Neal Stephenson, Fall. Absolutely could not finish. Didn’t even want to try.
What gets me is when a book is an award winner with huge hype and then I’m reading it and for the life of me I can’t figure out what people liked about it. I actually finished the Ancillary Justice series waiting for it to get good after it was praised up and down online. At least it was readable unlike some other classics.
I’m still not sure if the book has some great meaning or if it’s just written so obtusely that people assume it must be genius because they don’t understand it.
Another book I “finished” but didn’t really grok was Dune.
I’ve personally abandoned 20% of the books on that list, and there are several I mostly slogged through out of inertia.
“Gone Girl,” though, kept me so hooked that I was reading it in between dances at my brother’s wedding. Individual taste is a funny thing.
I may have gone through all of Salinger’s stuff at one point and thought it seemed enlightened.
In my defense, I was about 14.
It’s the story of a manchild that has a temper tantrum and commits the largest act of domestic terrorism in history and is lauded as a hero by the author.
Thanks for the reminder of that word. I actually enjoyed the act of reading Pynchon’s Vinland - the rhythm of it was quite mesmerising - but I cannot say I grokked it.
Infinite Jest…a good one to abandon unless you’re really into tennis players and their drug habits, and footnotes.
So was I, and then I re-read it as an adult.
It was well-written and gave me an insight into his fucked up little head, but beyond that, there’s not much to learn from anything he’s written.
Looks like a fine list of books that people might recognize as popular and subsequently discover are completely not what they thought they would be as soon as they get started. I can so easily imagine a lot of people gingerly setting aside American Gods after getting to that first sex scene.
And don’t get me started on Wicked. Solidly in my Bottom 10, that one.
I gave a proper look at the list.
The few on there that I have read I finished. Even the eyerolling hate inducing Ready Player One. Being of the age where I should be the target for it but the whole 80s stalker love trope and the we are true gatekeepers of nerd culture shit was just a lot of nope for me. Doubly so post Gamergate.
House of Leaves. You have to be a contortionist to finish that one.
I finished American Gods and then kind of regretted it. There are some good parts to the book, especially near the beginning, but in the end it’s kind of a waste and you have to slog through some really tedious stuff from the middle onward.
I probably don’t abandon enough books in retrospect.
Well, I have definitely abandoned both Outlander and Moby Dick. I have no regrets about those. But I do feel a little guilty not having finished Thinking Fast and Slow.
I’m much more likely to abandon reading a book I’m bored by these days. I’m no longer cowed by a sense of obligation to finish a boring book just because I started it. I no longer feel quite so obligated to read through what is essentially literary fiber, not that outlander counts as fiber, it was just tedious.
Amen. I love most Stephenson. Seveneves was wonderful and I recommend it to everyone. Fall was just awful. Oh well, they can’t all be winners.
I rather liked it, but it occurs to me that the principal barrier to its inclusion here is that it is probably not publishable in a conveniently-portable, inexpensively-printed paperback form.
Indeed, in my mind it stands out as far less readable than any of Gaiman’s other works. He completely makes up for it in Anansi Boys. So much so that I wouldn’t at all be opposed to taking a peek at the series some day, though there’s still so much else I’d rather watch first. (Haylookit, Good Omens is out on DVD.)
Did he handwrite Fall? I can’t get through the ones Stephenson wrote in longhand. The typed ones, though, I like those. You do have to be patient enough, though, to read three solid pages about how a bicycle chain works.
First time I tried reading Lord of the Rings I didn’t even finish Fellowship. It’s a pretty slow start, them faffing about the Shire for far too long. A couple years later I went back and committed and didn’t regret it. One of these days I’ll grab em all for another re-read and go for the trifecta (by which I mean The Hobbit --> Silmarillion, not the three volumes of LotR).
Tried starting Wheel of Time twice, couldn’t get halfway through the first book. Don’t think I’ll bother again.
Anyhow, it’s pretty unusual for me to not finish a book or series, but I’m more willing to these days.
I loved Dune but getting through the next few books in the series was a torturous slog for me until I finally gave up.
One book on the list, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is just about my favorite book of all time, I really enjoyed it a lot.
Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a wonderful book, but I can understand why it’s on the list, it was a slog.
For me, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco was a really difficult read at times, I had to work at it to finish. And I love Toni Morrison’s books, but some of them were a really challenging read and I might have abandoned one or two.
Thanks for that, I was mildly interested to read it. No longer.
Life is too short, and there are too many books, to read any that I don’t love.
I gave up on Casual Vacancy and Book Thief.