Books you TRIED to read in 2015

The best example for me was “The Boys In The Boat”. I tried to read the original book, and gave up about 1/3 of the way through when I realized that I knew how the story ended, and the story of the boat’s design and construction wasn’t as interesting to me as it must have been to the author. :rolleyes: When I found out a junior version existed, “for younger readers”, I tried to read that - and couldn’t finish it either, for the same reason.

Anyone else have their own picks?

I kind of ran out of steam reading Wicked. The magical world of Oz, in Gregory Maguire’s hands, becomes some horrible combination of Methodist dustbowl Kansas and totalitarian Russia. All the characters, including the protagonist, are either unpleasant, unsympathetic, vacuous, or just plain humorless ciphers. And no one in the book seems to have any particular goals, so there’s no actual plot – it’s all setting up the stage for Dorothy’s arrival which is the point at which I lost interest. I guess they made a decent musical out of the book, but I’m kind of at a loss to see how.

I totally gave up on Don Quixote a few hundred pages in. It got boring and repetitive.
I’ve mostly given up on The Paying Guests. Between books I’ve gone back and read another chapter here and there but it just isn’t holding my interest. Part of the problem is there’s almost too much detail so the author (Sarah Waters) is taking way too long to get to the point. Like other books with similar problems, it’s fine to do that here and there, but you don’t have to do it for everything. A reader shouldn’t finish a book and say ‘well, that should have been at least a hundred pages shorter’. (WRT boring details meant to immerse you in the world that just turn into tedium)
Secondly, somewhere along the line I picked up what I think was a minor spoiler. Maybe it’s a big spoiler, maybe it’s not a spoiler, I don’t know, but, less then halfway through the book and they’re really just starting to get to that. So that might be on me, that I’ve been anticipating it. OTOH, if it’s what the book is about, well, then the first half(ish) was kind of pointless and could have been been, say, 50-100 pages instead of 250, just something to set up the main story.

Searching the Amazon reviews for ‘gave up’ or ‘boring’ tells me I’m not the only one who felt this way. It also tells me that most of the action is in the second half, but I’m not sure I went to read hundred or more pages to get there to find out if it’s worth it.

I read The Paying Guests through sheer force. I think. Maybe I finished, maybe not. I could not speak to the action in the second half being more compelling, at any rate.

But I gave up on Jane Smiley’s Early Warning because…there were just too many characters, I couldn’t keep them straight, I give up. I did kind of speed-read to get the gist, but since I couldn’t keep the characters straight the gist made no sense anyway.

I didn’t get 15 pages into The Bone Clocks is a novel by David Mitchell before deciding I hated Holly and wouldn’t be happy if she didn’t die in a fire.

Pepper Mill and MilliCal both gave up trying to read Wicked. I’m the only one in our house who succeeded.

The musical threw out a lot of what’s in the book, condensed characters, and gave it all a happy ending.

as for me, my “tried to read” is still the Koran, but I haven’t given up on it yet. I’ve even picked up another translation, the recommended Pickthall translation.

I tried to like the first C.J. Box novel I ever read (“Blood Trail”) but started fast-forwarding near the end.

Turned out the plot was very similar to the first of Craig Johnson’s Longmire novels (“The Cold Dish”).

And there’s another series featuring an out-of-control game warden (by Paul Doiron) that isn’t quite as implausible as the stuff featuring Box’s hero.

Yet another attempt to find a decent detective/mystery series falls flat.

I gave up on two books that I can recall. The first was Aftermath. The first of the “bridge” novels between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. I was really excited to start it but I found the writing style off putting, the story barely interesting and then I found out t was actually the start of a trilogy (which the book didn’t make clear) and I was like, “I’m done.”

I love Patton Oswalt’s comedy (and loved his first book). I also love movies, but for some reason I put down his book about Movies and never picked it back up. I might go back to it at some point.

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. Third time I’ve tried. Conrad in general puts me to sleep. Took me two tries to read Lord Jim and three to read Heart of Darkness.

The Sword of Shannara. Sorry, everybody. I found the opening scene dead boring, and something about Brooks’ prose makes it difficult for me to parse his sentences, which continually threw me out of the not-worthwhile narrative. Shelved. I didn’t love Tolkein *that *much.

Newes of the Dead by Mary Hooper. As soon as I figured out it really *was *a one-dimensional story about a one-dimensional virtuous girl and her one-dimensional male persecutor, I was outta there.

