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#1049554 - Thu Jun 19 2014 09:38 PM Started more than once, never finished
trident Offline
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Registered: Sun Feb 20 2005
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Loc: Wisconsin USA
I am usually a pretty strict reader where if I start a book, I tend to read it to its end. However there have been a couple books I have started on multiple occasions, yet never finished. The first is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I have checked it out from the library the last few summers, but always somehow seem to get distracted and end up returning it when it is overdue. It's nicely written, just always seems to be a bad time when I pick it up!

The next book is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. The book is...just really difficult to read. At times, it is seriously a delight with all of the wordplay, but talk about dense! I first picked it up in college, but likely wasn't quite ready to read it. The second time I started it, I was teaching in Korea and just kind of gave up because my long hours at work didn't exactly leave me any brain cells at the end of the day to read Pynchon. I am determined to get through it one of these days!

Anyone else have these types of books that you started more than once, but have failed to finish?
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#1049558 - Thu Jun 19 2014 09:47 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
agony Offline

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"Tom Jones", by Henry Fielding. I'm always having a very nice time reading it, but then something easier comes along, and before you know it two months have passed and I can't get back into it.

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#1049563 - Thu Jun 19 2014 10:33 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
pyonir Offline
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Loc: Minnesota USA
"Crime and Punishment", "Ulysses", "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and I would have said "Great Expectations" but I did end up finishing that one a while back.

I haven't tried to read any of them recently though...when I have started in the past I just gradually become uninterested or completely lost so give up.

Most of the books I pick up, I finish, eventually. Struggling with "At Home" by Bill Bryson right now (as agony and others know, lol), but I'll finish it.

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#1049600 - Fri Jun 20 2014 06:30 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
Chavs Offline
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Registered: Fri Jul 15 2011
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Loc: Ireland
Trident,

I found oryx and crake to be a slow burn, and it looked destined to be one of my many started but not finished books, but give it one more go because after a couple of attempts I finally got to the last quarter or less and couldn't put it down! I forget completely now why, what happened, etc, I just recall thinking that I was so glad I had stuck with it and wondering why the last bit of it was so gripping compared to my slow start.

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#1049608 - Fri Jun 20 2014 08:04 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
kaddarsgirl Offline
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The only one I've started over and over and can't seem to get into is Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring". I read "The Hobbit" in 8th grade (13 yrs old) and absolutely loved it, so I tried reading the first LOTR book, and only managed to get about 30 pages in before I was bored with it. I tried it several times again throughout high school, but never seemed to be able to get past the birthday party celebration at the beginning. I may well try to read it again someday. I enjoyed the movies and know a lot of what's in the books was left out/changed, and I want to know what really happened...


Edited by kaddarsgirl (Fri Jun 20 2014 08:06 AM)
Edit Reason: Typo, of course...
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#1049610 - Fri Jun 20 2014 08:17 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
ren33 Offline
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With me it is "A Dance to the Music of Time" by Anthony Powell. I picked up all 4 hardback volumes at a jumble sale(They were hardly used, I should have guessed) In about 10 years I have never got beyond Volume 2. I go back to it and then find I have lost the thread(is there one?) and have to start at Vol 1 again. I am going to give up and throw them at the next sale, unless someone tells me all the dirgy ploughing through is worth it.
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#1049620 - Fri Jun 20 2014 10:08 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
MiraJane Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 30 2013
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"The Read and the Black". I was given two copies of the book as gifts within four months by people who didn't know each other. I've never been able to get past page 11. Every time I pick it up, I realize I've forgotten what was in the first few pages and have to start it again. Every couple of months, I read those 11 pages again, hoping to get to at least page 15.

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#1049622 - Fri Jun 20 2014 10:25 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
agony Offline

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Ren, when I was a teen I really enjoyed the novels of Richard Powell. There was half a shelf of Anthony Powell right next to them, in the library, and I always wondered if they were any good. I remember reading the blurbs and not being tempted, at the age of fourteen.

