Books you never finished

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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:59 am UTC

I started War & Peace and loved it, but life has gotten in the way. But, I'm about to go on a week long vacation, and it's coming with me.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Ouiser » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:50 pm UTC

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I realized about 50 pages from the end that the only character I cared about... stopped being part of the story 50 pages into the book (the mysterious rider). I have never gotten so far into a book before and quit reading. Am I the only one who couldn't care less about what was going on in this thing?

I really like some of his other stuff but wow.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby kleomenes » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:18 am UTC

I have a bunch, not because I tend to give up on books, but rather because I'll start reading another one. I dropped the third chimpanzee for War & Peace, dropped W&P for East of Eden, EoE for Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and TSZ for Crime and Punishment. The only books I've ever given up on entirely was The Language Instinct, for sheer boredom.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby stinch » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:49 am UTC

Dan Gardner - Risk. One of those books that feels like it has twice the pages it actually needs. Plus the subject matter is depressing.

The Count of Monte Cristo. Borrowed it off a friend during a holiday and the holiday ended before I had finished it. I'll finish it if I ever chance across a cheap enough copy.

George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier. The first half of the book is pretty much a documentary of northern working class life at the time. The second half is an attempt to show socialism as an answer and explores why if socialism is such a good solution why are we not all socialists? I don't know if it hasn't aged well or if I just don't agree with Orwell's politics but I found the second half pretty irrelevant.

Lord of the rings. It went on forever. It felt like I could have spend the rest of my life reading it. I probably would have been much better off reading it as separate books rather than all together in one big book.

Grimms' Tales for Young and Old. Just too much to read in one go.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:55 am UTC

I never finished LoTR. Why did Tolkien spend so much time describing inanities like tree bark? The Hobbit was actually decent.

We had to read Moby Dick for school and I never finished because my personal interpretation of the book (we need not get into it) was summarily rejected by the entire class/teacher/possibly the world. The majority view need not be correct, only popular!

I actually liked Hard Times by Dickens, but never finished.

No Anne Rice after Interview with the Vampire. I just don't care about the characters that are not Louis.

Aside:
At the same time, our teacher gave us a list of about 20-30 classic books to read. We had to read a few of them and write reports. One of the ones I picked up was Great Expectations. As we never actually got more than about half way through Jane Eyre, I had to answer questions in the state exam on Great Expectations. It was bad, but Jane Eyre was far, far worse.


Jane Eyre was a totally awesome book! I've read it/analyzed it for class like four times.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Qoppa » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:01 pm UTC

Lord of the Rings - Despite finding the premise of the book legitimately interesting, the plot just progresses so damn slow that I lose interest. I did enjoy The Hobbit though.

Neuromancer - Again, the idea of the book is good, but the writing style bugs me. I may give it another go sometime.

Great Expectations - I just got bored about 3/4s the way through the book. That was a number of years ago though, and something tells me that if I were to read it again, I'd actually find it interesting.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:57 am UTC

The Salmon of Doubt, D. Adams - The late, great Mr. Adams died part way through writing it, so I've only read what he got finished :(

War & Peace, L. Tolstoy - The translator of the particular edition I chose was exceptionally technically accurate in transfering individual words and turns of phrase from Russian to English, but lacked the flair, understanding, and literary talent that a good translator uses to ensure that the story survives the conversion as well as the component language. Result: a dry, boring, and sometimes confusing read which I quickly abandoned.

The Other Side of the Mountain, Col. L. Grau & Col. A. A. Jalali (Ret) - I haven't yet managed to acquire a physically complete version of this book, having read the related books edited by Grau (but written by undisclosed staff officers of the GRU) I'd like to do this... but I'm also too skint to justify buying a new copy.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Nath » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:46 pm UTC

Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson. I may give it another try some day, having read a couple of his other books.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin, by Tom Clancy. Not only did I not finish it, but I never read another Tom Clancy book.

Godel, Escher, Bach and I Am a Strange Loop, by Douglas Hofstadter. Interesting, but also wordy, disorganized and pompous. I'll finish them some day :).

Iliad. Interesting for historical reasons, but pretty dull if you try to read it as a novel.

