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Thought this could be a good place to talk about the books and authors you thought you'd like but just didn't. Perhaps someone here can convince you to try another book by that author, or to persevere a little further. 

 

Don Quixote by Cervantes

 

This left a good first impression with me, I found the start very funny and enjoyed the concept, but I soon found it bogged down with lots and lots of dull parts and endless references to things which meant nothing to me. I've got this down as an important book of its time, but not something I want to spend the many, many hours it would take to get through. 

 

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

 

I've already started to lose patience with Fantasy due to the amount of clichéd plotlines and 'ideas' shared between so many books, and I was led to believe this was a funny pastiche of the genre. A few chapters in and I didn't find it funny at all, and if anything it was even more clichéd than anything else I can think of.

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The Makioka Sisters By Junichiro Tanizaki

 

I’m  a huge reader of Japanese novels and this is considered a classic, a must read. It’s set just as the second WW is breaking out and is ostensibly about the end of a certain era in Japans class system, a decaying ossified period that is about to completely change beyond all recognition. There are definite parallels with English novels written around the first WW. For those that don’t know the story it revolves mostly around the sisters attempts to marry off the second youngest of them and the youngest sisters attempts to live her own life. Except all of the four sisters are genuinely awful, not in a fun or interesting way, I hated them. Cosseted, stiff, dullards all four, especially the one they want to marry off. I have enjoyed other works by the author, Some Prefer Nettles is a great book, but this is, I think, the only novel I have ever just stopped reading. I have no idea how it ends nor do I care.

 

my score 3/10

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I posted a few months ago about how I had to give up on John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:

 

https://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/319368-differing-types-of-brain-function-and-memory/&do=findComment&comment=12973154

 

Quote

The book that I gave up about a third of the way through because I struggled to remember who was who was John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I loved The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but that story only focuses on about four or five characters. Whereas Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has a bunch of male characters with very similar jobs, most of whom have WASPy first names and vaguely French surnames. (Copying the character list off Wikipedia: Percy Alleline, Roy Bland, Toby Esterhase, Peter Guillam, Bill Haydon, Oliver Lacon, Jim Prideaux, Ricki Tarr.) Since giving up on the book I've seen both the Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman TV/film adaptations, both of which I found much easier to follow!

 

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Moby Dick- Herman Melville

 

Whaling manual/log masquerading as a novel. Tried reading it, tried listening to it on audiobook. Whaling seems like it was an incredibly grim profession  and  the book does very little to dispel that notion, just seems like a dark, brooding novel and while I understand that it may reflects/symbolise  the character of Ahab and the obsession etc it just wasn't for me.

 

 

100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Dreamlike story of 3 generations of a family in a fictional town. There was so much going on thematically and story wise  on that I couldn't  take it all in so gave up. Wasn't enjoying it anyway , any book that makes me feel stupid ,regardless of whether that's my own issue,can get in the bin(figuratively).

 

 The Handmaids Tale/Oryx & Crake -Margaret Atwood

 

Love the concept  of both books - both seem incredibly relevant in current times ,  and have finished The Handmaids Tale  while currently reading Oryx & Crake. I'll finish the latter but there's something in the way she writes that leaves me cold.

 

 

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I generally love long, difficult books, so I've not given up on much (I loved whaling textbook sections of Moby Dick!).

 

I only managed about 4 pages of Ulysses.  This was in my late teens though, so I'm aiming to go back one day.

 

I think I gave up on Milton's Paradise Lost about half way through.

 

I gave up on Tristram Shandy midway too. I was loving it, when I could follow it, but my feeble brain just couldn't keep up with those long olde english sentences full of endless clauses, and I was forgetting where each sentence had started once I got to its end.  Probably one where an audiobook would work better for me.

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Naturally I gave up on Ulysses, but that was years ago on a paperback edition and most of the trouble I was having was constantly encountering words I simply didn't understand. I've often thought another go on the kindle might be more successful, even if I still spend a great deal of time bringing up the dictionary.

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21 hours ago, lolly said:

100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Dreamlike story of 3 generations of a family in a fictional town. There was so much going on thematically and story wise  on that I couldn't  take it all in so gave up. Wasn't enjoying it anyway , any book that makes me feel stupid ,regardless of whether that's my own issue,can get in the bin(figuratively).

