As an avid reader, I am also a fairly avid did-not-finisher (I know, not a real word but it’s the best I could come up with). It’s one of the reasons I love the library – the lack of guilt if I start a book then don’t finish it because it’s not for me. Occasionally though I do feel guilt. There are books I want to read. I just can’t, for whatever reason.
Doing a bit of a tidy up of my TBR recently, I pondered on some of these and if they should still be on there or if I should just give up the ghost. Five in particular stood out as having been started, stopped, started and stopped more times that I can count. In no particular order they are…
clicking on the cover will take you to a good reads synopsis
I feel I should read it because everyone who reads it says it’s brilliant, including my boss who has read it I don’t know how many times (a lot!) and raves about it constantly, saying she discovered something new every time.
I end up putting it down because I can’t get past the first few chapters. There is a story within a story that confuses me and poetry I find myself skipping through. I don’t like the characters and can’t get away with the language which I find way too flowery and fancy. Plus it’s a love story, which I don’t normally read.
I feel I should read it because I have never read any Dickens (bar a Christmas Carol) and this is supposed to be one of the best. Plus I remember watching it on TV and enjoying it. I know it’s a great, complex, plot and also darkly funny so it should be a hit for me.
I end up putting it down because it seems to be taking so long to read. The language takes time to understand and absorb and whilst in other classics this isn’t a problem with Dickens I find I end up losing interest. I put it down only to have forgotten enough of the plot by the next time I pick it up to find I’m starting it again. And so the cycle continues.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
I feel I should read it because from the bit I have read (actually more than a bit, I made it through 2/3rds this last time) I know it is beautifully written and it’s a story that fascinates me. The early chapters draw me in straight away and convince me this is a book I will love. Then something goes wrong.
I end up putting it down because there are times when it just drags. The beautifully written paragraphs go on a long time and if I don’t have that same amount of time to dedicate to them I put it down for another day. Do I get bored? Possibly, a little.
I feel I should read this because, to the best of my knowledge, it was the first book written about the Kennedy assassination and Manchester was given access to all the key figures involved in a way that hasn’t happened since.
I end up putting it down because it’s incredibly detailed and they are details I can’t keep in my head (too many code names, locations, historical facts). Of all the books I’ve tried to read and retried to read, this has been on the list the longest. I have an original addition – “stolen” from an uncle when I was 13 and it’s been on my bookshelf ever since.
I feel I should read this because I’m convinced I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t – especially when I see the shock on people’s faces when I tell them – and because I want to “get it” when people talk about Heathcliff.
I end up putting it down because I just don’t get it. I find it hard to stay interested even beyond the first chapter and just don’t see what the fuss is about. I have been told it’s because I didn’t read it as an impressionable teen and that I just have to keep at it. I wonder, though, if any book you have to keep at is worth reading?
And I suppose that’s the question with all of these – should I still be bothering? Is there really a need to read any book just because you think you should or someone else tells you you should? Should I just say no more to picking them up and spend my time on something more productive instead (heck, filing my nails would be more productive with these books at times)? What do you think? Do I give them another go?