Gone to Earth by Mary Webb. Too bad. After reading Precious Bane–which was this year’s glowing literary discovery–I was excited. It read like a freshman creative writing project, though. Gave up about 20-30 pages in.

In a Cafe Society thread in the past summer – Sevenneves by Neal Stephenson – I posted about having lately then, tried to read the same author’s Quicksilver; and having “found the whole thing just too long and meandering, for my perhaps not very discerning tastes”, and giving up in boredom, about a quarter of the way through the book. A number of posters on that thread told of similar experiences and sentiments of their own with Quicksilver.

Late in 2015, I had a try at another novel, with some observable features in common with Stephenson’s Quicksilver: namely The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth. Was attracted in part by seeing it described as not only a much admired and respected literary achievement; but allegedly, hilariously funny. To be honest – it proved very much the same deal for me, as with Stephenson’s book. Quite charmingly odd and whimsical in its way; but gave rise for me, as far as I got in it, to just the occasional chuckle, and no belly-laughs. And so far as I could make out, the author was just randomly and discursively following his nose from one pointless episode in the hero Ebenezer’s life, to another. I made it till the sequence involving the doings of Eb (still in England) with the “golden-hearted tart”; and tailed-off there – finding it all, predominantly, wearisome. (I had notions of perhaps, after a respite, trying to take the novel up again – it being regarded as such a reverence-worthy modern classic – but can’t just now, find the book in the house: wonder whether I might in fact have said “to hell with it”, and taken it off to the charity shop.)

I cannot help musing on whether there might be some rule, by which novels about the experiences of awkward, goofy, eccentric young men among the higher social echelons of seventeenth-century England, have to be hugely lengthy, wordy, and shapeless, and forever going off prolongedly up whatever assorted cul-de-sac byways into which the author’s whimsy happens to take him. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by too many modern thrillers / mysteries / “comedies of manners” which are tersely written, and move along at a rapid clip…?

(I’m aware that I am sometimes taken to task for, myself, writing in a rambling and over-verbose way; but I’m not a novelist hoping to score fame, fortune, and a huge readership of devoted fans.)

The only book I didn’t finish last year was a shocker for me: Armada by Ernest Cline. i love Ready Player One. I’ve read it about a dozen times, and I’ve read Parzival’s first encounter with Art3mis a dozen more. Just couldn’t get into the new one.

Runes of the Earth - Stephen R Donaldson. I got a couple of hundred pages in, with every character being dragged through their own broken-glass paths of misery and despair, and shelved it. These books are like Million Dollar Baby, except without the rewarding release of death at the end.

I’ve instead gone back to the comparatively cheerful and uplifting worlds of China Mieville to brighten me up. :slight_smile:

I had to read it for my book club and even though I have rowers in my family, it was all a bit much…I now know more about stroke rates than I ever wanted to know. And then, realizing there was only 100 pages left and they hadn’t even GOT to the Olympics yet!

I got some C. S. Lewis collection of…sermons? I don’t remember. It was from the library. I didn’t feel like I had the religious background to fully understand, and I turned it in partially read when it was due.

Once again, I tried to read Atlas Shrugged. I did not get very far. It’s just boring.

This will raise eyebrows, but… The Martian. It was OK for awhile, but just didn’t hold me.

Wow. That rates as one of the best I read last year. Yes, I knew how it would end, but that portion of the book was riveting, nevertheless.

For me, it’s two books, one of which I couldn’t finish:

Travels of Richard and John Lander into the interior of Africa, for the discovery of the course and termination of the Niger From unpublished documents … the hitherto unexplored countries of Africa - Robert Huish : It must be that it was written using exerpts from original exploration diaries, with the original language intact, and with old place names that in many cases were unidentifiable for today’s geography. An interminable (but true) account of the slog through the deserts and wilds of West Africa in search of Timbuktu and the outlet of the Niger River. I normally love books of exploration and hardship, but this was of the “Woke up, ate breakfast, had tea, took a nap” variety.

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson; A perfectly awful murder (non-) mystery. Predictable, clumsy, and stupid, with a (non-) surprise twist ending that a five-year-old could see coming. I only finished it because I paid for it.

I haven’t read it yet, but the reviews seem to be pretty polarized. Either “I couldn’t put it down” or “omg it was just data/details/journal entries, no story, how boring”.

I’m still planning to read it at some point however.

I actually started a thread about this book several years ago.