 

 


I’m pretty annoyed at this! :mad:

 

8 hours ago, GamesGamesGames said:

With the exception of his short The Index, which is one of the finest ever written imo, I've never got through a full Ballard. Bores me senseless.


And this! :quote:

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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

 

I was doing OK at first, wondering what all the fuss was about, and then the footnotes really started going and it just became too annoying. Perhaps one day I'll try again.

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20 hours ago, Ste Pickford said:

I generally love long, difficult books, so I've not given up on much (I loved whaling textbook sections of Moby Dick!).

 

I only managed about 4 pages of Ulysses.  This was in my late teens though, so I'm aiming to go back one day.

 

I think I gave up on Milton's Paradise Lost about half way through.

 

I gave up on Tristram Shandy midway too. I was loving it, when I could follow it, but my feeble brain just couldn't keep up with those long olde english sentences full of endless clauses, and I was forgetting where each sentence had started once I got to its end.  Probably one where an audiobook would work better for me.

That's funny because that's sort of the point of Tristram Shandy, right. The constant shifting of focus onto some tangent or other, never really getting to the original point.

 

It works on so many levels!

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13 minutes ago, David Kenny said:

That's funny because that's sort of the point of Tristram Shandy, right. The constant shifting of focus onto some tangent or other, never really getting to the original point.

 

It works on so many levels!

Yeah, like I say, I was loving it when I was getting it.  And the long, rambling, deviating sentences were part of the joke.  I just found that the style was so archaic compared to what I'm used to reading that my brain couldn't keep up. I wasn't getting the jokes, I was just getting lost.

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8 hours ago, milko said:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

 

I was doing OK at first, wondering what all the fuss was about, and then the footnotes really started going and it just became too annoying. Perhaps one day I'll try again.

 

I managed this last year with the help of a kindle, which at least made the footnotes trivial in terms of flow. I'm not sure I would have stuck it out with a physical copy.

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I bought the audiobook of IJ and had a physical book as well. I basically read the footnotes at the end of each chapter. It was an absolute pain to be honest, there's no reason he couldn't have built them into the main narrative. 

 

It's an amazing book in many ways but so impenetrable and I feel like I missed massive amounts of subtext. I can see why people read it over and over. 

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I've given up on two of the new Star Wars books, and I love me some Star Wars.

 

The first I made through about 30 pages before the Halo Reach riff was getting on my nerves and then the introduction of the "new" big bad was so boring I just didn't find myself caring to carry on. 

 

The second one I gave up when they got to the space station which I felt was the main plot point, and it just wasn't keeping me invested. 

 

 

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I borrowed the entire Gormenghast trilogy from the library on the day i moved into my first student house, fully planning to read them over the next few months of Uni life. 

30 years later they are still on my bookshelf, i've read the first 30 pages of the first book and never touched them since. I am ashamed of this. I didn't even watch the BBC adaptation when it was on. 

 

I'm 2/3rd of the way through Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. It's just a miserable dirge, and the chap that did the murder richly deserves a good kicking, not any sort of understanding. He's just a massive prick. I did pay for that book 35 years ago 

 

I've read most of War and Peace but the appendix of what happened to everyone after the French leave Moscow defeated me. I understand how Bonaparte felt retreating across the Russian steps if it's anything like the slog through Tolstoys more self indulgent rambling bits.

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17 minutes ago, Sidewaysbob said:

I borrowed the entire Gormenghast trilogy from the library on the day i moved into my first student house, fully planning to read them over the next few months of Uni life. 

30 years later they are still on my bookshelf, i've read the first 30 pages of the first book and never touched them since. I am ashamed of this. I didn't even watch the BBC adaptation when it was on. 

 

Oof, what will the fines on those be like when you return them?!

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I very rarely abandon books halfway through but I've bounced off a couple of quite different ones lately:

 

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell - playing Assassin's Creed Valhalla had me in the mood for some more quasi-historical Viking stuff and there was quite a lot of overlap between this series and the game in terms of setting and characters, can't go wrong, right? But the whole thing is just so dry, the writing style is basically "this happened then this happened then this happened" and there's no characterisation or interesting detail to speak of, I can't imagine reading 14 books of this or however many are in the series now. Binned.

 

Boy Parts by Eliza Clark - this just made me feel old. It's a novel about a twenty-something photographer with an enthusiasm for fetish photography and drug-taking and I couldn't find anything to like or relate to with regards to any of the characters whatsoever. I just didn't want to read about these people and their unpleasant little lives any more and ditched it with a sense of relief about halfway through.

