The Sword and Laser discussion

From lem to love - books you abandoned, then later read and liked

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message 1: by Chris (last edited May 16, 2012 05:33PM) (new)

Chris Palmer | 61 comments The topic is self-explanatory. What books have you started at some point in your life, actively decided to stop reading (not just drifted away from or left on a bus, but said, "OK. I'm not wasting more time on this.") then later said, "A bunch of people whose opinions I respect like this, so I'll give it another try" and wound up liking it?

For me, the first one that comes to mind was Dune, although the fact that I abandoned it the first few times was likely due to my age, since I started trying when I was around 12. Eventually I read it (while still in my teens) and loved it.

A Song for Arbonne is another. A friend who usually loves the same books I do pestered me for years to read it, but every time I tried, I got a few chapters in and realized I was skimming, that I didn't know who anyone was, and that I didn't care. About the 3rd or 4th time, it clicked, I finished it, and I loved it.

message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris Palmer | 61 comments I keep hoping The Silmarillion will make it on this list for me, but I've still never finished it. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I just can't muddle through The Silmarillion.

message 3: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Fuller | 51 comments another vote for Dune, I just needed to be in the right mood to get into it.

message 4: by Joel (new)

Joel (platinumwolf) | 3 comments Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. I know they're classics, but I just couldn't get into them until well into my 20s.

message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 930 comments I lemmed The Crystal Shard the first couple of times, but now its one omy top favorite books of all times.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

dune as well - started it twice as a teenager but gave up around page 50+, nothing happening. Started again just a few years later and loved it. I'm having the same problem with Gravity's Rainbow. Thomas Pynchon. It's like I have to find the right angle of approach.

message 7: by Aeryn98 (new)

Aeryn98 | 147 comments I lemmed The Blade Itselfin paper form. But then I had the opportunity to listen to it as an audiobook and went on to finish the trilogy. Something about it being narrated to me finally brought the characters to life.

message 8: by Tamahome (last edited May 19, 2012 09:47AM) (new)

Tamahome | 4812 comments From Lem to Love. Sounds like a James Bond movie. I guess for me it was Theodore Sturgeon's To Marry Medusa AKA The Cosmic Rape. When I started it as a kid, I thought every other chapter was an irrelevant mainstream short story. But when I finished it recently it all came together in the end.

message 9: by P. Aaron (new)

P. Aaron Potter (PAaronPotter) | 585 comments Charles Dickens' Great Expectations was shoved down our unready gullets in sophomore English, and the trauma left me with a burning hatred for everything the man had written for over a decade.

Not until I was properly introduced to David Copperfield did I learn how to stop worrying and love the Victorians.

message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris Palmer | 61 comments I think that's true of a lot of classic literature (or maybe it's just being forced to read it). You don't appreciate it until you're older and/or read it on your own volition.

message 11: by Charles (new)

Charles (CAndrews) | 60 comments I have to say I now appreciate a lot of literature that I studied at school. Although watching Lawrence Olivier playing Shylock in Merchant of Venice helps a lot!

Chris wrote: "I keep hoping The Silmarillion will make it on this list for me, but I've still never finished it. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I just can't muddle through The Silmarillion."

I found the Silmarillion hard work. It took me three attempts over several years to get through it. In the end, the only thing that kept me going was I wanted to find out more about the wizards. I was rather disappointed to discover that their entire history was covered in a single sentence at the back of the book! I'm not sure I could ever really enjoy reading it though.

message 12: by Michal (new)

Michal (MichaltheAssistantPigkeeper) | 286 comments I only got through A Storm of Swords on the third try, which was, erm, five years after the second try.

message 13: by Nimrod (last edited May 20, 2012 06:27PM) (new)

Nimrod God (NimrodGod) | 273 comments I'm going to toss a relatively light read from my younger days, but it applies to this thread none the less...

The Entire Harry Potter Series...

If any of you read The Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone, then you probably know the part about how Harry was bullied and mistreated by his aunt, uncle and cousin Dursley...

I believe it was the part where he was said to be forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs that I had enough with the book and said "To Hell" with Harry Potter... (It kind of hit very close to home at the time and I was furious that it had been recommended to me).

It took a hurricane and no power for a week to get me to revisit Harry Potter and proceeded to read the first three books (the only ones out at the time) in less than the week it took for the power to come back!

Actually around the same time frame I had started The Alien Years and had a similar experience, not sure what turned me off to the book, but when I finally got back into it, I was hooked! Loved that book!

