Books. If there is one thing I love it’s books. However, books are very similar to music: there’s loads out there and it’s a challenge to find the gems between the overkill that is on offer. So unfortunately, you sometimes find yourself reading a book that just doesn’t work for you. It can be anything that causes it: the writing style, the characters, the topic, etc. Sometimes it just takes time to get into a book, but I have a few books that I’ve attempted to read (some even several times), didn’t manage and have decided to never even come near them ever again.
1) Joseph Heller – Catch 22
I read some really good reviews of this book which is why I bought it. It was supposed to be hilarious and comparable in wit to Catcher in the Rye (which I love btw). That and the fact that the phrase ‘it’s a Catch 22’ was first coined in this book made me want to read it.
The story is about a man who is in the US army during WWII. He feigns illness to escape duty and well that’s pretty much it. The book mainly describes high levels of red tape (which I guess is what it’s trying to mock) which is why the guy can get away with well, pretty much anything.
The point of the book is that everything is a Catch 22, even the book itself. That sounds promising but it is also the biggest annoyance of the book. The book is around 300 pages in my edition and at around page 60 the point of the book is already stated and it just keeps going on and on and on. It becomes tedious and at page 150 I was like: yep I get the point, NEXT!
2.) Ian McEwan – Saturday
The other book which I’ve never been able to finish is this one. It was recommended to me by a friend who said it was really good. He even bought me the book for my birthday. I attempted to read it three (!!!) times. Every single time I read a bit more, but it just didn’t grab me the way I’d hoped. The third time round I was pretty much half way through and it really didn’t captivate me at all.
The story is about a man (I’ve forgotten his name) and he’s in his 50s, is a surgeon, lives in London, has a wife and two kids. One, his son still lives at home and is a musician, the other is his daughter who’s an author and lives in France. She’ll be coming over to visit and he’s very excited about that. The story starts with him not being able to sleep and watching a plane crash from his window. He his then obsessed by this crash and in the mean time he describes what his week day looks like and what he does and how much he loves his wife and yada yada yada.
Again the book just goes on and on and on, and into minor details of which patients he saw and what he usually has for lunch and how long his commute takes, etc. Trivial things which I really don’t find interesting. All the time I just kept thinking: when does the story start. The first 75 pages or so are just about his standing in front of his window, contemplating life and having a conversation with his son about the plane crash. And well… that’s it really.
When I read the book a third time I forced myself to read more as my friend had told me that after reading that first part it becomes really good. But at page 130 (out of 275 mind you) it still wasn’t interesting. Apparently that’s where the story really starts, but in my point of view, starting a book 3 times, eventually getting half way through and still not being engaged by it, signifies that it is not worth my time and effort.
Q: Which books have you started reading but never finished?
P.S. I read these books for fun. If I had to add books which I had to read for school I’d have a few more to add to the list. Post idea inspired by Alison.