Submitted by tiny_purple_Alfador t3_zxl2yi in books

For me it's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, Dune, and We. Like, I dig the concepts of these books, and I've read and loved a lot of things that were inspired by these books, and I think they have interesting histories and places in literature and thought, and I cannot read any of them. I try, and my brain goes "lol, nope, this doesn't vibe" and I end up reading the same page five times and not understanding any of it. I'm usually a prolific reader, too, so it's frustrating. Something about the way the writers write just bounces me right off.



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gravitydefiant t1_j213xd6 wrote

Wolf Hall. I still keep thinking I'll go back to it someday, but I gave it two solid tries and just couldn't.


slowmokomodo t1_j21hmwd wrote

This probably sounds dumb, but try reading it faster. Like as fast as you can read. I struggled with who was being referenced, speaking, etc. And then I started speeding through to see if it got more interesting. Lo and behold, it started making sense, and it's amazing.


pmags3000 t1_j2285wr wrote

Lol, I'm going to try that! I had the same problem as OC


kjb76 t1_j21omiy wrote

The audiobook is fantastic.


crixx93 t1_j212rps wrote

Don Quixote. Some chapters are great, others don't and the whole thing is too long. Also, Im native spanish speaker, but I struggled a lot while reading it because it the spanish from 400+ years is not very approachable for a modern speaker


gnatsaredancing t1_j2176x8 wrote

House of leaves. Never have I seen so much unrealised potential. The house is fascinating and by extension the Navidson records but I couldn't give a toss about Johnny, his mom or anything else the book did besides the house.


Maximum_Poet_8661 t1_j222kuq wrote

Reading that book was an ADHD nightmare for me, the footnotes thing is cool in concept but in execution it might have been the most distracting reading experience I’ve ever had, I could not focus enough to finish it


Icy-Ad2082 t1_j222l3u wrote

I gotta defend this one a bit. I think most people find the Johnny Truant parts of the book to be a slog, but it’s what makes the pacing effective. I couldn’t read this book quickly, I would read a Johnny Section, a house section, and take a break. Yeah, part of me would like to see more happen in the house, and it takes a bit to get really wild. Whenever I describe the book to someone I think would like it, I never give much away about the house, just that “this family is making some renovations to a house and they discover that the house is a tiny bit bigger on the inside than the outside. That’s all I can tell you.” But it’s part of the story that we can’t really have a satisfying answer about the house, it’s an ongoing endeavor. Spending more time their or writing exciting parts that don’t really serve a purpose beyond being exciting would only serve to piss readers off at the ending when we don’t get a satisfying answer about the nature of the house. It woulda been “lost” in book form. But I agree it can be a slog.


gnatsaredancing t1_j22vpkc wrote

I get that completely. It's just that Johnny is an insufferable character. His arc is not just uninteresting, it's so grating that it feels designed to get you to toss the book in a fire.

So it doesn't serve it's purpose at all. It's not a pacing device. It's a killing device. It killed any interest I had in the book.

And even without Johnny, the Navidson records didn't go anywhere. It just sort of set up an interesting premise and left it largely unresolved. Leaving the book with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Tons of potential, entirely unrealised.


ragazza68 t1_j2agliq wrote

Thank you!! That book makes me actively hostile, and I had high hopes for it.


iwanttobreaktree t1_j21im1q wrote

Anything by Cormac McCarthy. The summaries of his books always sound interesting, but I can never get through his prose... I know he gets praised left and right for his style, but to me it's impossible to read.


greengerm t1_j25o9bd wrote

I kind of second that.. i mean ive only read no country for old men and the no quotations definitely annoyed me. I feel like i would have enjoyed if he spent more time writing the dialogue with quotations, and who said what.


falcoholic08 t1_j260ij2 wrote

Thank goodness someone else said McCarthy.

No Country was just a slog that I had to force myself to finish because I thought it might add to the movie.

It didn't.


SonnyCalzone t1_j20yugq wrote

While not a prolific reader per se, I am still very much an avid reader. After having tried Dune a few times over the last 30 years or so, I always end up saying goodbye to it and putting it back down again before I even arrive at page 100. Dune has its fans (and its sequels, and its film adaptations, and its comic books) but I learned that my brain is just not wired for that writing style. I'm still glad that I tried a few times though, which is probably more than many other folks can say.


Defiant_Ingenuity356 t1_j21dta6 wrote

I DNF Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica. Part way through the first part I was getting weary of the book but kept going. I got to the end of the first part and left it a few days cause I couldn’t do it. I almost pushed myself to finished and read a few pages of part two but I couldn’t.


