I apologize if this has been done recently, but I didn’t find anything from the past 3 years via searching.
For some reason last night the thought came to mind of several books which I started reading but never finished, and I wondered how common this is for other people. Obviously I’m not talking about things like required reading for college courses, books whose first page you glanced at but never really sat down with, etc. I’m thinking of instances where I really deliberately set out to read a book cover-to-cover, and at some point quit.
Here’s the list I can think of off the top of my head:
The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A classic of science fiction; my copy has a blurb on the front cover from Robert Heinlein: “Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.” Apparently my high-school-aged self didn’t think so, because after a while I simply stopped caring about the story. What’s unusual about this one is that I made it about 4/5 of the way through yet still didn’t have enough desire to finish it.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. Another SF classic whose story just didn’t pull me in for some reason. I think I got about a third of the way through it before I stopped caring about what happens.
The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. I bought a copy after going off to college as a quiet, studious, wide-eyed kid eager to spend 4 years obtaining a liberal arts education steeped in the Great Classics of Western Civilization, and being disappointed to find seemingly nothing there but frat parties and political correctness instead. My experience with this book was, I hear, quite common among young conservative types: I was engrossed by the first 100 pages or so, with all the apparent denunciations of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, then got lost and put it down once he started talking about Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Weber. I’d especially love to finish this one now that I’d probably be able to understand it better, because I later heard that if you work through the rest of it you learn that he wasn’t at all saying what so many thought he was saying in those first 100 pages.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I became obsessed with the musical in 9th grade, and decided I was going to read the entire, unabridged novel. I got about 200 pages in (out of 1463) and couldn’t follow it anymore. I think my 14-year-old mind just wasn’t big enough to take in the scope of the story yet.
The Source by James Michener. Quitting this one is a bit different from quitting a novel or non-fiction book, since it’s really a collection of short stories or novellas interspersed with brief snippets of a narrative stringing them together. I got through the first 3 or 4, then, seeing as how it was the summer between high school and college, developed other priorities.
So, what are everyone else’s?