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Just for fun > Books you've attempted more than once...but still never finsihed.

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message 1: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Has this ever happened to you?

One such book for me is This Perfect Day by Ira Levin This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. I love Levin - I've the majority of his work. However, I've tried tio read this two ir three times and have not gotten the job done. I keep waiting for that point when I become locked into the narrative...but it hasn't happened yet. This is actually considered by people in the know [I don't know them] his masterwork. I'm going to attempt it again. I never blame the book - I'm a firm believer in having to be in the right frame of mind to receive a books gifts.

I've made a few false starts on Lolita and Dracula and a few others.

So, I'm interested to know what books you lot have been unable to finish.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I have a small list of dnf books, but I wouldn't want to read any of them again. My biggest problem would be the books i regularly check out, and then never read (repeat endlessly). I think most of these books are classics: Vanity Fair, The Warden, Little Women -- books I want to read, but can't bring myself to do so.


message 3: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 76 comments I'm still hoping one day to dive into...

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I've read the first 30 or so pages maybe two or three times then never picked it up again.


message 4: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) I have a larger stack than I like to admit of books I really want to read that for whatever reason I just can't get through. It seems the same books get hit again and again with life issues that interrupt my reading time/attention so that I fizzle out on the book part-way through and shelve it. (I admit, sheepishly, to having 21 titles on my Paused shelf.)

Additionally, there are a few that I've started multiple times and simply can't get in to, yet I am determined to one day read them. The Crying of Lot 49 comes immediately to mind, followed by The Snow Queen and Kafka on the Shore...and I love Murakami. I just can't seem to get into that one.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I did get halfway through Sputnik Sweetheart, and then re-shelved it, tbr. I might switch to Norwegian Wood instead.


message 6: by Angela (new)

Angela (bookangel2) | 26 comments There are a couple that I had two attempts at before managing to read all the way through - War and Peace and Bleak House - but I haven't been able to finish Our Mutual Friend. There are a few that I'm taking a very long time to finish - mostly non-fiction - will get there in the end....I hope!


message 7: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I am on chapter 4 of This Perfect Day - maybe the third time is the charm.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

People are always talking me in to "new" books, so I have a hard time coming back to a book if it doesn't grab me the first time.

Good luck, Ivan!


message 9: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Vanity fair is such a book for me, aswell. I have trouble with books that just seem to keep making the same point over and over- The Phantom Tolbooth was the same way. I never could finish it. It was like all spaghetti and sauce, and no meatballs. Like, every day of the week, for three weeks. I broke free and went for other fare.


message 10: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
:-( Phanton Tollbooth is a favorite.


message 11: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Yeah, I run across folks who love that book all the time. That's great that they love it- I just...couldn't...fin...
;)


message 12: by Ivan (last edited Jun 11, 2012 07:16AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
It's funny how some books are beloved by some readers and loathed by others. Different stories speak to different people, just as certain paintings/painters or music/musicians appeal to different people. Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder (which is why awards for the arts are always such a dubious undertaking].


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

That's how I feel about the majority of modern art -- all in the eye of the beholder.


message 14: by Ivan (last edited Jun 11, 2012 09:32AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I don't mind strange or weird (Dali, Picasso, Chagal...) but I don't get Pollack and so many others that paint squares or simply spatter paint on a canvas; it symbolizes creative constipation.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I think we've had this discussion before, and share similar views.


message 16: by Angela (new)

Angela (bookangel2) | 26 comments Ivan wrote: "It's funny how some books are beloved by some readers and loathed by others. Different stories speak to different people, just as certain paintings/painters or music/musicians appeal to different ..."

Do you know, this used to create such problems when it came down to something as basic as marking writing tests for 7 year olds. We had guide lines for spelling, punctuation, grammar etc., but the most problematical part came when one had to mark for creativity.One teacher would have a completely different view to another.


message 17: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
So much of education can be "luck of draw." Teachers bring all their baggage with them; some good, some not so much.

Yes, Jeanette, we are simpatico.


message 18: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 76 comments So far I've only tried this one once so it might not count but No Signposts in the Sea by Vita Sackville-West was the most recent book that I failed...I have a feeling that it's a book I'll need to read and mightt better connect with in say 10 or 20 years from now but isn't right for me at age 32. Does anyone else feel like that about books? that there is an optimum time in life for reading and appreciating them?


message 19: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey | 3 comments As my current reads would show, I've been stuck on The Golden Notebook: Perennial Classics edition and The Brothers Karamazov for over a year. Although I finally made it through and enjoyed it in the end, it took me three tries to get through Mansfield Park. Usually its about timing, you have to be in the right mindset and have plenty of free time to get through Karamozov, otherwise it swallows you whole!


message 20: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Ally wrote: "So far I've only tried this one once so it might not count but No Signposts in the Sea by Vita Sackville-West was the most recent book that I failed...I have a feeling that it's a book I'll need to..."

Yes, I do.


message 21: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 76 comments Kelsey wrote: "As my current reads would show, I've been stuck on The Golden Notebook: Perennial Classics edition and The Brothers Karamazov for over a year. Although I finally made it through and enjoyed it in ..."