(I was about 15 or 16 at the time... I also read Isaac Asimov's Robots And Murder around that time.)

message 14: by Tim (new)

Tim | 379 comments P. Aaron wrote: "Charles Dickens' Great Expectations was shoved down our unready gullets in sophomore English, and the trauma left me with a burning hatred for everything the man had written for over a decade."

I never really liked Dickens (still don't), but Great Expectations had the advantage of being a "local" book. As kids, we'd ride our bikes out and play on those marshes, and the real Satis House was on the way to school, and sometimes I'd peer though the railings. It didn't make the book any easier or more likeable, but it was easier to visualise.

message 15: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo | 10 comments Dune I tried twice and third time was the charm. Now it's one of my favorites. I also gave up on Elantris but on the second go around, I inhaled it and loved it. Hurray for single volume!

message 16: by Amelia (new)

Amelia June (ameliajune) | 31 comments Sort of a fluffy series but Karen Marie Moening's Dark Fever books took me two tries.

Basically the first half of the first book is really hard to get in to, the main character is hard to connect with. But once in, they were so worth the read. Super fun.

message 17: by Linguana (new)

Linguana | 137 comments #1: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. It took me a long time to pick it up again but the second time around I loved every page. And Hobb has been a favourite ever since then.

#2: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams. I read about half of this, put it away for a year, maybe. When I picked it up again, suddenly it was awesome and I finished the whole series in a very short time.

I guess whether you like a book depends as much on the mood you're in as it does on the actual story. That's why most people hate books they had to read in school - if you're forced, how can you really enjoy it? That said, I'm glad I never HAD to read Jane Austen in school. <3

message 18: by Niz (new)

Niz | 11 comments Mistborn: The Final Empire was not a really a lem for me, but it consistently put me to sleep. No matter the time of day or location, those beginning pages literally knocked me unconscious. Took me about a year to finally power through it.

message 19: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 930 comments I forgot that I also lemmed my first two Brandon Sanderson novel, Mistborn and Elantris, which I could not get into them at first, but now I love them.

message 20: by kvon (new)

kvon | 554 comments Gardens of the Moon. I went back after I really enjoyed Deadhouse Gates and finished it.

message 21: by Skaw (new)

Skaw | 116 comments The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I had started to read it but stopped on the first chapter. Seeing it in the S/L book list and hearing everyone say such nice things about it made me pick it up again. I'm glad I did. I loved the ending. It was very fitting.

message 22: by running_target (new)

running_target (running_t4rg3t) | 52 comments Some book called A Game of Thrones. Yeah, I was wrong the first time.

message 23: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 318 comments It took me several tries before I had the maturity and concentration to read Shadow of the Torturer (back in the day when there were four books in that series, none of your new-fangled compilations, get off of my lawn etc). But anyway, I'd get about a third of the way in and realize I had no clue what was actually happening, so I had to keep starting over. But it was worth it in the end!

message 24: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 930 comments running_target wrote: "Some book called A Game of Thrones. Yeah, I was wrong the first time."

I did the same thing with A Game of Thrones the first time around.

message 25: by Sander (new)

Sander | 11 comments running_target wrote: "Some book called A Game of Thrones. Yeah, I was wrong the first time."

I agree. I read the books a long time ago, and I stopped midway in book 2. I thought there were too many factions going around, and I couldn't keep up who belonged to which camp, there was too much politics involved.
I've now read all the books that were published, and I like the series now.

message 26: by Niz (new)

Niz | 11 comments Jess wrote: "It took me several tries before I had the maturity and concentration to read Shadow of the Torturer (back in the day when there were four books in that series, none of your new-fangled compilations..."

LOL, this matches my experience with all of Gene Wolfe's works. It's usually the middle of the 2nd read-through before the clouds part & I understand what's going on. They're not easy reads, but once it all clicks, the results are breath-taking.

message 27: by John (new)

John Wiswell | 86 comments I had several false starts with Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. On the proper day, though, it absolutely gripped me from first to last line.

I'm pretty sure I suffered false starts in the original A Game of Thrones, but I can't be certain. Those first hundred pages can be a hill to climb.

message 28: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (Scream_Deafening) | 6 comments I've had this happen with a few books, Terry Pratchett is a repeat offender for me, however much I love his books I just always struggle to get into them the first read.

However one book that almost never got read was the Golden Compass, I read the first couple chapters of that three, maybe four times before hiding the book away for a year. I then decided I really should read it, I'd paid for it (only second hand, but still) and I knew the story would interest me. I finally read it and before I knew it I had finished the first book, and the two following. Really enjoyed it, I think it was the strange sciences that scared me off at first but once I'd allowed the information to settle I was much better.