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#1049763 - Sat Jun 21 2014 07:25 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
guitargoddess Offline
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It's not anything like the other books mentioned here, but the one that came to mind for me is Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger, the author of The Devil Wears Prada. I liked the Devil Wears Prada well enough, but her second book is just so bad.
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#1049779 - Sat Jun 21 2014 08:17 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: guitargoddess]
trident Offline
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Registered: Sun Feb 20 2005
Posts: 2337
Loc: Wisconsin USA
Originally Posted By: guitargoddess
It's not anything like the other books mentioned here, but the one that came to mind for me is Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger, the author of The Devil Wears Prada. I liked the Devil Wears Prada well enough, but her second book is just so bad.


Interesting. I wonder if thats because the first book was a labor of love and the next was pushed out because of her success.
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#1052828 - Sun Jul 13 2014 08:47 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
LeoDaVinci Offline
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Twice started, twice gave up on War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy. Only book that I've ever given up on, sadly (and I've read some pretty bad ones...).
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#1055444 - Sun Jul 27 2014 02:50 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
HairyBear Offline
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Kaddar and Leo, I'm so glad you mentioned those two. I had the exact same experience in high school with LOTR vis-a-vis The Hobbit, couldn't get into the former at all. War & Peace I started for a Russian Lit class in college. Fortunately I left the bookmark in it so I didn't bother starting over, but I read about ten pages a year for 24 years before finally finishing the book in year 25. (Yes, that long.) It still stinks, in my opinion, but the section in the last quarter of the book about Napoleon and the Russian general was interesting. I rarely give up on a book permanently, just leave my bookmark in it and expect that I'll get back to it someday, but LOTR was one I just don't feel any need to pick up again. By the way, The Silmarillion, which supposedly explains the background to LOTR, is even worse. There's no story to it, no plot. One other I've started twice and couldn't finish was Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I thought I'd like it since I liked George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, but no such luck.

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#1056268 - Fri Aug 01 2014 04:30 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
Christinap Offline
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Anything by Thomas Hardy. It seems he never used a sentence when three pages would do instead. I just find all his books too long, too wordy, and Tess of the D'urbervilles has to be the worst. I got about halfway through and so wanted to give her a good slap I gave up on the book.

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#1056337 - Sat Aug 02 2014 04:30 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: HairyBear]
ozzz2002 Offline
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Originally Posted By: HairyBear
One other I've started twice and couldn't finish was Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I thought I'd like it since I liked George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, but no such luck.


I just read 'Brave New World' and was less than impressed. It started well, but by the second half, it seemed that the author was just writing to fill up pages. The finish was VERY anticlimactic. '1984' is a tough benchmark for dystopian novels.

Another author that I find boring is Hemingway. I read 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', and it was a chore. A book that I am glad that I persevered with was 'Catch 22'; it started slowly and disjointedly but picked up pace and is really a ripping read.
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#1057275 - Wed Aug 06 2014 01:35 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
HairyBear Offline
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I totally agree with you on Hemingway. Why anyone thinks/thought he was a good writer is beyond me. He's like the literary equivalent of abstract painting... intellectuals think they are patting themselves on the back for "getting it," unlike the rubes, but the truth is there's really nothing there TO get. It's all in their own screwed up minds.

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#1057304 - Wed Aug 06 2014 06:08 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
agony Offline

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There's really no need to be insulting, HairyBear.

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#1057366 - Thu Aug 07 2014 04:18 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
ren33 Offline
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Tone down your comments please, Hairy Bear. We aim for constructive criticism here not insults. Thanks.
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#1057400 - Thu Aug 07 2014 08:10 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: ren33]
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
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There are very few books that I don't finish, no matter how much I don't enjoy them. "Memories of a Geisha" was one that I found very slow. I left it at my doctor's office and by the time I picked it up a couple of weeks later I just couldn't bring myself to finish it.