Ok_Chance6676 t1_j222gib wrote

What didn’t you like about it? I’m curious because I also wasn’t a huge fan but somehow managed to finish. The ending sucks, you did not miss much.


Defiant_Ingenuity356 t1_j22c3r3 wrote

The main character was my huge issue. I didn’t like him. I’m not sure I can place why but I know what sealed it was what he did at the end of part one. I’m glad I didn’t miss much.


lanadelrage t1_j22tmqo wrote

I don’t think you were meant to like him… that’s the whole point of the book.


Ok_Chance6676 t1_j22ws3z wrote

I think I agree with what the other person said- I don’t think you are meant to like him. I also don’t think there is anyway to write a likeable main character that works in a slaughterhouse that is killing humans. Maybe it would’ve worked better with a different pov character


Zombie-Cowboy t1_j21yqba wrote

The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. The concept was so interesting, but it was unbearably boring. For a while I kept it my “shame corner” where I put books I don’t like, but I ended up giving it to Half Price Books


riordan2013 t1_j22e5va wrote

I finished this one, but you're right, the execution didn't live up to the concept. Shame.


imnotjossiegrossie t1_j20xnsg wrote

Zen was super tough for me as well. Picked away for two years at it.


tiny_purple_Alfador OP t1_j215ar6 wrote

I hope that it gets a companion reader for it some day, like what you see for older texts or stuff like Ulysses. I feel like I could read it if I had one of those side by side commentary deals.


Sandi_T t1_j211so3 wrote

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

No, sorry. I wish I could. I truly wish I could, but nope. Just not happening.

(Put me on the list for Dune, also... but it's not my greatest DNF regret)


CycleResponsible7328 t1_j21qil1 wrote

This KU urban fantasy book about a meth smoking wizard from the south that lived in a storage garage. If you’re going to write about that kind of addict you need to know how drugs and addiction work. It was painfully obvious the author knew nothing first hand, because he played it all for laughs and it just came off as punching down. If you’ve ever been around tweakers, you know there’s nothing funny about them, at all.


Icy-Ad2082 t1_j21y34c wrote

I got this a lot with N0S4A2, there is a whole sequence about the main character abusing ecstasy and it just screams “I have never had a drug habit / lived adjacent to those who have.” Nothing wrong with that, I think the idea that all great artist are depraved is false and damaging to young people. But it wasn’t at all well researched, and that’s a pretty weird drug to chose for having a regular habit of. It’s characterized that she’s doing ecstasy like a couple times a week, alone and just kinda listening to music in her room. That sounds more like a pot habit, and the whole thing reads like the author felt like a pot habit was too light and a heroin or Xanax habit was too much.


nzfriend33 t1_j21y1nm wrote

This happens to me every now and then and usually it’s just not the right time for me for that book or author.

However, I’ve tried three different Georgette Heyer’s now and quit and think I won’t bother again (just quit the third today. Even tried one of the mysteries to see if that helped since that’s more my thing…). On paper she ticks so many of my boxes that she should work, but over and over… nope. I don’t know if I’m sad about it exactly though - there’s so much else out there.


heytherec17 t1_j21c438 wrote

Verity by Colleen hoover


riordan2013 t1_j22dwgf wrote

I love food and writing, so you'd think I would love food writing (and I'm all over r/suggestmeabook when people want foodie memoirs).

The pioneer of the genre in America is often considered to be M. F. K. Fisher. The Art of Eating nearly put me in a boredom coma. I really wanted to be that person, but none of it made any sense to me.

(Edit: is this a good place to brag that I loathe Vanity Fair, but have finished it twice to make sure? I read it at 15 for a book report, thought it was terrible, and tried again in my 20s to make sure I hadn't missed something. I hadn't.)


PristineBookkeeper40 t1_j22hdjq wrote

The Revenant. I watched the movie and thought maybe there would be some deeper meaning or something I missed beyond the survival/revenge story. I don't think I made it 50 pages in before I put it down and never picked it back up. It's been years since I've watched or read it, and I do think about trying again, but I can't bring myself to do it.


pollyfossil t1_j212wey wrote

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Most of my friends talk about those novels like they had a religious experience, but I really didn't click with them and I'm sorry, because obviously when you do, they're amazing.

Moby Dick. Started reading it in college then got too busy with other work - but I'd actually been really enjoying it. I must try it again.