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I can’t get on with anything not written in “standard English”, which means I abandoned both A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting after a few pages.
I’m alright if just the speech is highly stylised, but seem to remember they’re both first person narrated with every single single word in that Clockwork Orange style/phonetic Scottish accent respectively.

There was also one Chuck Palahniuk book I swiftly abandoned too, because it was done as an oral history, mimicking annoying speech patterns in what are apparently straight transcripts of recorded interviews, something like “Yeah so like I went to the supermarket and was totally like oh my god and said to Ashley did you see that? And she totally said...” etc.

I don’t think I’ve formally abandoned anything else, but have been half way through Stephen Fry’s first book of Greek myths for several years. I do vaguely intended to finish it eventually though!

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After having read a few Murakami books I gave up on 1Q84 when it became clear that not a single one of his protagonists would ever have any agency and that they're all stand-ins for the author: passive socially awkward weirdos who inexplicably are irresistible to super hot women.

 

Life's too fucking short to wade through any more of that interminable crap.

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12 hours ago, Scribblor said:

After having read a few Murakami books I gave up on 1Q84 when it became clear that not a single one of his protagonists would ever have any agency and that they're all stand-ins for the author: passive socially awkward weirdos who inexplicably are irresistible to super hot women.

 

Life's too fucking short to wade through any more of that interminable crap.

 

I tried one of his. It was one of his shorter ones, Colorless Tsukuru. Absolutely fucking shit. No idea why he's popular.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/05/2021 at 23:23, Sabreman said:

^ I endured the audiobook until the end, but it's the only one I've ever refunded.

 

Didn't know I could refund audiobooks, thanks! I have just refunded Columbus Day (1st of the Expodtionary Force books), which was very satisfying :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/05/2021 at 22:58, Scribblor said:

After having read a few Murakami books I gave up on 1Q84 when it became clear that not a single one of his protagonists would ever have any agency and that they're all stand-ins for the author: passive socially awkward weirdos who inexplicably are irresistible to super hot women.

 

Life's too fucking short to wade through any more of that interminable crap.

 

I've not read IQ84 but have read 4 or 5 of his earlier novels and enjoyed them all to varying degrees. I get where you're coming from to an extent. Middle aged male loners going through life/existential crises is his forte! Fair enough if that leaves you cold, but I can't fault him for writing about what he knows. He equally works jazz and other music into his characters a lot.

 

As far as his writing of women goes, I can't recall in detail the plot of every novel I've read but in the case of the last two I read: After Dark - there's actually a female protagonist in this one, and most of the characters are women. The main male character isn't especially attractive to anyone. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle - the whole premise of this is that the protagonist's wife has left him in mysterious circumstances, and I certainly don't recall him being irresistible to any of the women in the novel.

 

  

On 17/05/2021 at 19:42, Dark Soldier said:

Whereas every book by the other Murakami are fantastic pulp novels.

 

This is very true. I bought In The Miso Soup and Audition on a total whim without knowing anything about him and found them utterly terrifying. :lol:

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I think he's my least favourite author ever. But I'd never say you're wrong to enjoy his books or that someone shouldn't give them a try.

 

I'm sure there are people out there who don't rate authors I love, or who think To Kill A Mockingbird is somehow less than perfect (no matter how utterly incorrect that opinion would be); and the beauty of books - and any media, really - is that they're such a broad medium that there's something for everyone.

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9 hours ago, Scribblor said:

I think he's my least favourite author ever. But I'd never say you're wrong to enjoy his books or that someone shouldn't give them a try.

 

I'm sure there are people out there who don't rate authors I love, or who think To Kill A Mockingbird is somehow less than perfect (no matter how utterly incorrect that opinion would be); and the beauty of books - and any media, really - is that they're such a broad medium that there's something for everyone.

I gave up on To Kill a Mockingbird after a few chapters as I really hated the way it was written.

 

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I remembered another one I gave up on, can't be alone in this as it's a madly long series but, The Wheel Of Time. I could've stuck out the epic rambling nature of it, but what ended up doing me in was the constant irritating repetition, Nynaeve pulling her pony tail in frustration about once every three pages and things like that. Didn't get as far as the change in author but remain put off reading anything else by either of them.

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