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Books I couldn't get into

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
In another thread, Lisa wrote the following. It's a great idea for a conversation, so I've moved it here.

"I was searching for a thread re: "Books I couldn't get into" and this seems like the closest one. There are several books that most others have loved but not so for me. For example,

Water for Elephants
Pillars of the Earth
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I am tempted to pick them up again because sometimes timing is everything with me and reading. Does anyone else find that?"


message 2: by Manda (new)

Manda Seats (katfusion) | 2 comments Water for Elephants
Pillars of the Earth
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle


Ooo, she named two of my favorite books and the third is on my to-read shelf. Lol.

I personally couldn't get into A Clockwork Orange. I mean, I'm sorry, but if I can't even understand what I'm reading, there's no way I'm going to make it past the first two pages.


message 3: by Carla (new)

Carla  (carlathompson) | 42 comments For me, it sometimes is a matter of timing. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for a certain kind of book. I couldn't get into Edgar Sawtell either. Most of the time, since all I do is audio, if the reader is grating on my nerves, it takes away from the book. Great topic.
Carla


message 4: by Esther (last edited Aug 24, 2010 07:55AM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) I loved Water for Elephants.

The book I'm can't get into is Consequences by Penelope Lively.
It is a bleak combination of boring and depressing that weighed me down. I thought I would lay it aside and come back to it later but I keep avoiding it. Only the fact that I loved Ms Lively's children's books is keeping me from moving it to my 'abandoned' shelf.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2781 comments Mod
This is nothing new, but it is always a jerk back to reality for me when others don't LOVE a book that I did. Two of my favorite are on your list, Michael. The third was good, but I didn't like the ending.

Among the books I've read recently that others raved about was A Reliable Wife. I read the entire book, but it was a chore.


message 6: by Sonja (new)

Sonja (sonham) Mine would be

American Gods
Twilight series
Outlander series
The Physician (by Noah Gordon)
Sookie Stackhouse series

And some more :-)


message 7: by Marly (last edited Aug 25, 2010 12:01PM) (new)

Marly | 152 comments Sometimes I think it's a matter of timing and sometimes I feel like I've heard so much hype about a book that by the time I get to read it, it's a bit disappointing. Some examples for me:
The Pillars of the Earth way too much rape and pilage for me.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle I really wanted to like this one but I could not get into it, I will get back to it and try again.


message 8: by Shelly (new)

Shelly (okily-dokily) | 9 comments Mine is Catch-22. I read about the first 50 pages and gave it up. But I shouldn't feel bad, it's #1 on this list: The Most Begun "Read but Unfinished" (Initiated) book ever


message 9: by Kate (new)

Kate | 269 comments In honor of Jonathen Franzen's new book and Time cover story, I remembered I could not finish The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen . After 300+ pages these characters had bored and irritated me so. I stopped reading because I did not care what happened to them and I have never gone back to it.


message 10: by Peggy (new)

Peggy | 1 comments I agree on Edgar Sawtell, How about "Crossing to Safety", had to read it for a book group...


message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
I had to start The Prince of Tides three times before I finally got into it. Now it is one of my favorite books of all time. I agree with Carla -- often it is a matter of timing.


message 12: by Shona (new)

Shona (anovelobsession) | 178 comments The one book that I just couldn't finish was Atonement. I found myself really hating one of the characters for what she had done and feeling so bad for the other characters that it was difficult to continue...too emotional. I'm thinking of trying it again as I think that any book that makes me that emotional has something to offer.


message 13: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Marly wrote: "The Pillars of the Earth way too much rape and pillage for me."

What bothered you more? The rape or the pillage?


message 14: by Tenoko1 (new)

Tenoko1 Shiver
The Sookie Stackhouse series
Wicked
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Breaking Dawn
Bram Stoker's Dracula

The above are just the ones that stand out in my mind. A couple I actually managed to somehow finish before sitting back and wondering why I bothered. Maybe I was a completeist that day.


message 15: by Tenoko1 (new)

Tenoko1 Sonja wrote: "Mine would be

American Gods
Twilight series
Outlander series
The Physician (by Noah Gordon)
Sookie Stackhouse series

And some more :-)"


I know you said American Gods, have you read any of Neil Gaiman's other books like Good Omens or Neverwhere? They are his better ones.


message 16: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments @Eric, umm, I think both! So many people loved this book, I actually feel bad that I did not. Maybe I should go back and try again??
p.s. thanks for correcting my spelling (I'm fast and inaccurate on here often, yikes, is that a bad thing?)


message 17: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
See, me? If I picked up that book, I'd expect pillage. I know it's about pillars. Pillars are people who pillage, right?


message 18: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments LOL, you're absolutely right.


message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "This is nothing new, but it is always a jerk back to reality for me when others don't LOVE a book that I did. Two of my favorite are on your list, Michael. The third was good, but I didn't like the..."