The Old Man in the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. How do you fit that much uninterestingness into such a tiny book?
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby rat4000 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Is it so uninteresting that you get the title wrong, Nath? It's "The Old Man AND the Sea".

And I don't remember ever giving up on a book. I'm just too stubborn. I'll hate it if I must, but I'll finish it.

Oh, wait, there was one. "Kill" by some Swedish author. At least the German translation was called "Kill". One of the character talked for two pages describing all of the problems a policeman has. At least, that's what it was supposed to be, but it was actually more of a "look how smart I, the author, am, describing society's problems that all of you have actually figured out already". It wasn't that bad a book, but I had better stuff to read and the copy I had did not belong to me, so I never finished it.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby chevalier » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:35 am UTC

Oh I'll probably upset people here.

I could never get through the Hitchhiker's Guide series. It took me three tries just to get through the first book.
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The Lord of the Rings series. Started with The Hobbit, made it through the first chapter and called it quits.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby lanicita » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:59 am UTC

I never finished Hitchhiker's or LotR either. Just the last books of each. I would like to go back to LotR someday, because RotK was the best movie. And I'd like to reread Hitchhiker's from the beginning and finish it.

I also sympathize with those who never finished Catch-22. I'm a little more than halfway through it now, and I've gotten very bored of the lack of plot. I really want to finish it because I hate leaving books unfinished, but I may have to quit.

Most of the other books I never finished were for school... I read only the first three chapters of Moby Dick, left out the last hundred pages of Oliver Twist, and never made it through the last act of The Crucible.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Vieto » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:57 am UTC

I tried reading Dune a few years ago. I never finished the book.
Same with Catcher in the Rye. Thankfully, it wasn't mandatory reading for me.

I might try to read Dune again though.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Adacore » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:08 am UTC

Ouiser wrote:Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I realized about 50 pages from the end that the only character I cared about... stopped being part of the story 50 pages into the book (the mysterious rider).

He recurs reasonably frequently, actually, although you probably don't realise it until near the end, I don't recall. But you're right, he's certainly not one of the main characters.

I still haven't finished Middlemarch. I started it over a year ago, and the story is reasonably engaging, but it's just so bloody difficult to read - every page has half a dozen footnotes you need to look up to understand anything.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Mavas » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:06 pm UTC

My Life by Bill Clinton. It's sitting on the table about 30 pages in. It's so huge I'm scared to get into it. Quit talking about your life and start talking about all the girls you boned! Am I right? No? OK, I'll stop talking now.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:54 am UTC

Heart of Darkness
For Whom The Bell Tolls (will pick up again at the weekend)
A Brave New World
Chapterhouse Dune (or maybe I'll restart this one...)

Moby Dick.

This one is tough because it was my favorite teacher's favorite book of all time, and shortly after handing in my paper (which the latter quarter was based mostly on cliffnotes) he died. It was the first death I ever had to deal with, and I felt like I had done something horribly wrong to a man so many loved.

"Anyone who says "Moby Penis" will fail!"
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby sweet_concorde » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:55 am UTC

I think Heart of Darkness is one of those books that are a lot of work to go through, but when you finish it, you realize it was a pretty great book. Jude the Obscure was another book like that. I had to read it for my senior seminar (and then write this huge paper on it), and so I had to force myself to read it day after day. That book was SO GOOD.

Anyway. I have quite a few that I haven't finished, and have no intention of finishing.

Wicked (by Gregory Maguire) I got pretty far into this one. I'd still like to see the show, though.
Lucifer's Hammer (by Jerry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) I kept trying to read this one on a daily basis, and couldn't keep myself interested.
Obsidian Butterfly (by Laurell K. Hamilton) I think this one may have scarred me a little. ugh.
Bag of Bones (Stephen King) Also scarred me. Ghost sex, with skin peeling off. tmi, seriously.
The Historian (Elizabeth Kostora) boring and nonsensical
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) I really wanted to like this one, but I couldn't get past the dialogue. I have no tolerance for accents in books.
Shamela (Henry Fielding) Didn't like Pamela, didn't really appreciate the humor in Shamela.

several romantic fiction books by Janet Evanovich. I got them on CDs from the library because I was listening to fluffy books I didn't have to pay much attention to (new baby, makes it hard to read). I had a bunch of them on hold, and I was desperate, so I wanted to give them a fair try before sending them back. Wow, they were bad. Wow.