Hemingway is to be lauded for his brevity. I find it hard to wade through books where the author takes a page to describe an insignificant detail that never comes up again. I find J.K. Rowlings post "Harry Potter" writings (and I have read two) to be overly descriptive.
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#1058029 - Sat Aug 09 2014 10:25 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: skunkee]
namrewsna Offline
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Registered: Wed Jul 16 2014
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Loc: Utah USA
The Vampire Lestat
I am fine with the first installment (Interview with a Vampire) and have made several re-attempts to plow through the second book as friends have said the balance of Rice's Vampire Chronicles are worthwhile, but I just cant do it.
I dont know what it is...I am usually very patient with books through slow stretches if I have something to look forward to/ endorsements from trusted friends...but something about that one loses me. Sometime shortly after he faces the wolves...I lose quite a bit of my will to live, or at least to ever read again, until,in my semi comatose stupor, I can locate a copy of Green Eggs and Ham for an emergency reboot. Then after a good rest I am back on track wink

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#1058360 - Mon Aug 11 2014 03:54 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
Christinap Offline
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I found The Vampire Lestat hard going as well, but I did finish it in the end, and the rest of the Vampire Chronicles seemed a much easier read.

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#1058446 - Tue Aug 12 2014 05:11 AM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
Santana2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 14 2003
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I've been raking my memory since this thread opened, and have only just come up with a book I never managed to finish : Dune! I never could get past the first few chapters.
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#1059822 - Mon Aug 18 2014 02:55 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: kaddarsgirl]
LBaggins Offline
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Originally Posted By: kaddarsgirl
The only one I've started over and over and can't seem to get into is Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring". I read "The Hobbit" in 8th grade (13 yrs old) and absolutely loved it, so I tried reading the first LOTR book, and only managed to get about 30 pages in before I was bored with it. I tried it several times again throughout high school, but never seemed to be able to get past the birthday party celebration at the beginning. I may well try to read it again someday. I enjoyed the movies and know a lot of what's in the books was left out/changed, and I want to know what really happened...


My screen name will reveal that I'm a LotR fan, but I must agree with you on the books. Even "The Hobbit" had a slow start for me. It took me quite a bit to get into it, then suddenly I became hooked and read it obsessively.

I know it's heresy in some circles, but I think Tolkien could have used some editing, especially in the "Show, don't tell" department. SHOW us the sacking of Isengard; don't have Merry and Pippin telling about it! I found it very difficult to get into the Rings Trilogy, though I've now read it several times. I was frustrated by the differences in what Tolkien and I consider noteworthy. He'd devote pages to the topography of the land through which they were passing, and I'd be going, "Er... What color are Legolas' eyes?" I guess I'm more interested in the people than the trees. That said, if you can make yourself stick with it, there's much to enjoy in the books. And I'm overwhelmed with admiration for Tolkien for creating this entire universe--with its different races, histories, languages, mythology, etc.


Edited by LBaggins (Mon Aug 18 2014 02:57 PM)
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#1059830 - Mon Aug 18 2014 03:45 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
ren33 Offline
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Welcome to "Books" LBaggins!
I am not a Tolkein fan, but it's great to see such enthusiasm.!
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#1059877 - Mon Aug 18 2014 05:24 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: ren33]
LBaggins Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 22 2011
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Loc: Georgia USA
Originally Posted By: ren33
Welcome to "Books" LBaggins!
I am not a Tolkein fan, but it's great to see such enthusiasm.!


Thanks for the welcome, ren. I enjoy reading very much but don't often discuss it. Perhaps this thread will change my ways. ;-)
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#1085040 - Sat Feb 21 2015 12:34 PM Re: Started more than once, never finished [Re: trident]
TrivialWarfare Offline
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Oh my goodness,

Wicked is the current one on my shelf that I've started multiple times but can't bring myself to get too far in. I've heard such good things, and I'm interested in the story, but the beginning is so odd and unpleasant that I lose my desire to push through.

This has also happened to me with some Tom Clancy novels like Debt of Honor. I like Clancy but it usually takes 200 pages or so for his books to pick up steam. Once you get to the plot hook they are the best, but sometimes getting there is brutal!
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