When I was a youngin, I thought I was the best reader in the world and that I could get through anything I wanted to because I was a child genius who could read everything. Reality then set in when I realised that that is not the case and there are some books that my brain just disagrees with. Or a lot. The prompt for this week is books that were difficult to get through but ended up being enjoyable, but I don’t have many books like that. If I struggle to get through a book I’m going to end up either a) giving up b) finishing it and hating it c) finishing it and feeling indifferent towards it. Most of the books I’m mentioning in this posts are either books that I don’t like or books that I didn’t finish. And most of them are actually classics (my definition of classics tend to be books published before 1945 that have been critically acclaimed) because I went through a phase when I tried to read as many classics as I could. I was fourteen and sort of failed miserably at it. I gave up on that indefinitely when I tried to get through War and Peace. It didn’t go well.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
– This book took me two months to read. Two months.
It usually takes me about a week to read one book so two months is an incredibly long time for me to read one book. Especially in a genre that I like and a reading level that I was at. Very little happened in this book until around three quarters of the way through. All the events that took place in District 13 just put me to sleep, and then after tons of tedious slogging through tons and tons of talking, we suddenly get a crapton of action. So much action, that it became difficult for me to know what was going on and who was getting killed or injured. The characters bugged me for being so drastically different (which i can understand but still)
and to this day, I still
don’t understand the point of Gale. Somebody please explain to me what relevance he has to do with anything other than being Katniss’ best friend.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
– Oh my God, this book. I just do not understand how this book is so critically acclaimed. It’s one of the most boring books I’ve ever read and basically imagery 101 for high school students. Most modernist literature is like that (some modernist stuff i’ve read is advanced imagery for university students)
, but my problem with modernist literature is that is just doesn’t go anywhere until the very last minute, and this book does exactly the same thing. There’s not much going on until the very last chapter before the book is so bogged down with imagery and symbolism and metaphors. There’s a way to use literary techniques like these, but my issue with modernism is that they’re used to an extreme. I understand this book 100% because it’s so easy to understand, but that doesn’t make it any more interesting. Or less boring.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – This book was a total headache to get through, and I’d never experienced that from a contemporary novel before. Nearly every single aspect of this book frustrated me to the point that I wish I’d just DNF’d it instead of going through so much pain to read it. The story was a huge letdown because I was expecting a story about best friends and got a weird romance that went from one-sided flirting, to flirting with each other, to bickering, and then being with each other but not officially. What even? The worst part was definitely the slut-shaming MC who is a cliche storm of a ‘bad girl’ type: criminal record at seventeen, wears short skirts and heels all the time, but somehow has the nerve to call other girls skanks and sluts for wearing similar outfits. Okay, book. What gives.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
– Now that I’ve said that I’m not the biggest fan of modernist novels, I have this to say: What the actual hell happened in this book?
Stream of consciousness narratives is my least favourite narrative techniques an author can use, right next to purple prose. Yeah it’s all artistic and stuff, and people can actually have a thought pattern like this, but it’s so bloody difficult and confusing to read. All I remember from this book is that Caddy smelt like trees and somebody committed suicide after half an hour
of stream of consciousness. The only way I got through this book was by listening to an audiobook at the same time and even that didn’t help.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
– This book took me two tries to get through and once I’d finally finished it, it was just meh at best. By the time I read this, the whole dystopian burnout was going on (if you remember that, you’ve obviously been blogging for as long as i have)
and I just wanted something to wow me, which this book did not. The problem I had was that the first half of the book moves at a snail’s pace and then the rest of it goes by in a flash. I did like the characters but the world building was pretty poor, and the have the rest of the series so, who knows, I might finish it someday. Emphasis on ‘might’.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
– Hold your pitchforks, friends and hear me out. I really tried to get into this book. I tried so hard but it just wasn’t happening. By the time I gave up on this book, Bilbo and the gang hadn’t even left the house I just couldn’t do it. If I couldn’t get into this book, which was written for children, than there is no hope for me reading the actual Lord of the Rings
trilogy, which I have been told is extremely difficult to get through if you don’t like high fantasy, which I do not.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
– I think I’ve established that high fantasy is not one of my favourite genres. There’s too much information for me to take in and I just want to jump right into the story, not memorise family trees and maps and all that stuff (the only exception i have is the grishaverse because it’s not too hard-going)
. I think I’ve said before that I never read Throne of Glass
but that’s sort of a lie because I read a bit of it before deciding that it just was not for me. I don’t even remember what happened other than me being bored and bogged down with so much stuff. I don’t really have any interest in Sarah J. Maas’ work anymore (so much that i was somewhat thrilled when it was announced that she was writing a catwoman book because i hate catwoman and therefore will not be reading it)
so I doubt I’ll ever be going into this one again.
Rob Roy by Walter Scott
– Something is telling me that classic books just aren’t for me anymore. And that something is the fact that nearly every classic I read now bores me to tears. This book is no exception. I didn’t even get halfway through this book because I was so bored that I ended up having no idea of what was going on. People in my class at uni were reassuring everyone that the last third is where the book gets better but my patience does not stretch that far. If it doesn’t get exciting before a quarter of the way through, I’m out. So I didn’t even get to apparently struggle through the Scots dialect, which I understand quite well.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
– This book. Oh, man. This book gave me the biggest headache of my life.
This novel was required reading in my very first semester of university and pretty much every single person who took that class and read this book absolutely hates it and the author and I am definitely no exception. This is the book that made me hate the modernist movement. It’s boring as heck, the sentences run into one another and end up being incredibly confusing, there’s very little way to know who’s talking and when because of the way it’s formatted (having your dialogue set out with dashes instead of quotation marks and dialogue tags is the worst way to format it)
, and it’s just self-fulfilling drivel. If I wanted to read about Joyce’s life, I would much rather read a biography about him, not a novel that he wrote because this book is basically about himself. I hate this book. I really do. Joyce’s dirty love letters to his wife are more interesting than this.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It may be a bit harsh to say, but I really do not understand the hype around this book at all. I read this book way back when I was around fourteen and in the middle of a huge classics phase and I just could not get into it at all. I thought it was dull and the characters were stiff and rude to one another and it felt like it just wasn’t going anywhere, so I ended up DNFing it. I don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up ever again because I’ve seen one movie version of it and I still wasn’t that impressed with the story.
What books do you think were a chore to get through?