And my favorite book to dislike, The Dragon and the Unicorn (by A.A. Attanasio). Let me share it with you.
Spoiler:
These are not cherry picked. They are just random, I swear to FSM.

"A giant cry of lamentation wracked my body. The dirgeful cry lifted me out of myself, beyond the blue sky, and into the star mist. Eternal night opened before me. And the stars wounded me with their needles."
"The tone of his voice, deepening into fatalistic shadows, chills the duke's hope of aborting Ambrosius's upstart ambitions."
"Hidden from their view by the ivy-splashed walls, Falon carries a sack bulging knobbily with the corpse of Raglaw."

I still have the book, because a fun (and nerdy) game is to have one person read a paragraph from the book, and have everyone else attempt to illustrate what was described. Some people (based on Amazon reviews) really liked it though. It is rather poetic.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Manifold » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

The October Country by Ray Bradbury was a pretty creepy book, to be honest. In one of the stories, a man spends most of it wishing he didn't have his bones - his skeletal scructure - and then
Spoiler:
he gets his wish fulfilled.
Never did finish that collection of stories.

Engines of Light trilogy by Ken MacLeod never did grip me. His style was always almost right for me, but never spot on. The second and third book are still on my shelf.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby animeHrmIne » Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:52 pm UTC

Note: I only consider a book "read but never finished" if I got at least a good portion of the way in. I have loads of books I've read the first chapters of, and then stopped.

Jane Eyre -- In second grade, I read it until she went to work as a governess, but I really only understood every few words (enough to get it, but no solid picture). In fourth grade, I didn't even get to the part where she goes to school. Not my style.

Pride and Prejudice -- I got to almost the very end, right after Kitty's wedding, and then just stopped. Completely lost interest. Not my style, like above.

Little Women -- I was reading the full, unabridged version, and got to part three. My grandma had a kids version, which was a picture book with the highlights of the plot. I (stupidly) read that version, and then couldn't read the original, because it finally occurred to me that nothing was going to happen.

The Neverending Story -- Lost it in the middle of reading it. I got to the part where it loops back on itself.

Recently, I have begun to have a very short attention span when it comes to books. They need to be either fast paced or extremely interesting, or I'm done. So I've begun reading anthologies and short stories more, and I like them a lot better than huge novels where nothing happens.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Manifold » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:09 pm UTC

animeHrmIne wrote:Recently, I have begun to have a very short attention span when it comes to books. They need to be either fast paced or extremely interesting, or I'm done. So I've begun reading anthologies and short stories more, and I like them a lot better than huge novels where nothing happens.

I like to label that in my mind as a risk-reward gamble. By the time I find out if a thick novel is worth reading, I've already spent a significant proportion of my time on it. With short stories, by the time you notice it's rubbish, it's probably almost over and so it's easier to grind through. I also like short stories as they let me sample an author's work before I delve into their bigger tomes - again to waste less time!
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby YourReality » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:51 am UTC

Alright it might be a bit juvenile but when I was in elementary school Babysitters Club books were THE thing to read. I wasn't really interested but I decided to give 'em a whirl and got about a page in before tossing it down (heh, not much of a chance I know).

Another one I started and didn't finish more recently was the second book of a trilogy. I really liked the first one, Daughter of the Empire (fantasy novel) but the second one got all dumb and romancey so I quit about half way through because it was ruining the characters in my mind.

The only other one I can think of is the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Just couldn't stomach the misogyny. The author likes to talk about women getting raped. A lot. It's a weird, horrific obsession of his it seems. I suppose I tend to stop reading a book because I really dislike it rather than because I've just gotten distracted. If the latter is the case I still tend to come back to it a while later because I'm always wanting to know what happened. Although, there sure were some books I had to read for school that I WANTED to not finish really really badly (i.e. Stone Angel, Pride and Prejudice).
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby razrsharp67 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:54 pm UTC

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I really enjoyed pushing through the first 800 pages, but with 250 left I simply couldn't press through her verbose writing. It's still sitting on my desk waiting to be read.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Dr. Bronowski » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:08 am UTC

The Origin Of Species.

