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books, books, and more books! > Struggling to get through books

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message 1: by Natanya (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments I kind of feel like this year I've been having more trouble getting through the books I'm reading than in the past. Last August I started reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, but ultimately gave up on it because I could never get through more than a few pages at a time, rarely wanted to read it, and it seemed pointless to force myself to read a book that, though good, just wasn't clicking with me. Then in January, I started Catch-22, but never made it through it...I'm still about 120 pages in, and I just don't want to read it anymore. I've read other books this year, some of which I struggled through and others which I got through quickly. I think my problem largely has to do with the huge number of books I now have to read for school, but I don't know. I'd hate for reading to become a burden when I know I love it so much...

Does anyone else have this kind of problem? It just makes me feel so...weird. I've never had so many problems getting through books before.


message 2: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments First of all, I know sooooo many people who have had this problem with Catch-22 (myself included).

Secondly, I have this issue a lot. As I result, I no longer try to make myself read anything I don't feel like (unless I have to for school). I don't even try to anticipate what I will feel like reading next, because by the time I'm ready to make another selection, what sounds interesting to me will have changed.

I don't understand why I do this. It's kind of annoying. Even right now, I started rereading Frankenstein, and even though it's really good, I can already feel that I'm not in the mood for it. I think I may have to put it down for now and try something else.


message 3: by Alaa (last edited Mar 10, 2010 12:27PM) (new)

Alaa | 5 comments Sometimes it's related to a big event taking place in your life.
Take me for example, when I went aboard to study, I lost interest in many things, including books, because I was homesick (depressed). It also can be things like exams, falling in love ect...
But it could be a simple thing too, like reading the wrong books. Catch 22 isn't the most exiting of books now is it?


Here is something that works in this situation. It works with me anyway.
I read depending on my mood, for example if I feel down I read something silly, funny and exiting. If I am in a good mood I read classics or facutal or historical books. It gets me through reading when I don't want to lol


message 4: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments I used to be really good about finishing books, I never started reading another book unless I had finished the last one. But since I started college I've been terrible about finishing books! I'm not really sure what it is but even if it's a good book I have a hard time finishing it. I'm hoping summer break will bring less stress and I'll be able to read more.


message 5: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I've been having that problem as well. Some of them I pushed through and I was glad but others I put down and I'll try to pick them up some other time to see if it's just my mood or the book. I just keep trying to read books that I know will be fun when I get into those ruts so that way it doesn't start feeling like a burden.


message 6: by Annette (new)

Annette (annette_marie_reads) | 39 comments I've totally been feeling that way lately too. Normally I love reading and get through pretty much anything I start. So I don't know if I'm just picking up the wrong books right now or what. But I have been listening to more audiobooks lately and that seems to be helping.


message 7: by Kelly A. (last edited Mar 10, 2010 07:05PM) (new)

Kelly A. | 499 comments I thought spring break would help me through my reading slump....but unfortunately, I haven't picked up a book yet...except to buy them.


message 8: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Yeah i went through that recently. I was having trouble getting through "Tricks" cuz I had so much homework and reading to do. Once I got all that done, I was able to concentrate on finishing Tricks.


message 9: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen I get that way a lot too. Sometimes I just give up, but other times I am determined to finish even if it takes me months.


message 10: by Kayla (new)

Kayla | 604 comments I've been having trouble getting through books since January. It's been taking me a month to get through one or two books, and I've set aside 3 books already that I only got halfway through. I HATE not finishing books, especially if I've already invested so much time in them. I've decided to try reading more young adult books (like The Lightening Thief) and other quick reads, which I hope will get me out of the rut.


message 11: by Natanya (last edited Mar 13, 2010 08:08AM) (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments That's what I'm considering doing too, Kayla -- my sister recently read The Hunger Games and loved it, so when I go home for spring break, I think I'll read that. I'm also going to try reading Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle because I've never had any problems getting through Murakami books.


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) I was reading "The Faith Club" but it got boring so I stopped reading it.


message 13: by Jen (new)

Jen (wishesandwanderlust) | 696 comments I have trouble starting a new book. Unless its something that I'm really really looking forward to reading. But it usually takes me a few days to decide what to read next.