Ninja_Turtl3 t1_j26cu9a wrote

I found it hard to get through the first half of My Brilliant Friend too, but once past a sudden point (When Elena stops thinking she's always inferior to Lila and starts being more independent), the story really drew me in and I finished the rest if the series in quick succession.


pollyfossil t1_j26eekn wrote

I've been meaning to try it again, so this makes me think I didn't give it long enough and I should try again. Thanks!


sharer_too t1_j23r5uk wrote

I finished My Brilliant Friend, but didn't enjoy it. The first part, about the friend wanting to completely disappear, was the only part I really appreciated.

Have never even attempted Moby Dick, though I should -


CorndogGeneral t1_j21524i wrote

I was very close to DNF Parable of the Sower, it was just so incredibly depressing. I didn’t realize that it would be more of an apocalyptic future sort of book and I would not have read it if I had known that it was. It was good, but I really don’t need to read about how bad climate change could be, it just makes my anxiety skyrocket. I had read Kindred before this one and that was sad as well, but it didn’t affect me like Parable of the Sower did. I think I liked Kindred more, the ending felt more satisfying and definite, the ending of Parable of the Sower was a lot more nebulous.


quattrophile t1_j22pnh0 wrote

I picked this one up after reading its praises on this sub and couldn't finish it either. I just never found any of the characters very likeable and didn't enjoy the writing style at all. I think I gave up about 1/3 of the way in.


LostTheGameOfThrones t1_j2187tr wrote

Vox by Christina Dalcher.

It had a really interesting premise and I do love a good dystopian novel, but by God was the main character just completely insufferabke and unlikeable.


Secty t1_j21b3xy wrote

Seveneves by Stephen Donaldson. Breaks my heart I couldn’t get through it beyond 60-70%…


kweencheez t1_j21yowm wrote

The Secret History - Donna Tartt. I really wanted to get into the whole dark academia atmosphere and all, but the actual plot was not working for me.

The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim. The people I follow on Bookstagram loved it, but I couldn't get through the first ten pages.

I've taken several attempts with these books for the past two to three years, and I'm not sure if I want to try reading them again.


No_Swordfish_2370 t1_j251sgy wrote

Weirdly adored the first 2/3 of The Enchanted April, just not the last part. I would say persevere but you probably won’t on this response!


kweencheez t1_j26uvvv wrote

Maybe I'll try it again some time next year 😊


SevenBushes t1_j220a8e wrote

On the Road. I’m very into the classics and 20th century lit but I’ve tried this one several times both in physical and audiobook formats and can never get past the narrative style. I’m sure it was innovative when it came out but is so plain by today’s standards that I can’t get into it. I know it’s plain bc everyone copied Kerouac’s new format to the point that it’s no longer interesting, so kudos to him for that, but my modern perspective can’t get into it


ColeslawViscount t1_j225arj wrote

The Tale of Genji. I read excerpts in college and loved it, so years later I decided to read it as an intro to Japanese literature. Unfortunately I chose to start with the Royall Tyler version since it’s regarded as the best, but I can’t follow much of what’s going on and gave up about halfway. Maybe someday I’ll start over with a different translation.


tiny_purple_Alfador OP t1_j22hp4v wrote

Oh, I got through this one, but it was WORK. I ended up finding a website that summarized each chapter and explained how it all tied together as well as explaining the cultural references and such, and I alternated reading the chapter and the summary and it helped a LOT.


ColeslawViscount t1_j22ltcp wrote

I admire your tenacity! I tried finding something like that and for some reason I didn’t have any luck except for a few scattered chapters. When I decide to tackle it again I’ll just have to ask this sub for recommendations for a study guide.


OneLongjumping4022 t1_j20x5sm wrote

Anything by Tom Robbins. His endings are heartbreaking. Switters must not die! therefore I must never read the ending of Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.


Icy-Ad2082 t1_j21w5zo wrote

Oh no I’m reading even cowgirls get the blues rn and it’s my first book by him and I’m absolutely loving it. Now I’m scared (nobody spoil anything!)


XandyDory t1_j20zhpq wrote

Hounded by Kevin Hearne. So many people recommended it to me, knowing my love of urban fantasy, yet nope.

Celtic gods, magic sword, supernatural creatures, different religions and their gods all set in a town in Arizona... it's like catnip to me. But nope.

Great writing and great plot but I just didn't like the MC.


Chadmartigan t1_j212c08 wrote

I DNF'd Ulysses on my first couple of attempts. It took a companion copy of Ulysses: Annotated and a whole-ass grad school class for me to follow through.

DNF'd American Gods and I don't know when I'll pick it up again. I prefer novels when I read fiction and as good/weird as it isn't a novel.


