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Thread: What are you NOT reading?

  1. #46
    I just have to laugh....I love Dostoevsky but for the life of my I couldn't tell you why. I am far from being an angst-filled teenage boy. I'm going to have to go home tonight and flip through my copies of the Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment to see if I can come up with a good reason why I liked them so much.

  2. #47
    I used to believe I would never NOT finish a book. But now I realize life is too short to spend time reading books I dislike!

    I've seen a few books mentioned that I too could not get through:
    Middlemarch
    The Sound and the Fury

    Other books I just couldn't get through:
    Billy Budd
    Sister Carrie

    The latest book I've been reading that I gave up on was An Everlasting Meal, an essay-style book about cooking. It's not hard reading, I just found it pretentious, and it's hard to read about cooking in essay format. I enjoyed reading Julia Child's memoir, but reading about how to cook written in paragraphs is not my cup of tea.

    I was relieved to see someone else say they don't like Hemingway, because I have never been able to get into his books, and analyzing them back in undergrad classes was always a chore.
    Beth
    Books Tasted
    http://www.bookstasted.com

  3. #48
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I gave up on Don Quixote too. I seem to remember it had lots of digressions and lots of repetition. It seemed like a reasonably good idea flogged to death.
    I think I finished the first part then gave up.

    I never completed 1984 neither. I tried reading it when I was fifteen or sixteen, but I got about three-quarters of the way through and realised he wasn't going to escape and lead the counter revolution, so gave up.

    I did not get past the first few chapters of Catch 22. I was more interested in real air battle histories at the time.

    I also gave up on the Life of Pi after the end of part 1. It won a Booker Prize. Several of my friends said it was a great book.

  4. #49
    smug & self-satisfied Atomic's Avatar
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    The Magus by John Fowles. Having read The Collector in a single day, I devoured The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Ebony tower with equal zeal. So, yeah...my expectations were kind of great...

    Unfortunately, The Magus is a flop. 350 pages in and I'm crawling through this condensed, contrived and oh so boring magnus flopus at the pace of salted slug. Had his other works not impressed me so much, I wouldn't even try.

  5. #50
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmoonlite View Post
    I just have to laugh....I love Dostoevsky but for the life of my I couldn't tell you why. I am far from being an angst-filled teenage boy. I'm going to have to go home tonight and flip through my copies of the Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment to see if I can come up with a good reason why I liked them so much.
    I read crime and punishment recently, and I thought it very good. I felt he drew the characters very well, and related all the mad things that happened in the camp brilliantly - like the Christmas play and the eagle they kept for a while.

    I read Crime and Punishment at uni - good while ago - and I thought it a pretty claustrophobic book - not an enjoyable read. The ending was a big disappointment too - oddly contrived with him getting off due to Raskalnikov saving the children from the fire. I found the vision of the tents of Abraham seemed to belong to a dfferent book.

  6. #51
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I gave up on Don Quixote too. I seem to remember it had lots of digressions and lots of repetition. It seemed like a reasonably good idea flogged to death.
    I think I finished the first part then gave up.

    I never completed 1984 neither. I tried reading it when I was fifteen or sixteen, but I got about three-quarters of the way through and realised he wasn't going to escape and lead the counter revolution, so gave up.

    I did not get past the first few chapters of Catch 22. I was more interested in real air battle histories at the time.

    I also gave up on the Life of Pi after the end of part 1. It won a Booker Prize. Several of my friends said it was a great book.
    1984's not an easy read, but it has a few good ideas in it hat have relevance today - newspeak and Big Brothwer come to mind. I think it's worth the read just to glean an idea of where those ideas come from.

    I liked Catch 22 too, though I had seen the film first.