I just finished The Golden notebook a couple of weeks ago and can totally see why you have trouble. To finish it I had to attack it - read quickly and avoid other books (I usually have 2 or 3 on the go at any one time). This book required my complete attention. I thought, on finishing it, that it could have been half the length and yet still pack the same punch - there was a lot of repetition inherent in the structure of the story. if you've got half-way through you probably know enough but if you want to contine do it quickly in large chunks at a time. Good luck!


message 22: by Ivan (last edited Jun 15, 2012 03:10PM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I am finally - forcing myself - making my way through Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day." It is interesting and thought provoking, but dare I say it? Too long (the covers are too far apart). Instead of reading with breathless anticipation, I keep thinking OMG when am I ever going to be done. Now, having said that, I just read about a twist at the end, so who knows, I may be only pages away from reaching the "riveting" part. BTW, this is a work of dystopian fiction (which I don't like as a rule). I'm only reading it because I've liked so many others I've read by Levin and thought "it must be me" - well, it is me!

To touch on your earlier comment Ally. I have attempted some books without success only to come back to them years later and read them straight through. As we live and grow I think our interests and outlook changes and where a book or film or song didn't appeal to us in youth, we find that it now does; indeed some of those that appealed to us in youth, no longer have the same meaning when we re-read them. In AA we have the "big book" - and as I first read it I would highlight certain passages because they described so perfectly my feelings and thoughts (as if the writer had been reading my mind). Upon re-reading I'd see what I had highlighted and wonder why when its obvious this other passage is much more "true" and relevent. The truth is that the entire book is now highlighted not because the book changed, but because I changed. Now some of the highlights have highlights.


message 23: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 76 comments The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles was another book that I've never been able to finish.

I think there is also some subject matter or philosophical thought processes that are better managed at diiferent times of life. I'm sure that No Signposts in the Sea is one that requires a certain nostalgic thought process - its about looking back at life and this is not easy for someone still looking forward.


message 24: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) What I can remember offhand: The Sound and the Fury, Anna Karenina , Fifty Shades of Grey.


message 25: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) Oh, I did finally finish Anna Karenina. ... but it took a long while and some skimming.


message 26: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Happy to report that "This Perfect Day" has indeed picked-up. It's never going to be a favorite, but I'm glad I pushed through - only sixty pages or so to go.


message 27: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I finished. Hooray. It proved quite interesting, but not his best effort.


message 28: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) Ivan wrote: "I finished. Hooray. It proved quite interesting, but not his best effort."

Congratulations, Ivan! There's one you can tick off your list. Do you plan to review it?


message 29: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I'm thinking about it.


message 30: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Candiss wrote: "Ivan wrote: "I finished. Hooray. It proved quite interesting, but not his best effort."

Congratulations, Ivan! There's one you can tick off your list. Do you plan to review it?"


OK, my review is posted.


message 31: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) Ivan wrote: "OK, my review is posted. "

I enjoyed your review, and I'm glad you finally made it through this one. I've still never read Levin, although I have The Stepford Wives queued for next month. I'm optimistic about it based on the reviews of several friends. I've also heard good things about The Boys from Brazil, so if "my first Levin" and I get along, that may be my next of his works.


message 32: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Candiss wrote: "Ivan wrote: "OK, my review is posted. "

I enjoyed your review, and I'm glad you finally made it through this one. I've still never read Levin, although I have The Stepford Wives queued for next m..."


A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil are all terrific. I also enjoyed his plays Dr. Cook's Garden, Veronica's Room: A Melodrama and Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts.


message 33: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) Ivan wrote: "Candiss wrote: "Ivan wrote: "OK, my review is posted. "

I enjoyed your review, and I'm glad you finally made it through this one. I've still never read Levin, although I have The Stepford Wives q..."


*takes notes* Thanks, Ivan!


message 34: by neverendings (new)

neverendings | 4 comments (Hi! I'm new to this group!) At the beginning of this year I had 4 books that I have been picking up, not getting very far with, and putting back down again for between 7 & 10 years. I can actually say I've managed to cut that down to 2 such books outstanding, having managed to finally get around to Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital (exceptional book, really worth the wait!) and English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (which was also an enjoyable read). I am also an additional chapter further into The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, but still no further than halfway through my longest-standing TBR, Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan. Don't know what it is about these particular books that I seem to have no compulsion to actually finish them, even though on another level they really do appeal to me. They're all chunky books (definitely not novellas!) but that doesn't normally put me off. Ah well, their time will come. One day...


message 35: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 76 comments ooh, I have a copy of English Passengers by Matthew Kneale English Passengers by Matthew Kneale on my TBR pile, its been there quite some time now and I never think to pick it up and consider reading it but there must have been something that made me buy it! I might try it one of these days!


message 36: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
neverendings wrote: "(Hi! I'm new to this group!) At the beginning of this year I had 4 books that I have been picking up, not getting very far with, and putting back down again for between 7 & 10 years. I can actua..."