Let me clarify, that is Lisa's list, not mine. I happen to have LOVED all three of those books!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Shona wrote: "The one book that I just couldn't finish was Atonement. I found myself really hating one of the characters for what she had done and feeling so bad for the other characters that it was..."

It took me a few tries to get through Atonement, but it was worth it.


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2781 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Linda wrote: "This is nothing new, but it is always a jerk back to reality for me when others don't LOVE a book that I did. Two of my favorite are on your list, Michael. The third was good, but I d..."

Duly noted, Michael. I noted, too.


message 22: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (tracemick) | 217 comments Kate wrote: "In honor of Jonathen Franzen's new book and Time cover story, I remembered I could not finish The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. After 300+ pages these characters had bored and irritated me so. I ..."

I agree with you Kate, except I actually finished the book. The writing didn't impress me and the characters were so unlikeable.


message 23: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 89 comments Without a doubt, the #1 book I couldn't get into is The Da Vinci Code. I started it twice and couldn't make it through the first chapter.


message 24: by Lauren (last edited Aug 29, 2010 01:51AM) (new)

Lauren (lrc123) | 7 comments Atonement I tried to get into this, i really did. I prefer to read the book before i see the movie. But (and i apologize to fans of his) Ian MacEwan bores the snot out of me. I just could not hack it, it's not that it's a bad book. I just find the writing and characters to be very dry and dull.

The Reader I didn't really have any interest in seeing the movie, but figured i may as well read the book. I made it pretty far into it and then just stopped. I might pick it up again one day.

Prep Blech. This is one of the dullest books ever written, i got 150 or so pages into it and i just put it down and have never thought about picking it up again. Nothing happens and the plot is so slow, it goes in reverse. I have never read anything since by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Pride and Prejudice
I know that this is a "classic", but i just couldn't get past the first 30 or pages. It's just too dull for me.

The Catcher in the Rye
I didn't even make it past the first 40 pages. Holden to me was a whiny not to mention boring brat. I seriously wonder why this is such a classic. All Holden seemed to do was brood and swear. It's like yeesh! Life is not a black pit of dispair. This is one of the few books i hate. But from what i understand you either love it or hate it, there's not much of an in between.

I can always tell when a book isn't holding or strongly capturing my attention, because in the case of books that i really want to read, i often stay up very late reading them (thank God i'm homeschooled) and they don't languish on my bedside table, like Atonement did. Oh, well maybe it's my age (17) and i'll be able to appreciate these books when i'm older. And in defense of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the first book isn't necessarily the greatest but it definitely starts to pick up by books #2 and #3. I happen to love the series.


message 25: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West--I am gobsmacked by the hoopla on this one. I confess I gave it up pretty quickly. There were nothing that grabbed my interest or empathy.

The Road I managed to finish but I didn't much care for it. I am almost positive that I won't be reading Cormac McCarthy again (someone in my book group read Blood Meridian and he hated it and this is a guy who only likes depressing books.)

The Comfort of Strangers Well-written like The Road and also like The Road, totally off-putting. I don't know if I'll be tackling McEwan again.


Even Cowgirls Get the Blues What a great title! It's all downhill from there. The movie had a great k.d. lang soundtrack though.

Moby-Dick or, The Whale Lengthy discourses on 19th century whaling technology plus a hefty dose of anti-transcendental philsophy plus a loathsome way to make a living in the first place=literary fail (I know, I know. Symbolic of man's futile struggle for supremacy over nature. I get it.) My apologies to Jack Murnighan.

Stranger in a Strange Land the first half is mildly engaging. The second half manages to be hippy dippy and sexist and racist all at the same time. Avoid, avoid, avoid.


message 26: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values Started out interesting, but quickly degenerated into psychobabble. Maybe some day I'll try it again, but I doubt it.

New MoonSecond in the twilight series. I stuck with the first book and found the suspense and storytelling got better in the final third. With the second book, I got about halfway through before figuring out that Meyer really has no storytelling ability. I dropped it cold without any regrets.

Hero I found the idea of a coming of age superhero novel intriguing. But after getting halfway into it I realized that every idea this book contained had already been done better in comics.

