Yes. Unlike other stuff in the same retro-prose vein, I could never gin up any interest in the characters to make the prose worth slogging through. Other authors have managed the trick of old time language without dulling their story but not Clarke (IMO, YMMV, etc...) 

Liked 'Gone Away World' though. 

Does 'A Dream of Spring' count? Because that's never coming out.  

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It's rare that I stop a book part way through (stopping mid-series is far more common).

Jack Vance - Lyonesse, which I know it's regarded as a classic. I should probably try it again sometime, I don't think I disliked anything about it particularly, I just lost interest.

James Blish - Cities in Flight, I think I made it to the third story but I really hated the characterisation and the occasional interesting idea wasn't enough to justify it.

Kim Stanley Robinson - The Years of Rice and Salt. It's an interesting idea but the execution was dull and I seem to remember it kept telling us what was going to happen just before it happened which annoyed me.

John Twelve Hawkes - The Traveller. Felt a bit like Dan Brown trying to write cyberpunk, and the author had an annoying habit of randomly capitalising terms.

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14 minutes ago, williamjm said:

 

John Twelve Hawkes - The Traveller. Felt a bit like Dan Brown trying to write cyberpunk, and the author had an annoying habit of randomly capitalising terms.

That sounds horrible

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1 hour ago, Darth Richard II said:

Those aren't "books". :P

They are in the Lovecraft sense.

I lost 1d6 SAN reading them.

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10 hours ago, polishgenius said:

There's fucking loads. David Eddings broke me. When I was young I would finish anything and everything, but when I tried reading the second book of The Dreamers (his final series) I couldn't read more than a couple of chapters without having some kind of mental breakdown and since then my trail has been littered with unfinished books, including some that are clearly quite good but I'm not feeling in the moment (I do usually try to pick those back up down the road).

Mind you, come to think of it, pertinent to discussions in the other topic the one book I'm pretty sure I tried and didn't finish from before that time is The Eye of the World. I mean I'm not 100% on whether I tried it before but I feel I must have done at least one time. And if so, considering the kind of books I was able to bring myself to finish, that's quite a mark of shame...

I read Eddings when I was younger, well some of his stuff anyway. I have seen people say his stuff got progressively worse though ao you probably got the worst of a mediocre author's repitoire :P 

Thinking on this subject, it seems I am more apt to drop a series rather than a book. Land Fit for Heroes (I hated this so much) Prince of Thorns (not sure what the trilogy is called, I read Prince then quit) Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange books (I read the first only recently and the more I think of it the more i see how much I disliked it) The Dandelion Dynasty (with DRII here, I hated Grace of Kings though I managed to slog through it all). I think part of his aversion to not finishing a book is that I don't want to have "wasted" my money by leaving the book unread on my shelf. 

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I have about 50 books I own and haven't read yet it's becoming a problem 

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I've put aside a few books without finishing them, but I can't recall most of the titles. I wasn't able to get through the The Darkness That Came Before (it's the first one) by Bakker. Just wasn't in the mood, I guess. I am more the type to get through a book and then decide not to continue with the series. Grace of Kings is one of those. And I might finish the Dagger and Coin series, but right now I'm not feeling it. (Of course, by the time I get too it, I'll have forgotten a lot about the previous books, so I'd better get to it soon.)

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I read Eddings when I was younger, well some of his stuff anyway. I have seen people say his stuff got progressively worse though ao you probably got the worst of a mediocre author's repitoire :P

I did also read a lot of Eddings when I was younger, but like polishgenius I couldn't make it through the Dreamers series, although I stopped after reading the first book so technically doesn't fit in this thread.

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Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. I liked it...sort of. I do plan on giving it another go, because I hear that it gets better as you go and that the end of the series has a huge pay off.

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17 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

i'd be surprised if 1/10 of the people i've talked about the Silmarilion to have finished it.  Utter dogshit. 

Love that book.

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14 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Another book I couldn't finish was Endymion by Dan Simmons. I did read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion.

Love those books.

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2 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Love that book.

That's my response to most of this thread. :(

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10 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

This is my biggest problem. I've read rubbish books and stopped and forgotten about them but most of the time I'm quite picky with things I start and I'll be absolutely loving a book like Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep and then I put it down, get tired, things happen and it's been 6 months and I haven't read another page. Woops! 

I love the portions of that book that aren't on the Tyne's world.  The dog pack thing just does nothing for me.  If it was just the Universe set in the Beyond, I'd really enjoy it.  As it is I've never finished.

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Honestly can;t think of any I couldn't finish that were not due to it sucking/historical accuracy that makes 300 look like a documentary/ok too much rape.

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Just now, Darth Richard II said:

That's my response to most of this thread. :(

Yeah this thread has generally annoyed me a lot more than I expected it would.

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