Books I never finished reading

21:31, Sep 19 2013

Confession booth moment: I never finished The Catcher in the Rye. At least, not in a linear fashion. I got bored with Holden Caulfield as the protagonist. I get that he's meant to define the malaise of a generation, but his self-obsessed prattle drove me mad. So I skipped large parts in the middle and went right to the end.

I also did the same thing with, well, all of James Joyce's work. Cliff's Notes and a lot of ingenious research - I swear, reading around the works of some authors can be far more fascinating than the actual book - got me through some of the reading list for my BA. 

Though to be honest, I did read most of the assigned books. I don't mean to paint myself as some kind of literary renegade, rebelling against my professors by weaselling my way out of doing actual work. I was kind of a goody-goody during my undergrad years. Kind of.

If we're talking about book series, I never finished Wheel of Time, which is something I still regret - yet, to be honest, I'll probably never pick them up again.

And ooooh, I am terribly ashamed of this next never-finished tome, but I couldn't get through Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman. This was despite the fact that I love almost every word she has ever written. Except for The Edible Woman. Clearly.

When I think of all the books I've started but never finished, there isn't any pattern I can see. They cross all genres, from literary to trash, from the latest crime thriller to Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand sucks). The most recent book I couldn't bring myself to finish was Days of Blood and Starlight. This was a disappointment, after I had so enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone. But I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the books you find boring can arrive in many different shapes and forms.


The missing X-factor that causes me to stop reading a book is because...well, because the story doesn't have an X-factor. It is sans spice, those little hooks that are so easily found in a well-composed tale, whether it's in a gripping way of storytelling, a thrilling, fast-paced plot, unforgettable characters or language so beautiful you can't stop reading - books I don't finish are lacking one or more of those ingredients.

I realise that many of the books I can't seem to finish reading are probably firm favourites with other people. There is a reader for every kind of tale. Which is the beauty of reading, and what makes it bliss.

What are some of the books you've never finished and why?

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