Read with Abandon?

Booking Through Thursday

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 don’t like to abandon books once I’ve started.  It seems like giving up and letting the book defeat me, but I have a few times.  Once was in college.  I was taking a class, and we were assigned Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis to read.  I couldn’t do it.  About halfway through, I started to go cross-eyed every time I picked up the book and started reading.  It’s probably the driest fiction I’ve ever read.  And for me to say it was dry means something.  I suppose that’s the danger of having an emotionally detached doctor as a protagonist.  Fortunately, we weren’t being tested on the book.  It was just for a discussion, and I bluffed my way through.

Another was Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.  The prose was just too dense.  The book had been called the “thinking person’s Da Vinci Code”  Well, the characters think, and think, and think some more, and then get drunk and talk about what they’ve been thinking, and then they think about what they said.  So in that sense, yes.  Somewhere, there’s a happy medium between those two books.

My wife wins the prize though.  She stopped reading The Da Vinci Code with thirty pages left until the end.  Granted, we were both in law school, and the school year started and working full-time and going to school at night doesn’t leave much time for leisure activities, but still….

5 thoughts on “Read with Abandon?

  1. Jaimie October 25, 2007 / 11:00 am

    I don’t blame your wife about the Da Vinci Code. I never could understand its popularity. My husband just read Arrowsmith a couple months ago and liked it, though not as much as Babbitt.

  2. Matthew October 25, 2007 / 1:26 pm

    I think Dan Brown’s writing is really clunky, but I just took The Da Vinci Code for what it was–light summer fluff reading. I have the sneaking suspicion that my wife didn’t finish because she just didn’t like it, but no one can believe she gave up with only 30 pages to go.

  3. --Deb October 25, 2007 / 6:24 pm

    I read the DaVinci Code and thought it was okay–not great, not awful, just . . . okay. I couldn’t have stopped that close to the end, though! And Umberto Eco IS dense. I read “Name of the Rose,” but have never made it through anything else of his.

  4. Crafty Green Poet October 26, 2007 / 12:28 am

    Umberto Eco is a challenge, I always think his ideas are fascinating but his longer books are such hard work. His shorter works are more readable and just as interesting.

  5. rebecca May 22, 2008 / 7:37 am

    hands down: blindness by jose saramango. at first it was difficult to read because the sentences go on and on sometimes taking an entire page with very little punctuation. also, there are no quotation marks to mark who’s speaking so it is hard to follow and the characters have no names — just “the girl with dark glasses,” and so on. but this wasn’t the reason i couldn’t finish it – it was simply the story itself and the graphic, uncomfortably descriptive way it was written…i enjoyed it as much as i enjoyed reading some of Kafka’s stories.

    the movie is coming out so it should be interesting to see if the public takes to it…personally, i could not finish the book and neither could my husband.

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