  7. #52
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
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    One example that comes to mind is Alexander Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago, started about three years ago and made it about one eighth into the book and set it aside.
    A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a much easier read addressing similar themes as The Gulag, but in far fewer pages. I plan to give The Gulag another attemp at some point.
    "Mongo only pawn in game of life" - Mongo

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  8. #53
    I think my next thread should be What are you NOT reading to your kids? Some of the books I see here are prize-winners among critics. Sometimes that tells me all I need to know about a book. Is having a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize attached to a work of literature a good thing, a bad thing, or indifferent?

    I've read a lot of children's books in my life as a parent. I confess that when I see the Newberry Prize stamp on the cover, that's the book I tend to avoid.

  9. #54
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilliatt Gurgle View Post
    One example that comes to mind is Alexander Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago, started about three years ago and made it about one eighth into the book and set it aside.
    A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a much easier read addressing similar themes as The Gulag, but in far fewer pages. I plan to give The Gulag another attemp at some point.
    We have the book, and it's on my to read list. I read it when I was in my early twenties, but my knowledge of Russia was much more sketchy. I think I'll get more out of it this time. I found Ivan Denisovitch much easier too. It has more punch being so much shorter.

  10. #55
    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insane4twain View Post
    I think my next thread should be What are you NOT reading to your kids? Some of the books I see here are prize-winners among critics. Sometimes that tells me all I need to know about a book. Is having a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize attached to a work of literature a good thing, a bad thing, or indifferent?

    I've read a lot of children's books in my life as a parent. I confess that when I see the Newberry Prize stamp on the cover, that's the book I tend to avoid.
    Which Newberry books didn't work for you? I can think of three off the top of my head that were great: A Wrinkle in Time, Lloyd Alexander's The High King (the finale of his excellent Prydain series), and one of the books in Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series.
    "You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views." -- Doctor Who

  11. #56
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    Daisy Miller. I really like Henry James, and this story was in a collection of his that I had, but I just couldn't get through the first quarter of it - it is so bad.

    Another one is Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I quit this one as a result of sheer non-understanding, but I do hope to return to it someday.
    I read Daisy Miller. It was one of four books mentioned in another book called 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' about a women's book group in Iran. The others were Lolita, Pride & Prejudice, and the Great Gatsby (I think). Daisy Miller was quite a nice book on the whole, quite short, has an unnecessarily miserable ending and I couldn't see what the fuss was about.

    I also slogged my way through Foucault's Pendulum, even though nothing much seemed to happen till about fifty pages from the end. You would be better off reading 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, which covers the same ground, even though it's not strictly fiction. I have gone right off Umberto Eco. I liked 'The Name of the Rose', and did not mind all the interminable digressions into all the various medieval heresies because they were interesting. Then I read 'Focault's Pendulum', which was two inches thick and never seemed to get going. Finally I read 'The Island of the Day Before', which despite being two inches thick, did not have a proper ending.

  12. #57
    I admit I couldn't make it through Winston Churchill's WWII series either. I got through Their Finest Hour (all fantastic), but by then I felt like I needed a grad degree in WWII military tactics/history. Got pretty dry.

  13. #58
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    I tried read Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint - and not only did I find it to be dull and lacking in beauty, but it was inexperianced, I spent a lot of time looking down patronizingly on the book because it felt like it was written by a man who knew little of the world. I gave up on it.

  14. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    Which Newberry books didn't work for you?
    I only remember one that had a bear in it. Late 1980s, if memory serves. I get the sense that those books appeal a great deal more to the committee than to kids.

  15. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticPassions View Post
    I have tried reading Don Quixote and gave up about half -way through... it just couldn't keep my attention and I found it rather dull. I understand why it is a classic, but I guess I can't understand why two very dear people to me note it as their favorite book of all time...
    Why not give it a second chance? I had a similar experience to you, first time, but I sailed through it the second time, with much enjoyment.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticPassions View Post
    Also, for some reason, I couldn't get through One Hundred Years of Solitude... I do plan on trying this one again, however...
    I also gave this one a second chance, but still got nowhere! More difficult than Cervantes, but nowhere near as funny or interesting...

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