Hmmm...can't really think of any more. Usually if a book comes highly recommended, I'll finish it even if I don't much care for it, and go through the exercise of articulating why I don't like it based on a full reading. I develop my critical faculties that way, thereby turning not liking a book into a sort of game.


message 27: by Carla (new)

Carla  (carlathompson) | 42 comments Here is my rant on The Stand. I did finally finish it last night!
I am seriously struggling with The Stand by Stephen King. I am almost at the end or at least I hope so. He could have said so much more with so much less. I feel like he is beating me over the head with this book. It is just really dragging for me. Just get on with it Steve! I am starting Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I hope to enjoy it as soon as I am released from The Stand. For those of you who are King fans and have told me that the Stand is your favorite King book, I say, good for you. I have tried and I just don't think so. My first King book was The Green Mile, loved, loved, loved it. Shaw Shank Redemption was great too. I just need closure with The Stand.Help me Baby Jesus, Help me Oprah Winfry!
Carla


message 28: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 26, 2010 06:11PM) (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments I really do like The Stand, HOWEVER when I first read it, it was the shorter version (shorter being relative--it still clocked in at 8 or 900 pages.) King never approved of the cuts his publisher made so once he became big, he released a much ballyhooed uncut version. I have read that one too. I still like it but it felt bloated at times to me. I read those two versions about 10 years apart so I am iffy about old versus new but I remember there was a long fight between Frannie and her Mother that felt contrived to me that was new to the uncut edition.

The TV miniseries was great (except Molly Ringwald was terrible as Franny.)


message 29: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 89 comments I'm reading The Stand now. I've started it a couple of times, but I just couldn't handle the size and the small print. It sounds like it's the kind of book I'd like (post-apocalyptic), but I physically couldn't read it in a dead tree book. I downloaded it to my Nook and am really enjoying it. You just don't notice how long a book is when it's an ebook.


message 30: by Dorota (new)

Dorota (readinggirl91) | 7 comments I actually finished Catcher In The Rye only because I was waiting for something classic worthy to happen. It never did. Another book is Solar. I never finished that one. I am just glad it is ok to stop reading a book when it is not interesting. Thank you.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Right now, I'm having another go-around with Tim O'Brien's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. I read it last month and wasn't particularly impressed with it; but I decided to give it another chance by listening to it in audio. I'm still pretty underwhelmed, especially when comparing it to Matterhorn (by Karl Marlantes.) I know it's a unfair comparison, but "there it is."

I'm also pretty bemused my anything written by Ian McEwan. While others have described his works as taut psychological thrillers, I would describe them more as "Tales of Anxiety" (nod to Bob & Ray.)

THREE CUPS OF TEA (by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin) was so badly written I couldn't get into the book at all (I was too distracted by poor sentence construction, plaudits, etc) which is a shame because I think Greg Mortenson's work in Central Asia is amazing.

I read WICKED (by Gregory MacGuire) but, believe it or not, it was the *math* that turned me off of GMG! I remember reading something about the ages of the witch and her friend that made me go back through the book and do some math in the margins and; discovering a discrepancy. That lack of attention to detail bothered me.. I liked the book cover though :-)

I don't hate any of these books, I just didn't groove on them, for now anyway.


message 32: by Eve (new)

Eve (eveariel) | 13 comments I really like this thread ... nice that I'm not the only one who didn't get into Wicked (I just couldn't do it - it basically got three strikes to see if it was a timing issue and it struck out.

I tried to read Atonement - and did finish it - but (apologies to Ian McEwen fans)it was not fun and I do not seek him out.

Also on my list is Gone with the Wind. I tried, couldn't do it.

I also gave up on the twilight series.


message 33: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 5 comments Hi everyone-

I am the original Lisa who posted on this topic and thank you to Michael for sending me here. I'm enjoying reading all the posts. I agree, it can be timing. The conclusion I've come to is an analogy to real life. Sometimes like in real life, we enjoy certain "characters" that we interact with; there are some we enjoy spending time with and can relate to and then there are others that no matter how hard we try, it just doesn't click. For me, it's the characters in the book or the topic of the book. If it's not comfortable or enjoyable (I don't mean I avoid emotionally challenging books) I can't seem to stay engaged.


message 34: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Brady (dawnallyn) | 22 comments I also couldn't read Atonement - it was so slow. After starting and restarting about 2 weeks straight, I decided life's too short and gave up.

Wicked - I finished this one, and kept waiting to like it - it never happened.

Red Badge of Courage - I was forced to read this one and to this day I hate this book.


message 35: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarah_ilott) | 8 comments One I am struggling with at the moment is Moby Dick. I loved it up to the point where they set sail as I love the relationship between Queqeg and
Ishmael.
I have stopped for a couple of weeks and have read something else, but now I have picked it back up. I am really determined to finish though!


message 36: by Lee (new)

Lee (EL_Postal) | 3 comments Tried reading Charles Bock's Beautiful Children. Only read half because it seemed it was page after page of lists.


message 37: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (akoneill) | 17 comments Sarah wrote: "One I am struggling with at the moment is Moby Dick. I loved it up to the point where they set sail as I love the relationship between Queqeg and
Ishmael.
I have stopped for a couple of weeks a..."


