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Books You Finally Got Around to Reading - And Wish You Hadn't
#1  poohbear_nc 10-21-2019, 10:36 AM
I am an enthusiastic reader of 18th, 19th, and 20th century novels. I tend to re-read novels that I enjoyed, and thus skip other titles written by my favorite authors. Thus, I occasionally will select a random unread title by a favorite author to see if I've been missing anything. Or to discover a new favorite novel. It's a hit-or-miss experience, and some of the misses have been memorable.

My latest miss is Anthony Trollope - He Knew He Was Right. It literally took me months to slog through it (over 100 chapters). A preposterous plot populated with improbable characters, with 3 equally inane subplots. Finishing it became a sort of personal endurance goal for me ... whew!

So, what books have you struggled to finish, only to rue the loss of time and brain cells you expended to reach "The End"?
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#2  pwalker8 10-21-2019, 11:20 AM
Certainly, there are quite a few books that I slogged through thinking "it has to get better", but usually they are books that were recommended to me rather than books by favorite authors that weren't very good.

One that might fall into your group was the follow up books to the movie Willow. I loved that movie. George Lucus hired a writer named Chris Claremont to write a follow up novel. Claremont was best know for his work in comics, but he wrote a space opera series called First Flight, which I though was pretty good. I slugged my way through Shadow Moon, the first of the follow up novels, and somehow got through it. Never bothered reading the other two.
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#3  issybird 10-21-2019, 11:55 AM
Quote poohbear_nc
My latest miss is Anthony Trollope - He Knew He Was Right. It literally took me months to slog through it (over 100 chapters). A preposterous plot populated with improbable characters, with 3 equally inane subplots. Finishing it became a sort of personal endurance goal for me ... whew!
Say it ain't so! I've been rereading Trollope and have worked my way through the Parliamentary novels and have two of the Barsetshire novels left to go, and I was saving He Knew He Was Right for a treat when I'm done. It's the favorite Trollope of a Goodreads friend.

Quote pwalker8
Certainly, there are quite a few books that I slogged through thinking "it has to get better", but usually they are books that were recommended to me rather than books by favorite authors that weren't very good.
Yup, this is the kind of book that occurs to me off the top of my head. Two loathsome examples are the Ice and Fire books and the Dragon Tattoo books (the ones written by Larsson). Why I finished them I'll never know; momentum, mostly. I'll certainly never pick up another in either series (assuming GRRM ever writes one).

As to the original question, I'll have to think some more. Mostly I bail when I don't like a book and I'm the more likely to bail the longer it is. Little Dorrit is a fairly recent example; I had high hopes as I had just read Barnaby Rudge and was enthralled, and no one likes Barnaby Rudge! Still, I recognize the emotion, that of a forced march to get through a book out of a combination of pride and a sense, mostly a wish, that there's more there than is readily apparent, and an unwillingness to acknowledge time already wasted.
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#4  JSWolf 10-21-2019, 12:50 PM
A book I never should hve even started let alone finished is Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. It was one of the most wordy books I've ever read. Just awful.
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#5  theducks 10-21-2019, 07:58 PM
Quote JSWolf
A book I never should hve even started let alone finished is Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. It was one of the most wordy books I've ever read. Just awful.
Be glad you did not read his Mission Earth series

<actual count of books>
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#6  gmw 10-21-2019, 10:26 PM
It's been nine years since I read it, and yet still the first book that jumps into mind for this is Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

I guess I can't entirely claim "And Wish You Hadn't", as it was a book that I wanted to be able to say "I have read that", and now I can. The book does have a few excellent sentences (you will know them because they are the ones that get trotted out fairly regularly to demonstrate the literary credentials of characters in other works). There were not enough of them to redeem the book, but it was interesting to find them in their full context ... as you can tell, I keep trying to find the up side of the struggle to finish this book.
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#7  ratinox 10-22-2019, 12:08 AM
Quote pwalker8
Certainly, there are quite a few books that I slogged through thinking "it has to get better", but usually they are books that were recommended to me rather than books by favorite authors that weren't very good.
I've learned that a book (or film or TV show) almost never gets better. If it's bad at the start then it's bad for a reason, and that reason taints everything it touches. And I've realized that anyone who insists it does get better is rationalizing their time spent slogging through it.

Which is why there are no books that I've gotten around to reading and wishing I hadn't. I never get far enough into a book I don't like to regret reading it. I might regret having paid good money for it but that's something else.
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#8  ZodWallop 10-22-2019, 12:46 AM
Quote gmw
It's been nine years since I read it, and yet still the first book that jumps into mind for this is Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Ah, too bad. Moby Dick has been on my to-read list for a long time.

A book I don't regret reading, but probably should have read in a class or book club is Heart of Darkness. I didn't much care for the book when I read it.
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#9  darryl 10-22-2019, 06:20 AM
I'm afraid I disagree on Moby Dick. It's a while since I read it but skip the tedious facts at the beginning and start at the Inn. Wonderful book.
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#10  JSWolf 10-22-2019, 06:50 AM
Quote theducks
Be glad you did not read his Mission Earth series

<actual count of books>
Battlefield Earth was bad enough. There was no way I was going to ever read anything bu Hubbard again.
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