Kyle's Reviews > Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
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bookshelves: sea-related-shenanigans, abandoned
Recommended for: People who are looking for a reason to read something else

I don't remember the last time I actually abandoned a book, and I usually attempt to power through even books I don't like, so I can get the most complete picture of it. I also have this idea that if a book makes me abandon it, then it has beaten me.

At this point however, I need to be really honest with myself. This just isn't going to happen. I simply can't read this without constantly thinking about all the other things I could be reading instead. I suppose this book has beaten me, but I prefer it over me beating my head against the wall.

Now, I know there are those who will shake their head at my reaction to this book. Some will say the book was over my head, or that I lack the appreciation for the finer things in life; or that I hate classics, or satire, or ... whatever. They will say I didn't "get" the book.

Though this is perhaps true, it doesn't change my reaction. I mean, I get the satire; I really do (it's not like it's subtle, or anything). I simply don't care about it. The things in the book meant for shock value (like giants peeing on people, or men shoved into giant breasts), don't shock me. Sure, you might say 'well, they were shocking for their time! It's about context, you fuzz brain!' Again, you might be right, but I simply can't be made to care.

Which brings me to my ultimate problem: the book hasn't made me feel anything. I don't feel any aspect of the story, I don't feel the shock of outlandish action, I don't feel anything about any of it (except for the feeling of wanting it to be over with as soon as possible).

I while I'm reading, it is hard not to hear white-noise take over my brain. White-noise is about as interesting, and the dictionary blows this out of the water for reading joy.

I'm going to go read something else now, and forget all about this book...
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Reading Progress

March 6, 2013 – Started Reading
March 6, 2013 – Shelved
April 8, 2013 – Shelved as: sea-related-shenanigans
May 1, 2013 – Shelved as: unfinished
May 1, 2013 – Shelved as: abandoned
May 1, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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Kalliope I have been wanting to read this for a while.. Why don't you like it?


message 2: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle I find it to be horribly dull, even when it's trying to be interesting. It feels like a fake legal brief, more than a story/satire.

The whole time I was reading I kept thinking 'blah blah blah, I could be reading something else right now.'


message 3: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle I mean... I get what Swift was trying to do, and I get the historical context, but... I wanted to stab myself in the eye. I'm hoping it'll work for me better after I take a bit of a break from it.


Kalliope There is this wonderful book which mentions Gulliver and the vision of Asia that is implicit in the work.The Chan's Great Continent.


message 5: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle Actually that looks really interesting! There is definitely a lot of worthwhile political and social messages in Gulliver's Travel's, but that's pretty much all there was.


message 6: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle I needed more, and I just wasn't getting what I wanted, so I'll come back to it eventually.


Kalliope Kyle wrote: "Actually that looks really interesting! There is definitely a lot of worthwhile political and social messages in Gulliver's Travel's, but that's pretty much all there was."

Yes, it is a wonderful book. The author is an authority on Chinese history..When I first finished reading it, I immediately started back at the beginning for a reread.


Aubrey Good luck with this one. Perhaps you'll convince me to give it another go, if you end up liking it and review it accordingly.


message 9: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle Aubrey wrote: "Good luck with this one. Perhaps you'll convince me to give it another go, if you end up liking it and review it accordingly."

Thanks. It's not looking good though. I'm trying to like this one, but I'm struggling to even maintain ambivalence at this point.


Madeleine I enjoyed this but I had one of my favorite professors guiding the way, taking it apart piece by piece with an infectious enthusiasm. She derived such visible joy from Gulliver and his travels that I couldn't help but get swept away in her glee.

Reading this on one's own, though? Gah, dude. I think the two months you spent slogging through it is a mighty valiant effort. Life's too short to be reading something you don't enjoy. Besides, you offered up an honest, thoughtful and awesome review in your wake. Anyone who berates you for not 'getting' this or not enjoying it is not awesome.

So how far did you get, just out of curiosity? Was there a specific moment that made you realize it was time to move on, or simply the cumulative disinterest?


message 11: by Terry (new)

Terry Back in the day I abandoned this one too Kyle...you're in good company! :)


message 12: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle Madeleine wrote: "I enjoyed this but I had one of my favorite professors guiding the way, taking it apart piece by piece with an infectious enthusiasm. She derived such visible joy from Gulliver and his travels that..."

Infection enthusiasm always helps, and I love it when other people are able to give me some of theirs. It's hard to tell at this point if it would have worked though.

Actually the two months thing isn't quite right, since I started and stopped, and then picked it up again later; didn't actually spend 2 months trying to read it. I'll have to go back and fix that. I read all of the first two "voyages," which I suppose is about half the book.

There really wasn't a specific moment. I put it on hold when I finished the first voyage, because I simply hadn't enjoyed anything I read and wanted to go read something enjoyable for a while. It took a while for me to get back to it, but I had already decided that I would give it one more voyage to redeem itself, ten after that if I still had the same reaction I would simply stop forcing myself to do something I wasn't enjoying.

Honestly, the book being divided into 4 parts probably helped make it easier to abandon. When I got to the end of each part, I asked myself the question, 'Do I really want to continue into the next part?' Both times, the answer was a big 'not really.'


message 13: by Kyle (last edited May 01, 2013 07:50PM) (new) - added it

Kyle Terry wrote: "Back in the day I abandoned this one too Kyle...you're in good company! :)"

Haha, Thanks. It's good to know I'm not the only oddball. :)


Samantha Jacokes I couldn't agree more. It was terrible. I got 60% through it and had to end the torture.


message 15: by Tara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tara I completely agree with your review!


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