I gave up on Moby Dick a couple of times but finally finished it by skimming the cetology chapters. The story is very, very good (and a fairly quick read) once you aren't bogged down in all the whales.

The book that I keep picking up and then never finishing is Middlemarch, which baffles me because I love Eliot. I will finish it one day. I actually put it on my life list to keep me motivated.


message 38: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarah_ilott) | 8 comments Thanks Ashley, I'll take your advice.


message 39: by Readnponder (new)

Readnponder | 125 comments Hi Sarah,

I too had trouble with Moby Dick. One thing that helped was going to the library and checking out pictures books of whales. National Geographics will do as well. When I saw photographs of these magnificent creatures it made the book more alive.

Now I'm bogged down in The Brothers Karamozov. The latest BOTNS recommendation tends to be more appealing.

Allyson


message 40: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 5 comments Couldn't get into but I'm tempted to pick it up again. The Red Tent Is it worth going back to?


message 41: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Lisa, it's been a few years, but I recall having similar issues with The Red Tent but loving it in the end. We read it for a book group, so I was motivated to keep going, and am glad that I did.

There is one book I keep picking up and putting down: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I don't know why -- I like it very much, but it always gets abandoned for the next shiny new book.


message 42: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood!


message 43: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Lisa wrote: "Couldn't get into but I'm tempted to pick it up again. The Red Tent Is it worth going back to?"
I would say no. I didn't like The Red Tent at all, a fact that causes about 90% of my female book-reading friends to look at me askance.


message 44: by Ashley (last edited Sep 09, 2010 08:23AM) (new)

Ashley (akoneill) | 17 comments The Blind Assassin was one of those books where I liked half the story but not the other half. I think I finally just finished the half that I was enjoying and skipped the rest all together. I usually love Atwood, but this one wasn't my cup of tea.


message 45: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Railey | 249 comments Ann wrote: "Lisa, it's been a few years, but I recall having similar issues with The Red Tent but loving it in the end. We read it for a book group, so I was motivated to keep going, and am glad that I did.

T..."


Ann, I'm reading I Capture the Castle right now and I have been having a very hard time not putting it down for the new books I've got. It's not that it's bad it's just not gripping. I'm determined to finish it though because I keep hearing so much good stuff about it.


message 46: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Brady (dawnallyn) | 22 comments Ashley wrote: "The Blind Assassin was one of those books where I liked half the story but not the other half. I think I finally just finished the half that I was enjoying and skipped the rest all together. I us..."

With Atwood, I either really like it or really hate it. Which is weird, because I usually will not pick up an author again after a bad experience - but with Atwood, I will at least give it a try.


message 47: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
With Atwood, I either really like it or really hate it. Which is weird, because I usually will not pick up an author again after a bad experience - but with Atwood, I will at least give it a try."

Yes! One of the books I most disliked (ever) was Mararet Atwood's Cat's Eye. One of my favorite books (ever) is Handmaid's Tale. Maybe I should go back and re-read Cat's Eye now....


message 48: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Brady (dawnallyn) | 22 comments Ann wrote: "With Atwood, I either really like it or really hate it. Which is weird, because I usually will not pick up an author again after a bad experience - but with Atwood, I will at least give it a try."
..."


From what I remember (it's been 20 years), I liked Cat's Eye...


message 49: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Me too. I have no memory of what it was about (I read it over 20 years ago), but I remember there was an element of psychological suspense to it.


message 50: by Tenoko1 (new)

Tenoko1 I have to admit I am struggling through Clockwork Angel. Maybe it's because it's set in Victorian London, and I typically don't read books like that, though I don't think so, I'm fine with classic literary works. Perhaps it's because the characters run too parrallel with her Mortal Instrument series that I'm having a hard time connecting to these. I'm on pg 347, and whenever I pick it up and read it, it's because I keep waiting for it to grab me and throw me head long in the book like the original series did and it's just not.

When a book grabs my interest, the whole day will go by without my notice, still as a statue reading page after page. This book, I'll read for a couple of hours, sit it down, do something else, fidget with comfortable position, pick it back up, read for a little while, set it back down.... It's 'meh' for me, which is a HUGE disappointment. The wit and sarcasm aren't there, and the whole mindset of the female characters that a woman's place is to make a pretty home and wait on her husband hand and foot in a role of complete submission just pisses me off. That the main chara thinks it's scandolous for a woman to wear pants/breeches/or whatever you want to all them, and that a woman is out of line if she think herself equal to a man, or that a woman cannot be a warrior, it all just ticks me off. It may seem feminist of me, but no way in hell am I gonna jump just because a man said so, and no, I am not here to be a human vase, something that sits quietly and is pretty to look at. Argh!

/rant


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