There was another book that I struggled with, but I cannot remember what it's called and it seems to have disappeared off my book shelf (very upset about this and will be hunting some friends down in hopes that they have it). But it was based in Transelvania I think and was a very strange story, in the end I loved it and it had an amazing fairy tale feel. However the foreign land, strange names and odd culture was confusing for me. Once again, I let the world settle in my mind for a bit and I was able to enjoy it last time I read it.

message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael Dunphy | 7 comments I stopped reading Stranger in a Strange Land when he created the sex church, but went through it again after becoming way more of a liberal shithead (which I still am) and really liked it.

message 30: by Ken (last edited May 27, 2012 02:28PM) (new)

Ken | 141 comments Just finished the Lancelot portion of The Once and Future King. Now I know why I Lemmed it: To introduce Lancelot, we had to refer to cricket players and statistics, WWII, american football, the difference between old deep sea divers and "modern" frogmen, ... where "modern" is 1938. And here I just wanted to get lost in Arthurian times. Silly me. 130 pages to go and this book is officially un-Lemmed.

message 31: by A.E. (new)

A.E. Marling (AEMarling) | 49 comments I lemmed the The Silmarillion for its song-and-dance creation myth, but a few years later I powered through the first part and found I enjoyed its compilations of legends more than the LoTR itself. The tales fit together in a grand tapestry that concluded in a gasp of wonder.

message 32: by David Sven (new)

David Sven (Gorro) | 1582 comments I recently decided to lem the Malazan series after starting book 8. There were so many other books I wanted to get to that I thought "do I really want to go through another 3 books of 1400 odd pages each before I get to something else?" I decided no and started reading books I discovered in this group.

Ok, so three or four books later I'm thinking hmmm. I really feel like continuing the Malazan series again. Maybe I just needed a break. So "Toll the Hounds" here I come.

message 33: by Liv (new)

Liv (Livlou) | 29 comments An English class in high school ruined Bryce Courtenay for me. But after a couple years I went back and read "Sylvia" which was good but I don't understand the hype about his books. I might risk it though and read the "Power of One" again and hopefully since a few years have past I can get over it.

Also it took me a couple tries to get through Frankenstein by Mary Shelley but I prevailed annd sort of ended up liking it.

Currently I'm trying to get through the Hobbit again, and I really don't think I'm in the mood for it. I might try to see if I can get an audio book and hopefully that will work.

There are probably a few others, as I tend to stick to historical/romance/fantasy fiction.

message 34: by Kevin (last edited Jun 02, 2012 06:42PM) (new)

Kevin Ashby | 110 comments Moby Dick! I have a degree in literature but I Lemmed this one in college and Cliff's Noted it. I felt guilty about not reading it a few years after college and finally read it and loved it. I guess I have read it 10 or 11 times since then. It is really an amazing piece of writing.Moby-Dick

message 35: by Andrew (last edited Jun 10, 2012 01:13AM) (new)

Andrew (truckinggeek) | 25 comments It has to be the Silmarillion for me. It has taken me since it's publication in 1977 when I was bought it as a Christmas present by my parents. Every couple of years I would dutifully sit down to try and read it and, finally, last Christmas I completed it!!! Not only finished it but enjoyed it too. In the intervening 35 years I have read just about every other Tolkien book released but always the silmarillion eluded me!!

message 36: by Malin (new)

Malin (MalinE) | 17 comments The most notable books I lemmed, more than once, actually, were The Lord of the Rings and Assassin's Apprentice. I probably should have started my Tolkien reading with The Hobbit, but I didn't, and so I cared very little for the very slow start in Hobbiton, before the story really gets going.

Same thing with Robin Hobb. Fitz early childhood just didn't grab me all that much, and it wasn't until the third time I tried the book (having heard such great things about it from several of my friends) that I kept going and loved it.

message 37: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 12 comments I just couldn't get through The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I think the prologue was too vague and went nowhere, I just got sick of it. Then I signed up with audible an went hey, free audiobook, I'll try The Name Of The I'm obsessed and am about a quarter of the way through The Wise Man's Fear (also audiobook). I listen to it while driving and it's quite dangerous, especially when I burst out laughing.

message 38: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 930 comments I also lemmed Robin Hobb's Assassin's Quest and Renegade's Magic in the middle of the books a couple of times before I actually finished the book. Now I love both those books.

message 39: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 11, 2012 06:36AM) (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeth_lucy) | 82 comments I picked up and abandoned Anathem twice purely because the introduction section (which was for readers not used to figuring out sci-fi/fantasy worlds) made it sound so complex. Once I actually started reading the damn thing it was really easy and I loved it.

When I was younger I did the same with A Wizard of Earthsea. Third attempt I kept on reading and I loved it.

