What Book Can't You "Get Through"?

OK for the umpteenth time, I tired to read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath but I can’t do it. It’s BORING!!! I hate it!!! I can’t make it through the third chapter. I even tried it as a book on tape.

I know it’s supposed to be a great novel, so I want to read it but I can’t. It’s dull and boring. At least the first two chapters are.

I figured if I could make it through Jonathan Franzen’s, The Corrections I could get through anything, but not the Grapes of Wrath

So my question is, are there any books (or movies or what-have-you) that you know are supposed to be good or classic, and you’d like to read but just can’t seem to get through or even get a good start on?

I’m sure I’m going to get hate for this but I can’t finish any of The Lord of the Ring books. I think they’re incredibly boring. This is coming from a guy who loves to read.

*Ulysses *by James Joyce. Perhaps I am not well educaterd enough for it, but it is so random and pointless.

*Frankenstein *by Mary Shelley. I can muddle through to about the same part each time I attempt it, but when Frankenstein confronts his Creation, and the Creature lectures him endlessly, damn… I mean it’s almost as if the book was written by a precocious seventeen-year-old whose parents felt that political hectoring was proper dinner conversation.

The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein. I’ve owned this thing since it was first published, he’s one of my favorite authors, and this is clearly the worst book ever published or something because despite over 20 attempts I’ve yet to make it past the 200 page mark. Srsly, this book sucks. I can’t for the life of me figure out how such a great writer produced such magnificently banal prose (or why he allowed it to be published).

The Bible. I tried several times when I was much younger and burned out when it got to the Begats section.

I’ve never tried the dictionary for a cover-to-cover approach, and I’m sure there are some words I haven’t looked up, too.

There are too many works of fiction I started and just set aside after as little as a few pages.

The deepest I got into one before tossing it aside was either Lady by Tom Tryon or The Shining by Stephen King. Both thoroughly pissed me off enough that I was a year or better before trying any other fiction.

The only book I “couldn’t put down” was The Exorcist. Scared the living bejesus out of me, too.

You should get a more recent translation and you should really view each book as its own, book. Skip the boring books that are early on and get to the good stuff later.

I read a lot, but if a book doesn’t hook me right away, I stop reading it. Too many great books out there waiting, no sense slogging through anything I don’t love.

One of the books I was very surprised not to love was Jonathan Strange & Dr. Norrell. It seemed perfect for me (I even love footnotes!), but I just couldn’t finish it.

“Atlas Shrugged.” I have attempted to read it 3 times now. I get to that 3-hour radio address by John Galt somewhere in the middle and I just cannot get through it. I wind up skipping it and picking up once it’s over. But I have yet to read “Atlas Shrugged” from cover to cover without skipping that part.

I will read and finish damn near any book, but whoever told Sue Grafton she could write was a sociopath.

It took me about 4 or 5 tries, but I finally got through The Fountainhead. What helped me in the end was a cross-country plane trip…I probably read 3/4 of the book while in flight.

Currently, my issue is with Le Morte d’Arthur. I’m a big fan of the Arthurian legend, so I thought it would be interesting to read the ‘original’ story*. But I’ve never made it more than about halfway through, though I do seem to make it farther and farther each time I try…

  • I know it’s not actually ‘original’, being largely a retelling of older French and English stories, but it forms the foundation for most modern Arthur tales, and is the oldest such work that is readily available to the average reader.

I skipped that part too. I kept looking for some kind of reaction description or taking a breath or a water break, but it keeps going on and on.

The Grapes of Wrath certainly did suck. What was up with that damn turtle?

I love to read, but the number of books that I won’t finish are too many to list here.

If you really want to read this, try getting the Readers Digest version of the bible. Yes it’s condensed but once you get through the Reader’s Digest version (and it is interesting) you can go back and read the Bible properly because it’ll make more sense.

But then again the Bible is many books not really just one. There are some books that aren’t nearly as good as the others

I’ve tried to read Moby Dick three times. Can’t do it. I can’t get through the Lord of the Rings either, but I loved the movies. Didn’t finish Catcher in the Rye.

I’m one of what I am sure is many, many, many people who could not get through fucking Ulysses. I got to page 400, put it down for the night, and never picked it up again. The realization that I didn’t actually have to finish it (it wasn’t for a class) was very freeing.

I’m not entirely convinced that James Joyce wasn’t some kind of early literary performance artist playing a prank on the reading public.

Another vote for The Lord of the Rings.

Got through the FotR no problem. Got through the Two Towers no problem. Started RotK. Whoa. We’d just been with Sam and Frodo and Gollum and it was interesting, adventurous, all that good stuff. Suddenly, we’re back with Aragorn and Merrie and Pippen and NOTHING IS HAPPENING. I give up less than halfway through.

Two years later I try again. Same deal.

I still don’t know what happens at the end.

The butler did it.

No hate from me, bro. I love LOTR, but I’m the first to say that the dialogue is wooden and flat. Man spent too much time reading the Norse eddas.

I can’t get through Watchmen. It’s just boring, to me.

I’ve read a lot of the books already mentioned - some several times - but the one I can’t seem to finish is Gravity’s Rainbow. Tried twice, failed twice. It’s interesting enough, but after a certain point, I can’t keep track of what’s supposed to be going on and I get frustrated.

I couldn’t get through Les Miserables. Got about a quarter of the way, but no more. I love the musical but the book just has so much detail it’s overwhelming.

Oddly, I was able to finish, and ending up liking, The Grapes of Wrath. But I had to force myself to get through about half of it before it really started getting interesting.