booksOur friends at Book Riot have another fun booklist up today—Susie Rodarme writes about the 12 books she knows she’s never going to read. From the article:

“Obviously, if I don’t think I’m going to like a book, I won’t put it on my TBR; sometimes, though, there are books that are super-popular and thought very highly of and that look really good that I will unfortunately never get around to reading. And sometimes? Even though the books and I match on paper (heh), I just don’t want to read them, for reasons. Maybe irrational reasons. Probably irrational reasons.”

She thing goes on to enumerate 12 books in her collection that she just knows are not going to happen for her. Don’t we all have such a list? Here are my ‘books I am never going to read.’ Share yours in the comments!

1) [easyazon-link asin=”0544003411″ locale=”us”]The Lord of the Rings[/easyazon-link]. I agree with Rodarme on this one. People rave about it, it sounds like a cool read, and was a pioneer in its genre. I just can’t get into it though. Every time I have tried, I have bailed after the first chapter or so.

2) [easyazon-link asin=”0312370849″ locale=”us”]Sarah’s Key[/easyazon-link] by Tatiana de Rosnay. I got as far as what I presume to the big plot event in this Holocaust story before bailing because it was too depressing. I’m sure I would have nightmares if I finished this one.

3) [easyazon-link asin=”1499529473″ locale=”us”]Middlemarch[/easyazon-link] by George Eliot. I had a favourite professor in university who once told me this book was the single greatest novel ever written. It just didn’t do it for me and I bailed after less than 20 pages. I periodically feel like I should try again, but I always find something else to read.

4) The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. Another which has been tried, and abandoned, multiple times. It’s one of the few Christies which has gone into the public domain, so I suppose that is why I picked it up. But when I do Christie, it seems I can only manage the Miss Marple ones. Hercule Poirot’s first case never seems to hold my attention.

5) Shakespeare’s Histories. I love Shakespeare, and have read most of the comedies and tragedies. But I can’t seem to wrap my head around the histories. They all have such similar names, I can’t keep straight which one is which, and I don’t yet know enough about the actual historical events he wrote about to use that as a guideline. No more Richards and Henrys for me!

6) The novels of Cory Doctorow. I read his blog, and I enjoy his short stories, but big novels always seem one level above my technological comfort level as a ‘sci-fi light’ reader. I have read one or two of them and just don’t enjoy them. I don’t think I will read any more of them.

7) [easyazon-link asin=”0060529709″ locale=”us”]Everything Is Illuminated[/easyazon-link] by Jonathan Safran Foer. I have probably loaded this one onto my reader half a dozen times, tried the first chapter or two and marvelled at the cleverness, then failed to go back and read more. I don’t know why. For whatever reason, this book just doesn’t seem to ‘take’ with me.

8) [easyazon-link asin=”140003065X” locale=”us”]A Fine Balance[/easyazon-link] by Rohinton Mistry. The Beloved’s mother loves books set in India, and this book is an award-winner in Canada, was picked by Oprah and is Very Famous for a Canadian book. But…it’s so long! It’s sooooo long! I always pass it by on my Kindle list figuring I’ll go back to it once I catch up on my backlog a little, and then that never seems to happen.

9) [easyazon-link asin=”0061374989″ locale=”us”]Jewish Literacy[/easyazon-link] by Joseph Telushkin. I am greatly enjoying one of Telushkin’s other books this year, but this one is just so dry to me. He tries to summarize, in chronological order, every facet of Judaism, from the holy books to more modern history. It’s just so plodding and dull. I can’t explain it. I have tried three times to read it, even to read it as just one chapter a day and get through it for the knowledge, but I can’t do it. I dread opening this one up and have never gotten past the Bible chapters.

10) The Canterbury Tales. I have the very nice modern translation by Peter Ackroyd, and it hasn’t helped. I have yet to make it past the prologue.

So those are my top ten. What books are you share you will never finish?