I am an Advocate of Natural Selection, however, this is one of the most skull numbing books I have ever had the misfortune to read.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby BlueNight » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:48 am UTC

Walter Koenig wrote a book called Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot. It was written during his troubles with depression. It focused on the invasion of Earth by a race of aliens whose development exactly paralleled ours, except that they were fifty years ahead in technology, fifty years more overpopulated, and needing someplace to put their excess population. Oh, some are blue and some are green, and one of those two is an oppressed minority.

They decided to kill off the humans with a six-day radioactive powder. They mostly succeeded. However, during the clean-up kill-off hunting operation after the initial genocide, most of them started having organ failures. It seems Earth is not for them.

Back on Earth, a handful of people survived, and they're just trying to survive in the Everglades. Of all the women in the camp, the only (presumably) fertile woman is a 5-year-old girl with jowls that sag down several inches off her face.

It is a sad, dark world. I reached the fiftieth page before realizing I was dreading reading more. I put it back on the shelf.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby KallistiEngel » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

Great Gatsby-- Couldn't hold the attention of my 12th grade mind because I didn't see the point in it back then. Still don't.

Hamlet-- Same 12th grade teacher, but this one had largely to do with things in my personal life and said teacher being insensitive to them (and my subsequent dropping of his class).

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac-- I actually enjoyed what I read of it, but had to return it to my high school library before finishing it. I haven't been able to find a copy at the local public library in the years since and don't feel like going to the trouble of purchasing it.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Decker » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

I don't remember the name but there was basically one book in the Drizzit series where Wulfgar was all drunk and depressed for pretty much the entire book. I just couldn't finish that book. I havent even picked up any more books in the series since.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby rnbguru » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:43 am UTC

I understand everyone who couldnt' finish Crime and Punishment. Having read that and The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky seems to start slow and take his time, but damn, they build into a great conclusion. I always find myself really moving slowly through his stuff and then flying through the second half. Tolstoy on the other hand seems to work in the opposite way.

I could never finish 1984, I just got bored when they started having sex all the time. And as for hitchhikers guide, i couldn't finish the second book. It just seemed too much of the same to me.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby lukS » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:25 am UTC

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Ludlums Bourne Ultimatum
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby TheWeirdDarkGirl23 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:05 am UTC

Blood and Chocolate-Annette Curtis Klause
and some other books too.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby cephalopod9 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:35 am UTC

I'm another one who didn't finish Great Expectations. It wasn't really all that bad, but I put it off, and couldn't force myself to speed through it.
For reasons I do not comprehend, I bout 1984 in Spanish, and have yet to get back to it or past the 3rd chapter.

Also Gravity's Rainbow. The main problem I have with it is that it is continually in present tense, which is really hard for me to figure out.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Glo » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:37 am UTC

I read 150 pages of Monte Cristo (spending 4 hours in a row) and stopped it. Seems forever. I watched a movie and didn't find it interesting enough for me.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby xemotaco » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:47 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:I'm another one who didn't finish Great Expectations. It wasn't really all that bad, but I put it off, and couldn't force myself to speed through it.
.


Great Expectations is one of those 'like in retrospect' books. Much more fun to read when you imagine Pip and Herbert as a gay couple (and when your friend wrote fanfiction rather than essays for tests in freshmen English and got A+ each time).



Books I never finished? Watership Down. Had one chapter left. Same with Pride and Prejudice, though I loved it. I'll reread.
Scarlet Letter. Got halfway through. Just took an exam on it. Never sparknoted it. Whoops.
Lord of the Flies. I HATED it.
Various Anne McCaffrey Books. I liked them, but I'd lose interest. I just don't have the patience for hardcore scifi books. I LOVED the first Acorna book, though. I need to read the rest. I even own them cause the covers are beautiful.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby emceng » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:27 am UTC

IN the past few months I have started Gravity's Rainbow, GEB, and a few other novels that I haven't been able to struggle through.