Welcome to the group.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one I've meant to read for many years. I quite enjoyed his The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, but have not made it to his Pulitzer winner. Maybe one day.


message 37: by Ivan (last edited Jul 21, 2012 05:00AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Ally wrote: "ooh, I have a copy of English Passengers by Matthew Kneale English Passengers by Matthew Kneale on my TBR pile, its been there quite some time now and I never think to pick it up and consider reading it ..."

Reading about this it seems like it would be too much of a "ramble" for me.


message 38: by neverendings (new)

neverendings | 4 comments Reading about this it seems like it would be to much of a "ramble" for me.

I actually found the story fairly linear, despite being told from multiple viewpoints (okay, there's a bit of back & forth in time, but not to a distracting or confusing level). Each chunk of narrative is clearly included to move the story onward, rather than as 'filler', although the actual voices do waffle to a degree (as per style of the period), dependent on the character speaking. I think if you find the variety of characters entertaining, you will enjoy this book, because it is mostly about them and their interactions with each other, how and why they are travelling to this new world, in the first place. The most moving part of the story is told by the aboriginal 'representative', Peevay, and it would have been an entirely different novel (novella, in fact) if Kneale had stuck to his story alone - and possibly more enticing to pick up...


message 39: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Thanks. It sounds interesting. Now, if I could only clear the stack of books next to my bed...I could add another.


message 40: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I finally finished The BFG - I couldn't get by the giants language - it really bothered me. However, I finally just sucked it up and made myself finish. It's never going to be my favorite Dahl, but it proved quite enjoyable and worth it in the end.


message 41: by neverendings (new)

neverendings | 4 comments Ivan wrote: "I finally finished The BFG - I couldn't get by the giants language - it really bothered me. However, I finally just sucked it up and made myself finish. It's never going to be my favorite Dahl, b..."

Oh, that's a shame - I loved the BFG. The BFG and The Witches were my two favourites. I think there are a lot of books you have more affection for when you first read them at 'just the right age'(/time), though.


message 42: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I'm loving Roald Dahl...The Witches is my favorite, but Matlida, James and the Giant Peach, The Magic Finger and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are wonderful too...then comes The BFG (for me).


message 43: by Angela (new)

Angela (bookangel2) | 26 comments I think Roald Dahl is wonderful! My children loved his books and a really fond memory I have is of my younger daughter and youngest son acting out a scene from The Witches! They were so funny:)


message 44: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I tried once too


message 45: by CasualDebris (new)

CasualDebris | 16 comments Most of my unfinished books are from grad school. It's not that I didn't want to finish them, but when you're expected to read thousands of pages of fiction & theory each week, you need to make sacrifices. I'll get back to most of them, eventually.

One book I tried hard to read last year was Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red. I struggled through the first forty-five pages, and though I liked the style, I felt too impatient with it. I do plan to try again.


message 46: by Hayes (last edited Aug 13, 2012 01:52AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Ivan wrote: "... but I don't get Pollack."

Oh, I love Pollack! But my husband has a thing for de Chirico, whose paintings leave me totally cold (I like the sculptures, however). Most of the metaphysical stuff goes over my head, actually.

@Ally: I too started and put down The Blind Assassin.

I have a lot of books that I DNF. More and more as I get older (and crankier!). Mostly I don't try again, although I probably will with Atwood.


message 47: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I read a few pages more of Just Kids this weekend - which has been sitting there gathering dust for a month or more. I'm reading Just So Stories - maybe one story a day (or every other day). I finished Treasure Island this weekend - I'd never read it before (thrilling!). I've gone about half way through The Indian in the Cupboard - but something about the premise is off putting to me.


message 48: by CasualDebris (new)

CasualDebris | 16 comments Ivan wrote: "...I'm reading Just So Stories - maybe one story a day (or every other day)..."

I could never get into Kipling, aside from "The Phantom Rickshaw." If his stories were any longer they'd be on my DNF list, & for that I haven't attempted any of his collections.

I first read Treasure Island only last year & loved it. The Indian in the Cupboard I also only read as an adult, & though I did enjoy it, it's pretty forgettable. Guess you have to grow up with it.


message 49: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Hayes wrote: "Ivan wrote: "... but I don't get Pollack."

Oh, I love Pollack! But my husband has a thing for de Chirico, whose paintings leave me totally cold (I like the sculptures, however). Most of the metaph..."


I put Blind Assassin on a personal challenge list for June-December and just finished it. Absolutely understand why people have difficulty with it. Glad I read it, but it begs for discussion. I should get a review up soon. Also, for the most part, it got easier after the first several sections.


message 50: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Oh, I love Kipling. His stuff needs reading out loud, and done with a bit of theatrics. Tone of voice, long pauses, etc.
I never could get into Treasure Island until one day (in high school..?) I found a fantastic copy at the library. It had notes and sketches of sail terms and boat diagrams and pirate lingo. These were all thru the book, inside the cover, down the margins, splashed behind the words in a few places. It was like someone had been there, in that story, and made this journal that was part scientific observation and part storytelling, and the entire thing just leapt off the page and came to life for me. I wish I could find one like that again.
Pollack: I like the display of energy that his paintings represent for me, but I would never have one hanging in my house. I do love NC Wyeth and other illustrators, even if they got less respect than 'regular' artists, whatever that would be. Even my pictures have to tell stories.


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