School makes me not want to read sometimes. I have so much textbook reading and homework/projects that by the time I have a chance for "fun" reading I'm tired of reading.


message 14: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (amazingact21) I can make it through most books, because I've gotten better at picking novels I know interest me, but right now I cannot get through The Secret of Lost Things. The synopsis made it sound really interesting, but I am struggling with every page. To me it feels like the author's trying to sound superior by using difficult jargon, and that irritates me. Plus, I don't feel any emotions in the book.
I want to stop reading, but I put this down for a book challenge, and I'm already half way through, so I'll see if I can slug through the rest.


message 15: by Arianna (new)

Arianna (theycallmena) I having a problem with The Pillars of the Earth. I don't think it's my taste, genre wise, but my good friend let me borrow it to read because it's her favorite. I just dread giving it back to her to tell her that everything about it is good, it's just not my taste.


message 16: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen Ha, I had that problem... except it was with Mere Christianity and my friend told me it changed his life and that I should read it. I just plain didn't like it.


message 17: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker That's one of the things that always worries me about recommending a book to someone or having someone recommend a book to me. Even people whose literary tastes have been very similar to mine have missed the mark. I think that as long as you're honest but nice, it shouldn't be a problem.


message 18: by Natanya (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments Yeah, my friend recommended A Prayer for Owen Meany to me last summer and said it was both a great book and a fast read. It isn't bad, but a fast read is probably the last label I would give it, though it isn't actually a difficult novel to read...it's just slow.


message 19: by Steph (new)

Steph | 9 comments Haha! I loved Catch-22 the first time I read it, about 2-3 years ago, but every time I try to read it again I get a bit flabbergasted. I didn't try to make sense of it the first time around, so somehow it did end up making sense.. all the other times I'm like "WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?"

The 2 biggest struggles to try and finish a book I've had were Love in the Time of Cholera, and Saturday. Love in the Time of Cholera I did manage to finish because I didn't get mind-numbingly bored until the last quarter of it, but Saturday I got a chapter in and threw my hands up. I was so disappointed that I couldn't give it a better chance but it came down to: struggle through a book I already hate reading, or read something I'd actually enjoy.


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy (signgirlamy) Don't ever force yourself to read something that you don't like (unless you have to read it for school, although that's what makes a lot of kids hate reading).

A couple people have mentioned reading young adult books. I find that to be a great help when I feel a little dragged down with reading. They usually have pretty good stories, are fast moving, and don't get bogged down with dramatic/overdone language.

If you're really tired of reading, then just take a break for a while. There's nothing wrong with stopping for a while and then picking it back up when the reader inside you starts yelling for new material :)

I've gone through periods when I just didn't feel like reading. I didn't read one non-required book my first semester of college with everything else I had going on. Over Christmas break, I realized I missed it terribly and starting reading a lot more.


message 21: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I'm having such a hard time getting through Cry, the Beloved Country. It's not because I don't like it or it's boring. I think it's just my mind set right now. My mind is not really into anything right now because of everything that has been going on this month so I'm finding it hard to read this book alot. I know it's not the book's fault but I hate when I'm in a reading slump like that because it makes my experience reading the book not as good.


message 22: by Natanya (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments Ooh I think my sister is reading Cry, the Beloved Country right now! I read it a few years ago. It was okay, but it didn't particularly stand out. As far as South African novels go, I loved J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace (which I recommend whether or not you have any interest in South Africa).


message 23: by Bárbara (new)

Bárbara (leviathan_) Right now, I don't feel like reading at all - it's not like I'm struggling to, but my semester is being pretty hard, so I have to focus on textbooks rather than things I actually do want to read...


message 24: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Duffy (kathleenduffy) I've been struggling too. I know how you feel about Catch-22, I had the saaame problem!


message 25: by Sonja (new)

Sonja (crvena_sonja) | 78 comments I'm currently struggling to get through The Omnivore's Dilemma, aka that book thats going to make me stop eating everything. I really like the book but its non-fiction and very dense (plus the content makes me angry more often than not). I really like this book but I've been trying to read it since January and I never find enough time to get through the whole thing.

Whenever I find a day, or even a few hours together, I get totally engrossed in it, but because its so long and so dense I just can't finish it. Its the end of my junior year of college and I'm taking 5 classes, so with all of my school work and chores I don't have the time/patience to finish this book. Its really unfortunate.


message 26: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (kalypso) | 214 comments The only book I have struggled to get through lately is Catch-22. I forced myself to finish it. I thought I would like it more than I did.

