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FirelightSpirit

Just Abandoned

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I can only remember giving up on two books, Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim because I just couldn't get into it and Christopher Paolini's Eragon because I found it exceptionally tedious.

 

I just wondered if any of you abandoned books and what would make you do so, or do you grit your teeth and plough through till the end?

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I've given up on a few:

 

Anna Karenina about 500 pages in - so long ago I can't remember why but in retrospect I find it slightly suprising as I was over half way through.

The Illiad about 30 pages in since all it seemed to be doing was listing a bunch of names and I lost the ability to concentrate on it. When getting the vacuum cleaner out looks an interesting option it's time to move on.

Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman) as I simply wasn't in the mood for short stories. Odd as I am normally a huge fan of Gaiman's writing.

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I've never yet given up on a book. Even those where I've desperately longed for the end to arrive. Not sure why I can't seem to do it.

 

I think my stubborn streak probably has a lot to do with it!

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I quite regularly give up on books, sometimes it's just not the right time for me to read it. I can usually tell within the first page or so! And generally speaking I go back to these and try them another time.

 

Sometimes I'll give the book a bit longer, especially if I've borrowed it from somewhere else (bookcrossing/library), but will happily stop reading it if I'm not enjoying it by page 50ish. These then get kicked out the door :)

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In the last year I've given up on The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (I'm by no means unique there), The Art of Murder by Jose Carlos Somoza, a crime/thriller which wasn't thrilling at all, Kalooki Nights by Howard Jacobson which had good reviews but didn't do it for me, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault and finally The Secret History by Donna tartt - oh, so boring.

 

I think some of this disengagement is due to me trying to vary my reading matter more and so, as the cliche goes, some you win, some you lose.

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I've never yet given up on a book. Even those where I've desperately longed for the end to arrive. Not sure why I can't seem to do it.

 

I think my stubborn streak probably has a lot to do with it!

I'm the same. I like to finish what I start, but I just couldn't with those two.

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I don't give up on books. Perhaps I share something of the stubborn streak to which Kats honestly admitted, but probably more than anything it's because having started I need to know how it's all resolved, and I could never just turn to the last few pages because then I'd only want to know how it was events had reached that point!

 

I do tend to be a bit selective in my choices, though, opting for books from which I expect to get something rewarding, gleaned from review or recommendation. Perhaps if I were a little more adventurous and went for real wild cards I might find my philospophy tested rather more!

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I can't remember giving up on a book either. In a seperate discussion Momo has commented that she is all to willing to give up on boring books because there are too many other good ones out there. Which in principle I entirely agree with, but...

 

I just can't give up on a book that I have chosen. Before BGO I rarely took advice on my choices of books. This means if I was reading something boring it was my own stupid fault and as a punishement I would finish it. This has just stuck, to the piont that last year I struggled through The Little Friend - Donna Tart. Sooooo DULL.

 

The way I look at it with books, as with life, is you learn from your mistakes. So I always carry on in a vain hope that I'll get something from it. Now, at the very least, if I read a dud at least I get to write a scathing review here.

 

Or maybe I'm just a very optimistic person... (I must be I'm a Spurs fan.) :)

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I can only remember giving up on two books, Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim because I just couldn't get into it and Christopher Paolini's Eragon because I found it exceptionally tedious.

 

FirelightSpirit, I was totally defeated by Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. I could understand each word in turn, it was the way they hung together that did not make any sense. I had to read each sentence three times which made me lose the thread completely :o It sits on my bookshelf daring me to try again.

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I'll probably abandon a few books a year, I usually read aroud 50 pages and then decide. I could not get on with Cloud Atlas - but will go back to it. Sometimes it is just simply the mood I'm in, maybe I need something lighter.

 

I never give up on books that people lend me or that are for book group reads, thats how come I ended up suffering The Accidental last year

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Sometimes it is just simply the mood I'm in, maybe I need something lighter.

I've certainly done that. If I'm not in the mood for a book then it's my fault, not the book's, so I'll return to it at a later date. Did that last year with Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and thoroughly enjoyed it when I gave it a second go.

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I give up on books all the time. If by page 100 or so it hasn't captured my attention, then I usually move on.

Often it's just because I've not been in the right mood or have spent insufficient time in one go to get into the book. I've moved on from loads of books that are probably great - A Star Called Henry, The People's Act of Love, The Blind Assassin ...

But it's my own time. Why spend it reading something I'm not enjoying, when there are so many books that I will love?

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Ah, so there is a distinction between giving up and laying aside.

 

I pause in the middle of plenty of books, if by page 50 I'm not hooked I'll give it a week of so then plough on.

