Giving up on a book

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...

English: Stack of books in Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know why, but I feel a little dirty when I give up on a book. Recently I finally picked up my second hand copy of Dune and tried to read it. I got about a third of the way through and then couldn’t bring myself to keep going. This is supposed to be one of the masterpieces, one of the must reads of the genre. Yet I was bored. Don’t get me wrong, I can see its merit, and understand why it is a classic. but I decided that I only have one lifetime to get through my unimaginably high reading pile.

A few weeks later I still feel like I cheated on my high school exams. Why? It’s not like Frank Herbert is going to be at my next office party, leading to that whole awkward, “Oh yeah, still haven’t quite finished your book.” conversation. Well if he did show up it would be a sure sign of the Zombie apocalypse anyhow.

I know that this is a common theme with some of the classics out there. Writing changes over time and oft you can read a book from a few decades ago and feel like a drill is slowly twisting into your eyeballs. This is an inevitable thing (Not the drilling…the changing writing styles). I always use Shakespeare as an example. Most people have to study his works to really appreciate them. I myself never studied a lot of it and get lost in his works. However he will always be a master of the art.

At times I have powered through a book I did not want to read and regretted it at the end. So what is the best thing to do? Keep reading and hope that at some point the light bulb turns on and you see what it is that you have been missing this whole time. Or move on to the next book and pat yourself on the back for giving it a try.

What books have other people struggled to get through?

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3 thoughts on “Giving up on a book

  1. I’ve given up on a few classics, because like you said, they’re from a different time and unless you put in the time and effort to understand them properly, it’s easy to just get lost in them. In terms of modern books, I had to give up on Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I got about a third of the way through before I realized it just wasn’t for me. I’m not a fan of mysteries to begin with, and when pretty much nothing happened for the first third … I just couldn’t bring myself to read any more. My friends are really annoyed with me, because apparently things pick up quickly after that, but … it’s just not for me, I’m afraid!

      • And that’s the thing. I knew going in that the first third was supposed to be a slog, and I did try to get through it … I just couldn’t. The other problem is that I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy lover … other genres really hold very little interest for me. I gave it a shot because I’d heard it was fantastic, but the boring opening combined with the genre have led me to abandon my reading attempts. I might watch the movie and see how it ends … and that might motivate me to try it again … but I doubt it.

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