I thought it would be interesting to see if I can remember any books I have started but never finished. In the old days, I usually persisted and forced myself to complete all books I started, but the past few years I have come to the conclusion that there are too many books out there to bother with those that don’t necessarily grab me right there and then.
The books on my list are not bad books – some of them are award-winning, some are classics, some have enthusiastic fans. I just didn’t finish them for one reason or another. I know I want to read some of them one day, so they’re not lost causes yet.
Ok, here goes:
1) Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. I’ve read the other famous one by this splendid writer. You know the one, that many people say they have read but only started and then gave up? Yes, that one. I met my Joyce wall with Finnegan, though. Don’t think I made it past the few first pages, even.
2) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I have every intention of reading this book one day! It was summer when I started it, school was just out, and my brain was too full to be able to enter the mind of Thomas Cromwell. I needed chick-lit. Mantel is heavy stuff.
3) The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I shouldn’t scold my husband for his lack of interest in literature when I couldn’t even finish his favourite novel… (I’ve only skimmed through it).
4) Skapelsen, Mennesket og Messias by Henrik Wergeland. Ages ago, I was a student of Nordic literature and languages. I felt I should have been able to get through a (supposedly) masterpiece of epic poetry published in 1830 by an otherwise excellent poet, but I couldn’t do it.
5) Winter of the World by Ken Follett. I have enjoyed so many of Follett’s novels, but after Fall of Giants, I realized I’d never get through the sequel if he kept writing in the same style and added the same cliches. I flipped through a few pages of Winter of the World and then put it back on the shelf at the library.
6) + 7) Crime and Punishment + The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I’ve never been an avid reader of Russian writers, and Dostoyevsky may be the culprit. The only classic Russian-authored novel I have read, completed and enjoyed is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
8) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I read The Year of the Flood, which is regarded as a companion novel to Oryx and Crake, but I still couldn’t get into this one. I may try later, though, because Atwood is a brilliant author. She has several novels that would make it into my top 100 list, definitely.
9) Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve started this twice and have yet to get past the first fifty pages. Her language is so brilliant, she has a keen eye for nuances, and I liked her Poisonwood Bible a lot, but so far I’ve hit the wall with this one.
10) Okay, I admit I’m going to cheat with this one, because I nominate my own novel Supermassive. I wrote it, so obviously I’ve read it, but I haven’t been able to read it after publication. I’ve flipped through a few pages here and there, but that’s about it. The characters are still so alive in my head, I fear they’ll take over my current writing projects if I get back into their world. Maybe one day!