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I give up on quite a few books. I don't see the point in reading a book I'm not enjoying when the shelf is bulging with other temptations. I do find that I have phases where I cast aside quite a few books in quick succession, which is clearly more down to my stroppy mood than anything else.

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There was a time when I would plough on regardless, although in those days my reading was so 'light' that there was rarely a time when finishing a book was a problem.

When I started belonging to reading groups, it became a point of honour to read the books that had been chosen, and to participate in the discussions. Recently, however, I have allowed myself to abandon books that I am struggling with.

If I am avoiding picking a book up for days on end, or reading no more than a page before putting it down and going to sleep, I start thinking of all the books I want to be reading that are piled up waiting, and all the ones being written that I am never going to get to read.

At my age there are definitely too many books and not enough time, and I don't want to waste good reading time on stuff I don't enjoy.

 

Books I've put aside, but remain on the TBR pile!

Skallagrig by William Horwood

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

 

Book group books that I've abandoned since the start of the century

The Women's Room by Marilyn French

The Lost Heart Of Asia by Colin Thubron

Jinnie by Josephine Cox

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford

The Magical Maze by Ian Stewart

Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz

 

(an average of one per year isn't bad)

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I just can't give up on a book that I have chosen....This means if I was reading something boring it was my own stupid fault and as a punishement I would finish it.

I feel the same way. I have faith in my ability to pick a good book and if it turns out to be rubbish I tend to grit my teeth and read to the end anyway and know better next time.

 

Brightphoebus, I think it must be catching! Conrad is difficult, but I think I remember enjoying Heart of Darkness, probably because it was short!

 

Meg, I'd recommend The Women's Room, though it is a bit dated now.

 

Since writing the original post, I've remembered that I did lay aside Sense and Sensibility at one time, but have read it since. Same with To Kill a Mockingbird. I also abandoned Wuthering Heights and Anna Karenina a page or two in, but with WH, I think I was too young to understand it. They're both on my list to read. I may even try Lord Jim again, but there's no hope for Eragon.

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Krey is right, I have said that life is too short to spend time on boring books. I have given up books in the past, usually the "easy reads", I just don't start those kind of books any more.

However, there are books I wouldn't mind giving up and still carry on. That's the books I read for my RL book club, I run it and somehow I feel obliged to read them. However, not everyone does and I am sure they would forgive me if I didn't once in a while.

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I thought it might be an idea for us to have a thread where we can mention the books we have just abandoned for whatever reason, even if you intend to pick it up again at a later date. It'll be good for us to say why we are abandoning it and maybe prompt some other BGO members to urge you to carry on.

 

After all, that's what happened to me with Atonement a while ago. I abandoned it just at Briony's play and David urged me to give it another go later, which I did, and it is now one of my favorite books - to think I may have never picked it up again.

 

So, I have just abandoned, not for good, Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite. Try as I might I just can't get into it, but there's a spark there that will make me want to read it at a later date. So back to the shelves it goes for a while.

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I have recently abandoned The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I didn't really find it all that good. The random Spanish phrases and such were a bit of an annoyance, as I don't understand them. The footnotes, while interesting (in fact, I think I find them more interesting than the actual story) are rather plentiful. I may at a later date continue it, but at the moment I have books that I actually have motivation to read.

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I like the idea for this thread Hazel.

 

For me the book I abandoned and keep meaning to pick up again is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I started it because I intended doing a module for my degree on Post Colonial Literature; then found it clashed with my schedule and chose something else.

 

I didn't find it an easy read (got to page 170) but keep thinking I ought to read it because I had got so far.

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I didn't find it an easy read

'Difficulty generates meaning. It makes the reader work harder.'
(Robyn Penrose in David Lodge's Nice Work.)

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Yep, good idea for a thread - I often abandon books, and did so with several in a row over Easter:

The Cellist of Sarajevo - read more like a history lesson than a novel

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite - didn't like the style

Inkheart - got a bit bored, but one of my pupils assures me it was the boring bit and it picks up, so I may return to it.

I think I was just in an impatient phase.

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An interesting idea for a thread, although I doubt whether, unless I know them in person and respect their judgement/taste, I'm likely to be persauded to pick up any book that has bored me senseless. I've had enough of Rushdie, for example and, after hearing it discussed on radio, made the mistake of buying Shalimar the Clown Another case of the discussion being more rewarding than the book. Now someone's going to tell me, 'I just loved that book,' but I will never re-open it; it stays like a jewel on my shelf and is too precious to open ever again, its many secrets left unexplored, its beautiful prose forever speaking to the desert air.

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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is the one that I most recently postponed. I found it boring and too repetitively factmongering with no story to grab me and keep me reading.

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