Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

There are a lot of books I won't ever read. But many of those I won't read because they are just terrible (Fifty Shades of Grey), or don't interest me (Joanne Fluke's baked goods-themed mysteries), or because I'm sick of reading about WWII (All the Light We Cannot See.) To narrow it down I'm sticking to those which are classics or that I keep hearing about repeatedly because they are so allegedly life-changing.

1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. Because I've tried. I tried and I failed and I will not try again, no matter how many people tell me it is wonderful. No, it's not.

2. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I know it's supposed to be amazing, but it's over 1000 pages and doesn't even sound interesting.

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. From what I can tell, it's complicated and hard to follow. I think it may be too high-falutin' literary for me.

4. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Or Atlas Shrugged - I can't remember if one of them is supposed to be the most life-changing. Either way, she was insane. I read Anthem; that was enough torture.

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was suggested for the community read at my former library and I read approximately one page. I don't even remember why it was horrible to me, but I think it was some combination of sentimentality and New Age-iness.

6. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. Another really well-reviewed book that I keep hearing mentioned. It really does sound very good, but it's almost 1500 pages, so no.

7. Ulysses by James Joyce. It is modernist, stream-of-consciousness, and apparently there is one sentence that goes on for something like 40 pages. I do not need to know anything else about it.

8. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I really do want to read more classics. I've read War and Peace (I might have mentioned that before) and hope to someday read Moby Dick and Middlemarch, so it's not that I'm easily daunted. But the language in books written before a certain period is sort of impenetrable to me. Or at least I think that based on my very limited reading of Shakespeare.

9. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. A few years ago I finally read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and that was quite enough Twain to last me a lifetime, thank you very much.

10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré. Here's another that, like The English Patient, I tried to read. I really did. I think I read about half of it, and had no idea what the hell was going on. Then I watched the movie and had no idea what the hell was going on. People keep telling me how good it is, but I think I need to give up on this one.


Unknown said...

Don't rule out books just because they're long! Think of it as just three books in a row! I actually tore my copy of A Suitable Boy into three parts - reading it then became a lot less intimidating. In the end it wasn't amazing, but I'm still glad I read it.

I tried to read Ulysses, but it wasn't for me - I struggle with stream of consciousness too.

Cloud Atlas is one of my favourite books. It isn't as hard as it sounds - give it a try :-)

3goodrats said...

I don't know, Jackie. I appreciate your effort to sway me, but I remain unconvinced :)

Captivated Reader said...

Ulysses and some other classics also made my list too! Here's my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/05/top-ten-tuesday-ten-books-i-will.html

Anonymous said...

I'm on the same page as you with a lot of these. I did make it through The English Patient, and I remember liking it on a sentence level if not on a story level. I will say that All the Light We Cannot See is a standout among the glut of WWII fiction and worth reading. And I adored Cloud Atlas, but I wouldn't force it on anyone. Maybe try The Bone Clocks - at least that's chronological (sort of) and follows one main character (sort of).