Thursday, October 25, 2007

Booking Through Thursday- Read With Abandon?

I haven't participated in one of these before, but today's question caught my eye:

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

I make it a habit to finish what I start (this only applies to reading!) Sometimes I have a smug pride about this, but when I'm bogged down in the middle of some insanely long piece of drudgery, I question my motive for continuing, and decide that I'm a big fat idiot. That all said, there is one book that I didn't get through: Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Ubervilles.

I'm not even sure why that particular book did me in. Most likely it was a lethal combination of boredom and too much going on at that time my life. Plus, I was younger and most of my stubbornness has come later.

The thing is I have mixed feelings about retrying. On the one hand, it would be nice to finally finish it. But on the other hand, it's always good to have an answer to this question!


Jodie Robson said...

John, I'll return the compliment and say you are a person of principle! I'm afraid I quite often give up on books - age and becoming increasingly short-sighted have persuaded me that my time is too precious.

I did finish Tess but it's awfully depressing!

Rob Hardy said...

You're a better man than I am. I've started reading almost all of Thomas Hardy's novels, and only made it to the end of "Far from the Madding Crowd." I think I've started and abandoned "The Return of the Native" five or six times. The first chapter is good, but don't ask me about anything beyond that! Other books I've abandoned include Dickens' "Martin Chuzzlewit," R.D. Blackmore's "Lorna Doone," Don DeLillo's "White Noise," Ian McEwan's "Atonement," and (to include a Canadian) Diane Schoemperlen's "In the Language of Love." The list goes on. You should feel good about yourself. Me, I'm a quitter!

Chris said...

I actually like Hardy ;) I'll be reading Tess in Jan with my bookclub. I'll let you know if you should pick it up again.

Anonymous said...

Tess is depressing but I had to read it for my school elective course. I re-read it recently and found it ok.
Our Hindi movies are like that. Slow and very depressing.

The Mayor of Casterbridge is much better!

Allison said...

I abandoned Blindness. I shall probably return to it one day, but for now its back home in Ontario.

I just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Read it in two days. Fabulous.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love Thomas Hardy's novels (and his poetry) but yes Tess is depressing.

Unknown said...

First, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my little part of the blogger world. And I must admit, Herman Melville just doesn't do anything for me. And I like to think I am well-rounded in reading with my favorites including C.S. Forester, James Michner, Tom Clancey, Christopher Moore, Mary Stewart and the list goes on. We have one room devoted to books and have books in every room of the house, LOL.

John Mutford said...

GeraniumCat: I agree about time being wasted, but I just can't break free!

Rob: A couple of those on your list are ones I planned on getting to myself. That makes me nervous.

Chris: I could probably be easily convinced.

Guatami: I can't say I've seen any Hindi movies, though I have seen a couple Bollywood movies that didn't seem all that slow at all!

Allison: I liked The Curious Incident but no where near as much as Blindness ;)

Crafty Green Poet: Asides from Tess I haven't tried anything else by him.

Tink: I think I'm a well-rounded reader as well, but my favourites probably wouldn't indicate that.

Jane said...

Wow, I haven't Read Tess yet but I know that is quite an accomplishment. Hardy is not the most upbeat of writers. My next big classic is going to be Dickens "Bleak House" but I need clear off my TBR shelf a bit before starting.

BookGal said...

Interesting .... I read Tess in my younger days (like 20 years ago) and just loved it. It felt like a soap opera to me. I think I'd hate it now though!

Kat said...

Once in a while I get the urge to try and start again on a book I stopped reading halfway. There are times when I realize that the book was good, but there are times when my first opinion was correct.

Melody said...

In the past (when I was still single and had much more free time), I will try to finish a book no matter how boring it is, I guess boredom can really makes us do things we don't like, hehe.

Nowadays, I rely a lot on recommendations from book blogs, and when a book doesn't interest me I will just chuck it aside, because there are so many good books around and I should make good use of my time.

Happy BTT!

John Mutford said...

Jaimie: I haven't read Bleak House either, but I did read Stephen King's Black House which apparently drew inspiration from the Dickens book. I was greatly disappointed in any case.

Bookgal: I'm not expecting to like it either, but it keeps calling me back.

Kat: I find that more often my first impressions were correct.

Melody: I like getting recommended reads from Bookblogs too- it guarantees the chance to discuss it afterwards.

pussreboots said...

I finished reading Tess but I HATED the ending.

Lesley said...

Hiya John, thanks for dropping by my blog. Yes, the Kerouac I had in mind was On the Road, and I'm glad to hear someone agrees with me. Just reading Tink's comment here reminded me that I also abandoned Moby Dick, some 30 years ago. So tempted to join your Canadian book challenge - some of my favourite authors are from up there - but I'm committed to the Russian Reading Challenge and I only have one pair of brains.
Where oh where, O Northern Boy (Randy Newman fan here), is that place you come from? Spelling's good enough to be an Aussie town!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I shamefacedly admit that I have yet to finish A Short History of Nearly Everything, although I started it nearly 3 years ago, and it is still lying on my bedside table.

John Mutford said...

Pussreboots: You mean even after slogging through, I could be let down even more?! Ouch.

Lesley: C'mon! I double-dog dare ya to join the Canadian Book Challenge!

And where is Iqaluit? It's on Baffin Island, one of the large islands in the Northern part.

Barbara: And yet I've heard you speak favourably about that book. Interesting. Perhaps "Short" should be dropped from the title?

Stephanie said...

I haven't read Tess....but I really liked Mayor of Casterbridge. That's the only Hardy I have ever read.

I'm like you. I really like to finish what I start!

Dale said...

I've abandoned many books although I generally try not to.

I've started As The Crow Flies by Ann Marie McDonald several times and not made it through and wonder if I'll try again, given up on The Loser's Club by Richard Perez out of absolute boredom and a feeling that it was overhyped, A Complicated Kindess was another I couldn't give myself over to and others that escape me at the moment.

Gentle Reader said...

I've given up on not giving up when a book drags too much. I posted my list! On Hardy, my favorite is Far From the Madding Crowd, because it's way less depressing than most of his work!

Anonymous said...

I've given up not giving up also. Too many books out there nowadays.

Tess was a slog and not at all worth it. I wanted to wring her neck most of the time.