I have a bad habit with reading. Rather than reading one book at a time, like a sensible person, I read several books at a time, and if a new book comes along that catches my attention, I start reading that one too. As a result of this, every now and then I realise I have completely forgotten to finish a book, abandoning it either on purpose or by sheer distracted accident.
And so without further ado, here are some books I started but never finished, including vague attempts at explaining what went wrong in the whole reading process…
Actually, this one is quite simple to explain. I tried reading it once a couple of years ago, and managed to get about fifty pages or so into it, where upon I discovered two things: one, not much had happened other than a ridiculous amount of characters being introduced, and two, I still had approximately a bazillion pages left to read. I know this is a classic, and many people have told me that this book is worth it if you have the patience to read it until the very end. The truth is, though, that I have read many books over the thousand page length, and had no trouble getting through those books, so I think it is a very different kind of patience required for this tale. Since my first attempt, I have labelled it with a small note reading “For Retirement”, and placed it back upon my shelf where it will stay for another four or five decades.
I almost finished this book. No, really, I did, I read more than three quarters of it and only had about a hundred pages left. I was enjoying the story, was moved by the plights of the characters, and the horrors of World War One, and generally was finding it to be a great book and another to add to the long list of much loved war books. So why did I stop reading it? I don’t know, to be honest. I suspect I was distracted by something, not just a bit distracted, but overwhelmingly distracted. It must have been a series of books, or something to take me away from this book for such a long time I just kind of…forgot…to come back and finish it. It has now been well over a year and I feel I need to start this book over, which is kind of annoying. But I will finish it one day.
I know, I know. How could I start this and not finish it? Well, quite easily, to be honest. I know some people get insanely excited about this, as if it were the Holy Grail of Science Fiction novels, but it just didn’t grab me when I first tried to read it. That was quite some time ago, and I perhaps wasn’t as disciplined with my reading as I am now, so maybe I should try again, because I normally don’t mind this genre. But so far, it hasn’t impressed me.
I had heard so much about Jasper Fforde, and he was an author I had been wanting to try for ages. I didn’t know where to start, but when I saw this book in a shop, and realised it was the beginning of an entirely new series, I thought, why not, I’ll give it a shot. The idea sounded spectacular – a new, futuristic world, in which society is based on a hierarchical structure that depends upon how well you see different colours, as everyone’s colour vision is somewhat limited. So much of the story appears to play with these concepts and notions of colour, mixed in with deeper social commentary, but for some odd reason I never proceeded more than the first few chapters into this book. Again, I don’t know why, as I was enjoying it, so I will return to this one soon to find out what actually happens.
Regular readers of my blog will know that although Joseph Heller isn’t my favourite author, he is the author of my all time favourite book, Catch 22. Want to know why he isn’t my favourite author? This book here is the answer. Want to know what the something is that happens in this book? So do I, because I read three quarters of it only to find that absolutely nothing happens! Not a thing! This book was just utterly boring, dismally disappointing, and a far cry from the pure genius that filled the pages of his most successful novel. Rather infamously now, somebody interviewed him later in life and said “You’ve never written a book as good as Catch 22,” to which he replied “Nobody has.” Regardless of this, it’s no excuse for churning out such dribble as that which can be found in between the pages of Something Happened. I can safely say I won’t be coming back to finish off this book.
So there we have it, five books I stopped reading part of the way through, in some cases because I was bored to the point of fearing for my sanity, in other cases because I’m a silly person and am far too easily distracted.
Do you have any books you stopped reading halfway through that you would like to return to one day? Or any that you plan never to open even if your life depends upon it?