McGilla_Gorilla t1_j215pta wrote

Between Two Fires was a fantastic concept for a book (sort of hallucinatory type horror set during the plague years in France) but the prose was painfully bad and the plotting a bit ridiculous.


kjb76 t1_j21ot5u wrote

Dr. Zhivago. It was too long and slow. Loved the movie.


junglelala t1_j22c9z3 wrote

Did you ever watch the mini series? It had Keira Knightley and Sam Neil in it. I really liked it.


kjb76 t1_j22cyiw wrote

No. Never heard of it. The movie is so good I didn’t think it needed remaking.


junglelala t1_j22dbza wrote

Fair enough. I will have to watch the movie!


junglelala t1_j22cadj wrote

Did you ever watch the mini series? It had Keira Knightley and Sam Neil in it. I really liked it.


Artnunymisss t1_j225ypt wrote

I had more than one person tell me that they could not read my memoir because it was nightmare fuel/too sad for them. Even though I wrote the child abuse in vague enough terms to make other reviewers annoyed at the lack of details, several people found it overwhelmingly horrifying and had to DNF. (I Saw The Devil’s Face by Teresa Giglio)


South_Honey2705 t1_j22z73d wrote

Sounds like an interesting book ick not interesting but informative and therapeutic


Artnunymisss t1_j22zn9o wrote

Ick? Lol


South_Honey2705 t1_j22zv2a wrote

I meant in reference to me saying it sounds good though. I swear that people are so trigger happy when it comes to books these days-anything bothers them.


Grace_Alcock t1_j22adu5 wrote

I haven’t been able to read The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I love portal fiction! But the child abuse was just too much. I couldn’t get past it.


Nurokatt t1_j22w9j3 wrote

Have you considered audiobook versions of those books?


tiny_purple_Alfador OP t1_j255ghp wrote

I have, but unfortunately audiobooks do NOT get along with my brain. This is probably a good suggestion for people who are not me.


liquidmica t1_j22zy0f wrote

Middlemarch by George Eliot and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I’ve twice gotten halfway through and just couldn’t go on. My mind kept wandering, the books were taking more than they were giving. It’s an attention issue. I plan to try them again.


youngjeninspats t1_j237nxs wrote

omg. Accelerando by Charles Stross. Love his other books, and have tried like 5 times to read it through. DNFed every time.


ithinkitsbeertime t1_j23zojx wrote

The Three Body Problem. I generally like Sci Fi, it was pretty well acclaimed, and I even liked the bits set during the Cultural Revolution since that's a setting I'm pretty unfamiliar with. But I just didn't care about the story or most of the characters and at some point like 3/4 of the way through I just put it down and never picked it up again.


_MrsBrightside_ t1_j24vbjg wrote

Ruth Ware tends to reel me in just to disappoint me. Either the characters are so boring and woe is me or the story itself doesn’t end up captivating me as I thought it would.


AwkwardLhiannah t1_j24y0wj wrote

Jade City. I love fantasy and everyone suggested this to me. They forgot to tell me it was The Godfather with magic. I couldn't finish. I was sad I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as others have.


ne0_bahamut t1_j28gzu6 wrote

Dune. I have a beautiful physical copy and the audiobook, the audiobook puts me to sleep every time I listen to it


3rdGenDonk t1_j2bz7b2 wrote

Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Twice now, after getting past book five or so, I begin to waver and eventually call it quits.

I've read sections of Apollo and Daphne and all of Daedalus and Icarus in the original Latin in university, so my interest is there. Unfortunately, just as I have lost my knowledge of Latin, I have also lost in my attempts to read a translation of the work as a whole. Maybe someday I'll come back to it.


HomoVulgaris t1_j21twhe wrote

DUNE is very focused on the interior lives of its characters, and thinks it's a LOT smarter than it is. Just like Zen, and to a large degree something like Narnia or LotR, you just have to encounter it at the right age. I can't imagine someone who has never seen the movies starting to read Narnia at age 32.

They're classics, of course, but they definitely have a specific age around 15-21 where they hit hardest. "Early Adult" books, maybe?


warhysterix t1_j212476 wrote

I talked about it not too long ago but 20 thousand leagues under the sea because of the overly long descriptions, especially the enumerations of fishes. I stopped reading halfway. It saddens me because I feel like I'm missing on a seminal work of art. I've heard so many people talk about it with passion.

I learned here on Reddit a few days ago that the writers were paid by the words in those days. That explains a lot.

I've come to realize that people tend to overrate classic books though. I've been guilty of it myself.


pmags3000 t1_j228e06 wrote

I punished myself finishing that slog, then made my 100 page rule. If I'm not into it after 100 pages I'm out