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  1. 1) Harry Potter: I read the first four titles for a book group; dull and oblivious for the most part, but not truly bad, yet I couldn’t get interested in the story of the good little boy wizard fighting the machinations of the naughty, bad, wicked, EVIL wizard.
    2) The Hunger Games Trilogy: I read the first for a book group – bad writing, cardboard characters, shoddy world building, derivative plot, cornball romance, deus ex machina, and more. Why read more of this turkey.
    3) Twilight Trilogy It sounds too stupid to even attempt a reading.
    4) Divergent Trilogy: Same as Twilight.
    5) Honor Harrington Series: I read the first five or six books. Or did I read the same book five or six times. With Webber it’s hard to tell.
    6) The Dresden Files: Same as Webber but I got clued in at book two.

    I’ll stop there.

  2. –“Pride and Prejudice” or anything else by Jane Austen. I tried “Pride and Prejudice” but couldn’t get past the first chapter.

    –“Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie. I’ve always loved Christie’s books, with Miss Marple my favorite character. I’ve tried this book several times and never get past the first few pages. It will remain the only unread Christie for me. I actually liked “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”—go figure.

    –“Seabiscuit” by Laura Hillenbrand—(set aside at the 1/3 point) Hillenbrand is an excellent author (“Unbroken” is a fantastic book) and I do think she can spin a tale. However, I totally love the movie that is based on this book and so the book, for me, bogged down in what I found to be useless and mundane details. The movie had such a good pace, and the book was so slow and it became boring and a chore to read. After spending 4 weeks and reaching only page 184 out of 523 pages (that’s around 6 pages a day!), I gave it up. I should have given it up earlier, but I kept thinking it had to get better.

    –“Dune” by Frank Herbert. I remember my hubby struggling through this book, and how he had to make character lists and such. Yeesh. The movie is complicated enough. I’m not going to bother tackling the 600+ pages in this book.

  3. Quote: “1) The Lord of the Rings. I agree with Rodarme on this one. People rave about it, it sounds like a cool read, and was a pioneer in its genre. I just can’t get into it though. Every time I have tried, I have bailed after the first chapter or so.”

    Your Tolkien friends have given you a bum steer. Tolkien started out writing a sequel to The Hobbit, which is a children’s story. That still lingers in the first chapter. Skip to the second chapter and you’ll find yourself inside a very scary adult tale. Chapter 4 is where the action begins.


    You know what sort of book list would impress me the most? Not books everyone reads. Not books I ought to read. Certainly not bestsellers.

    No, the very best books are those we wish we could totally forget so we could read them again “for the first time.”

    For many, the Sherlock Holmes tales are like that. We love reading them again but hate the fact that we know the ending. The same is true of The Lord of the Rings, although it’s complexity allows readers to look for details in later readings.

    And there’s a marvelous 1904 sailboat, international intrigue thriller called The Riddle of the Sands. I’ve read it several times before, so I know what that riddle is. But this time, I listening to it as an audio book, for the difference that makes.

    But I really, really wish I could read it again for the first time. “The book enjoyed immense popularity in the years before World War I and was extremely influential. Winston Churchill later credited it as a major reason that the Admiralty decided to establish naval bases at Invergordon, the Firth of Forth and Scapa Flow.”

    The book changed history.

    –Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien

  4. Last year I would have had Moby Dick on my list. It was a book that I saw my friends reading in school and it was always spoken of as the great American novel. When I tried to read it in my late teens I found it wasn’t what I expected and I couldn’t get into it. I hated to abandon a book though and there was a new book that came out I really wanted to read. I made a deal with myself that I’d give up on Moby Dick but I would read it before I died. For years I would look at it but I could never start. Earlier this year I finally took it on and enjoyed it. I wouldn’t rave about it but I’m glad I read it.

    In general I get that there are some books I love that some people have no interest in, I’m one of those people that used to read Lord of the Rings once a year and I have family and friends that always saw me reading it and thought they should to. Often they just couldn’t get into it. It didn’t bother me that they didn’t like it as much as it bothered me that they thought they should like it.

    A Fine Balance was a great book and is a book that tore at raw emotions. Out of your list I would encourage you to give that a try. I’ve read many longer books with fewer words and pages.

  5. Atlas Shrugged. I have tried this one two or three times over a period of 40 years and just can’t get past the first 30 pages. Absolutely turgid prose that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

    On the other hand, Journey to Ixtlan is one I tried to read when I was young but never got far. I picked it up again at 50 and loved it.

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