Maybe I should try again with the LOTR trilogy. Lemmed it somewhere in book two (I think, it was years ago) as I couldn't cope with another sentence about them all walking about and Frodo feeling ill or whatever. Every time it felt like they were getting somewhere they'd leave again and do yet more walking! I swear Tolkien could have done with an editor.

message 40: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Jordan wrote: "I just couldn't get through The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I think the prologue was too vague and went nowhere, I just got sick of it. Then I signed up with audible an went hey, free aud..."

Sometimes I think it't the medium that can make or break a book. As with you and The Name of the Wind. I did this exact same thing with Dracula. Started and Lem'd it multiple times. Even though my wife kept encouraging me to read it. Then I found an audio book version at my local library that was done almost as a play. Different people reading each character. The story came alive for me and I now love that book.

message 41: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 864 comments Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead was a book that I started and stopped a couple times before I finally made it all the way through it.

message 42: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 372 comments The lord of the rings was the book that went from lemmed to loved. I really had a hrad time whith Tom Bombadil's character

message 43: by Shane (new)

Shane | 8 comments For me it was Kevin J. Anderson's Hidden Empire (The Saga of Seven Suns book 1). I thought it sounded awesome, but then I just couldn't get into it. I think I got about a quarter of the way through it when I just stopped. For some reason though, I never actually got rid of it, then I was at the book store and heard some people talking positively about it, so I just decided to give it another try. I actually really liked the book and continued to read the series. That said, I still haven't actually finished the whole series.

message 44: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Silva (kellysilva) | 10 comments Olivia wrote: "An English class in high school ruined Bryce Courtenay for me. But after a couple years I went back and read "Sylvia" which was good but I don't understand the hype about his books. I might risk it..."

I had to read The Power of One for high school English, but I loved it. I would definitely recommend trying to revisit it, because it's a very interesting story. That being said, it's not everyone's cup of tea, so if you try again and still don't enjoy, then maybe his books just aren't for you.

I don't think I've had any lemmed books that I came back to, but I'm hoping The Hobbit will be the one. I lemmed it when I was younger, and I didn't like fantasy much. I was probably 12 or so at the time. So, I'm hoping I'll like it when we get to it for S&L in Decemeber from what I hear, because of the movie coming out.

message 45: by library_jim (new)

library_jim | 212 comments I haven't tried it myself yet but a couple of friends have told me that they tried listening to the Great Gatsby on audio and surprisingly enjoyed it. I may go back and try previously Lemmed classics on audio now. I know that I have finished audio nonfiction that I might not have plowed through otherwise.

message 46: by Liv (new)

Liv (Livlou) | 29 comments Kelly, thanks! I have a hardcopy somewhere, but after your comment I sort of feel urged to read again.

I think the main reason I don't want to read it again, is because how my English teacher approached the book. We had to do a summary of each chapterand also a creative piece for each chapter and then an essay and then a test etc etc

But its been years now and I think I might just put it on my book pile.

message 47: by Frenchiejnr (last edited Jun 20, 2012 06:21PM) (new)

Frenchiejnr | 1 comments Not a book but a series. I read one of the discworld books (possibly jingo) and lemmed it quite quickly. About a year later someone told me to start from the colour of magic and now i love them

message 48: by Cy (new)

Cy Helm | 42 comments Does my COBOL textbook count? First attempt in 1977. Finished the course in 1980.

message 49: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 4812 comments Move Gold-star to Cys-column.

message 50: by Rasnac (new)

Rasnac | 336 comments The War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I was 14 years old and was determined to read all the great classics in our school library. The version I read was in four very thick volumes, I read the first two volumes and was in the middle of the third volume when I got sick of all the pointless melodrama, scandals and gossip of Russian nobility and thought to myself "This is not a classic, this is a fraking Russian soap opera" and lemmed the book. I hated it soo much I did not read another Russian classic for many years, until I read "Crime and Punishment" in high school.

I read it again a couple of years ago and loved it. First half is still boring but I realized when I lemmed it, I was just about to get into the greatest and most tragic parts of the novel(Napoleonic wars, French invasion etc.) Ironically, important historical wars have always been a great interest of mine and if Ihave not stopped reading it back then; I'm sure The War and Peace would be my most favourite novel growing up.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Dune (other topics)
A Song for Arbonne (other topics)
The Silmarillion (other topics)
Gravity's Rainbow (other topics)
The Blade Itself (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Robin Hobb (other topics)
Leslie Marmon Silko (other topics)
Margaret Atwood (other topics)
Alfred Bester (other topics)
Raymond E. Feist (other topics)