Monday, October 1, 2012

Fifty shades of books I couldn't finish.

 I often wonder about books I've tried  to read but couldn't and what that says about me as a reader.

So hit me, I'm a philistine, but reading Ulysses felt a bit like pushing boulder up a hill.  After all the effort, the boulder rolled back down and I was back where I started.

Well, I did try. Laboured. Swam my way through all Tolstoy's dense, tortuous detail of family trees and character background and surrendered after the second chapter.

The Master

I know, I know. He's a fellow countryman AND  still alive. But Colm Toibin's take on the writer Henry James was just too tedious. And I did go at least halfway.

Front Cover

I loved "How to Live " by Sarah Bakewell, which beautifully encapsulated the essence of Michel De Montaigne's wisdom in three hundred efficient pages. But when it came to Montaigne's ACTUAL essays, I could barely even lift the twelve hundred page tome, let alone read it. I suppose that just exposes me as someone who wants all the pleasure in as condensed a way as possible.


I suspect that a lot of people will have their own "Fifty Shades" story that sums up the essence of how this unavoidable, trendsetting phenomenon touched them (no pun intended).
I did try. Very much in a what's-the-heck-is-all-the-fuss-about-anyway sort of way. A friend (you know who you are if you are reading this) bought it for me. I opened it somewhere in the middle (is that not how you're supposed to read saucy books?) and Ana was outlining in great detail, "oh my" et cetera, how she was unable to sit down at her desk at work, so energetic were her sexual gymnastics the night before with Christian. Somehow,  I couldn't go on. What does that say about me?
I brought it back to the supermarket and exchanged it with a highly amused shop assistant for a bottle of wine.

What books were you not able to finish?