Really, in the past few weeks I can't seem to even get a chapter into books. I can't muster the willpower to even think about finishing books. I have lost interest in pulpy sci-fi, and can't concentrate on non-fiction books. Fuck, I am just depressed and feeling too much freaking ennui.
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. - CS Lewis
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby dg61 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:10 am UTC

Pride and Prejudice. I got about a third of the way through before I gave up the summer before 8th grade. My teacher was surprised I got that far.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby folkhero » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:05 am UTC

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: I couldn't deal with the stream of consciousness writing. It was the only book a brought on a trip, orientation for my university actually, so I was forced to read more than I would have otherwise. Instead of winning me over, it just made me happy to pick up a different book the first chance I got. Sitting in line to sign up for classes while reading something I neither enjoyed or understood. I would have been much better served trying to talk to the people near me in line.

Stranger in a Strange Land: I got most of the way through, but my copy was missing about 40 pages near the end, in their place were pages from earlier in the book. I didn't like the book enough to find another copy.

The only others that I can think of are books for school or books I didn't get past page 20 before dropping.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Apteryx » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:45 am UTC

I have to laugh when I hear people say " LoTRs was too boring to finish . . . I read 10 pages you know!".

It isn't a childs book is I think is the problem. People with the short term , immediate gratification aspect of childhood, won't enjoy it. So, given that is the way "world culture" is tending, it will never again be as popular as when it came out. People tend to approach reading from a more trivial aspect these days. Someone sees and enjoys the LoTRs movies and thinks "I will try the books" and doesn't understand one experience is vicarious and the other thoughtful .
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Zohar » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:14 am UTC

I have read all of Asimov's Robots and foundation novels. I've read all of Shogun (several times). I've read all of His Dark Materials (more than once). I've read Dune (several times as well). I've read many many books, some short, some long. I stopped reading LotR because it was boring. It has nothing to do with attention span. It has nothing to do with "today's culture". I'm sure the book has merit. I am certainly not going to waste time reading the first 300 pages just because it gets better after. There are plenty of things which are good from the start. Don't treat me as less cultured just because I choose to enjoy my books.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Ithinkabouttrees » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

I have never not finished a book... no matter how brutally terrible it is.

*cough*Evermore*cough*
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Spoiler:
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Amarantha » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:51 am UTC

I'm probably not going to finish the first Dresden Files book. I'm only a few chapters in and already it's shitting me to tears. I can't tell yet if the author is a sexist wanker or just his main character. Because at first there were a few other characters calling out the hero on his chauvinism, but now a couple of female characters are perpetuating the stereotype. And sexual politics aside, it's just not very well written. Has anyone read these? Is it worth me continuing?
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Amarantha wrote:I'm probably not going to finish the first Dresden Files book. I'm only a few chapters in and already it's shitting me to tears. I can't tell yet if the author is a sexist wanker or just his main character. Because at first there were a few other characters calling out the hero on his chauvinism, but now a couple of female characters are perpetuating the stereotype. And sexual politics aside, it's just not very well written. Has anyone read these? Is it worth me continuing?


Well, I know that the writing in the books gets better as you go through the series. The first book is definitely the worst in terms of writing. If I recall correctly, Dresden's attitude with women doesn't really change that much. It's been a while since I read them, but that's really one of the few parts of his character that doesn't change much.

As for the topic...

Naked Lunch has been a pain to get through. I feel that I'd love the book if I ever got the resolve to finish it but it's a bit too confusing to me right now. I haven't finished Brave New World yet but that'll change soon. I haven't really finished House of Leaves yet and I think that I left Don Quixote about 20 pages in, though I really should go back to it soon; I actually really like the book.
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Re: Books you never finished

Postby Kewangji » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:50 am UTC

Apteryx wrote:I have to laugh when I hear people say " LoTRs was too boring to finish . . . I read 10 pages you know!".

It isn't a childs book is I think is the problem. People with the short term , immediate gratification aspect of childhood, won't enjoy it. So, given that is the way "world culture" is tending, it will never again be as popular as when it came out. People tend to approach reading from a more trivial aspect these days. Someone sees and enjoys the LoTRs movies and thinks "I will try the books" and doesn't understand one experience is vicarious and the other thoughtful .
I tried reading the first book before I saw any movies about them. It was really, really bad. Bilbo was fun to read though.

I never finished Cryptonomicon, because it felt like there was nothing happening and it's written in freaking present tense. I can't have that.
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