The Books You Should But Just Couldn't...

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Gatteau

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Everything by Shakespeare. I've seen a few Shakespeare plays and I was even in the school production of A Midsummer Nights Dream (playing the guitar, not acting) but I really don't have any particular desire to read them. Even when I did GCSE English lit I didn't actually read the text*, I watched the play and chose questions that dealt with the plot or overall themes that didn't require detailed analysis of any section of the script. And as much as I'd happily watch a Shakespeare play, I still don't really want to read any.
While I do like reading them almost as much as watching, I think this is actually a valid way to feel. They were meant to be seen on the stage, not read, after all.

Mine is The Dark Tower series, Stephen King. I struggled through the first two, and I know I started the third, but somehow I just can’t keep going. Not entirely sure what it is, I so want to make it through, I really like quite a few of his other books, I like his style overall, but this one just refuses to stick with me. It doesn’t help that my main book-talk friend is obsessed and has been trying to get me to finish them for almost half our lives. Just...can’t...do it!
 

Drascus

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Finnegan's Wake. I love Joyce's short stories but I could not do that one.

That one might be cheating though, it's a notoriously hard to get into book.

The Way of Kings is another one that just did not grab me. After 3 prologues I had no rooting interest whatsoever in the protagonist.
 
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writergirl1994

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'Flowers for Algernon.' It was a good book from what I read but it was so depressing I started to dread going back to it.
 

averyames

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I had an English teacher in high school who was absolutely determined to get me to appreciate John Steinbeck and I could just never get interested in his work at all.
 

Catriona Grace

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My challenge book is "A Confederacy of Dunces." I've read the doggone thing twice; so many people adore it that I thought perhaps I missed something the first time around. The second read was after I'd spent enough time in New Orleans to actually recognize the story's settings and references, which I thought might increase my enjoyment.

I really, really WANT to like it, but there's something about it that just doesn't resonate with me. It makes me a bit sad that I don't get the enjoyment from it that others do.
I forced my way through it once and it was worth the effort when all the loose ends came together at the end. But even knowing and appreciating that, can I manage to read it a second time? Nope.
 
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Catriona Grace

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Okay, I'm going to admit it. Tolkien bores the hell out of me. The Hobbit was okay, and I made it about a quarter of the way into the first book of the trilogy by reading it while my baby son napped. We'd go on drives in the summer, and when he fell asleep, I'd park in the shade and read Fellowship of the Ring which I kept in the truck for that exact purpose. Winter came, drives ended, book stayed in the truck. At some point, I picked it up, tried to continue, tried starting from the beginning, and just could not care about it.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I like Tazlima's pitching Moby Dick as a documentary. I enjoyed it when it was required in college, but it never occurred to me to expect it to be a narrative. I saw it more as an allegory told as a series of essays about whaling, and it worked well that way.

But --- laugh if you like --- I fled in terror from Watership Down. I tried to read it this year. I may try it again, but not anytime soon.

And then there's Emma. While I loved Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park, and can tolerate Persuasion if I must (though I think it's deeply flawed and I don't believe the main character's feelings one bit), Emma was such and awful excuse for a human being I had no desire to read more than a few pages.

Shakespeare's fine, but I've learned to only attempt to read his plays I've seen performed. And I only read annotated versions of the originals. No modern translations. Nothing without annotations.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 
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Taylor Harbin

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The old audio version of Dune which sounded like it was done in the late 80's. Absolutely awful. I hear there's a "new" version available, from 2007, which is far better, but I've never gone back to it.
The version narrated by Simon Vance and a full cast is outstanding.
 

Maryn

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I gave Watership Down two tries several years apart before I donated the hardcover. I hope it finds an appreciative reader.

I've been intending to reread Dune before the movie comes out. I read it so long ago I barely remember it. We have a car trip coming up in a few months (unless it cancels again like it did last year) and an audio version might be just the ticket. Good to have a recommendation.

Mine is City on Fire. It got great reviews, and the story sounded interesting, but any book that forces me (a person with a respectable vocabulary) to keep a pretty long list of words to look up just wears me out. Ephebe, noumena, horripilate, etiolate, florilegia, plashing, bosk, spaldeen (Hell, yes, I kept a list!)--it was just too much.

I forced myself to read (and add to my list of words to learn) and made it past 200 pages. It's just not for me, or anyone else who only has a BA in English. I looked up all those words, and many more, but cannot tell you now what a single one means.

Maryn, who reads literary fiction on occasion
 
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J.W.

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Infinite Jest. I like DFW's essays, but I could never get into his fiction.

It's been a dozen years since I got to the midway point of Infinite. If I give it another try, I should probably start from the beginning, but I'm tempted to pick up from where I left off. The top corner of the page is still folded inward.