I had a really hard time getting through Crime and Punishment when I had to read it back in high school. I don't know if it would be different now that I am not forced to read it but that one was torturous back then.


message 27: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I feel like I'm in an odd place because there are so many books I want to read and would be willing to pick up, it's just that when I finally settle down to read, I can't concentrate on anything. It's not a lack of motivation; it's a lack of concentration!


message 28: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen I'll sit down to read and then realize I just don't *feel* like it haha.


message 29: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I hear ya both! I don't know why it's been like that. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I think that maybe lately I've had so much on my mind that drained me so reading was too much energy! lol


message 30: by Anna (new)

Anna Shumaker (annashu) I've been reading Great Expectations and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal for almost 2 weeks now and I usually can finish a book in a week. I like both of them so I don't want to put either one aside but it is taking forever!


message 31: by Natanya (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments I finally just finished Midnight's Children, which I was supposed to have finished Tuesday for class. I'm pretty sure the only reason I made it through it was because it was required, but I'm glad I did -- it's a really great book. But it's really not the kind of book to be read in 2 weeks amidst a torrent of papers and exams and stress.


message 32: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I'm having the hardest time settling down on a book to read. There are so many that are appealing to me right now!


message 33: by Kelly (last edited Jun 02, 2010 10:58PM) (new)

Kelly | 308 comments I'm having a tough time getting through The Bell Jar. I like the idea of the story so far, but I think it's just moving so slow. It makes it extremely hard to get into. I have to keep flipping back a few pages to remember things, because it's just not interesting I guess(there's really no action). I like the main character so far, the story just needs to pick up already!


message 34: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I thought this might be a good thread to revive. I'm having the hardest time getting through books! I'm over halfway through one massive novel and I really love it, but I want to read something shorter in the meantime, yet I can't find anything shorter that I want to read (I keep drifting towards longer, more difficult things, like Moby Dick).

How do y'all deal with your reading slumps?


message 35: by Drew (new)

Drew Hamilton (drewhamilton) I've been fighting with The Thirteenth Tale and The Last Dickens. I just can't seem to keep with them. So I've been wandering back to to shorter books to fill a kind of tradition I started a while ago. Every summer I read The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. Having gone through the book I know, I find myself wanting to pick up and finish those others I left behind.


message 36: by Gina (new)

Gina (ginajellybean) I have the same problem too sometimes, it's so annoying! At the moment I'm working through Lord Of The Rings for the first time in a few years, but it's a bit of a chore. I'm making myself read a chapter a night but it doesn't have anything like the excitement it used to.

I agree with the YA tactic, especially re-reading books I loved the first time. They always break me out of a slump! Like a few people have said, life's too short to read boring books.


message 37: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I thought about picking up a collection of short stories or reading some poetry. But dammit! I want to read a novel.


message 38: by Drew (new)

Drew Hamilton (drewhamilton) Lori wrote: "I thought about picking up a collection of short stories or reading some poetry. But dammit! I want to read a novel."

Check out Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr. It's almost the best of both worlds.


message 39: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samhanson) | 179 comments The last book I really struggled through was On the Road but I forced myself through it since I knew it was an ~important~ book and I wanted to say I'd read it. I would set myself a number of pages to read a day and rather than reading it all at once I'd read a little, stop and watch TV or run errands, read some more, etc. I was planning to read Catch-22 soon and I've heard a lot of people have struggled with it so I'm a little worried.


message 40: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Samantha, People either like Catch-22 or they hate it. I've found that the people who hate just hated it because it confused them; those who liked it were able to follow the reasoning. So, it's pretty much a coin-toss. Good luck.


message 41: by Kayla (last edited Aug 26, 2010 02:30PM) (new)

Kayla | 604 comments When I'm in a slump, I like to read something fun and quick (YA, fantasy, romance, or just a short book of less than 200 pages). Right now I'm reading Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle while reading East of Eden (a rather long book) at the same time.

I'm loving Jackson's book. It's my first by her. Many of her novels are very short too, so she's a good author to go to if you're looking for a fast but interesting read.


message 42: by Emily (new)

Emily Lori wrote: "I thought about picking up a collection of short stories or reading some poetry. But dammit! I want to read a novel."

here are some books that I read recently that were pretty quick reads:

The Help
Long Way Gone
Jesus Land
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea
The Complete Persepolis

except for Jesus land, I think I read them all in one sitting. They are really fast reads.


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