Vox Hunt: Stuck in the Middle

Show us a book you started reading, but never finished.

gosh, color me impressed.  a good, thoughtful qotd  vox hunt 

[golf clap]


I have two answers.  the first is a book that I have finished, but it took me several attempts through the years, during which I'd pick up the book, start at the beginning (I love the first third of this book), start flagging down and give up about 2/5 into it.  this happened at least six times over a ten-year period.   I'm not sure what clicked the seventh time, but I was able to plod right through the slow middle section and go on to the end.  glad I did, as I loved it.


I am currently reading a book that is in danger of becoming abandoned.  I was reading and enjoying it at a slow pace, and a couple of weeks ago I stopped.  I only have about 1/8 to go but can't bring myself to pick it up.  I havent' given up hope; still resides on my bedside table, mockingly.



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22 thoughts on “Vox Hunt: Stuck in the Middle

  1. Mariser, now I'm impressed. Only two books that you've started but never finished–wow. Does anyone ever finish Moby Dick? My list would be six miles long– starting with Finnegans Wake…

  2. nononononono. the qotd asked for a book, not every book. those two just came to mind. there are many many more.
    you got me beat of Finnegan's Wake. I havent' even started it, and I may never. as big of Joyce's Ulysses as I am, I remain a believer that one Joyce book is enough for a person's lifetime.

  3. one Joyce book is enough for a person's lifetime. Amen! And thank you, I think I read Portrait in school in paleolithic times–that counts, right? I'm good to go?Life is too short to wade through unreadable "classics." As Indy would say, "Pluh!"

  4. It took me three attempts to finish Moby Dick, which I did on New Year's Eve of 1990, only about 5 and a half years after my first attempt, which, to be fair was not a fair attempt. It was my 11th grade honors english teacher's own White Whale…but he left it for the last book of the year and we didn't have enough time to do it up right…like 2 weeks, so first day we got the book he had us mark off every chapter with a system of Xs of how thoroughly to read it based on its importance. I didn't do so well on that test, and I think a large portion of the final exam was on MD as well. I tried again I think in 1987, got about a third of the way through and couldn't hack it…and was determined to finish it in 1990, which I did. And I liked it too.
    I like to think of myself as someone who finishes books she starts…but it's not true, I have a few not quite under my belt. Cider House Rules (lost), I think The Sirens Of Titan (or some Vonnegut book), currently Lawrence of Arabia (I might chug through the rest after Godblog) and at least a couple others.

  5. I read both of these books, but I kind of had to force myself to finish them. Tristram Shandy was funny in places, but I really just read it so I could brag to my brother (who failed to finish it). Moby Dick went back and forth from being exciting to being incredibly boring. I should've read Don Quixote instead.

  6. War and Peace. I have tried. I haven't yet succeeded.
    Like Tristram Shandy (of whom I have only read this one quote), "I sigh, and call it fate, and go on drinking." (not literally, but you understand…)

  7. It's what she says when she rejects a lettuce leaf that's not up to her standards of fine cuisine. "Pluh!" and the slimy leaf is dropped disdainfully to the floor.

  8. 'Tristram Shandy' defeated me, utterly. But that was in college, and it was an assignment, not my choice – not the best circumstances for reading an unwieldly classic.
    I'd be perfectly willing to try it again.
    There are many books I stopped reading out of sheer hatred. I then wished there was a skeet-shooting range nearby…

  9. I had to restart Moby Dick twice, too — and just sort of settle into the narrative stretches and not concentrate on How Long This Was Going On For….. in the end, I loved it.

  10. Moby Dick I hid from for years, and then finally picked it up.I hadn't expected to find it even bearable, and was surprised to love it.Need to go back to it soon, I think.War and Peace defeated me.I found it just too damn romantic.I checked out when the ingenue was dancing on the kitchen table and becoming an embodiment of Mother Russia.Or that's how I remember it thirty years later.Maybe it's time to give it a second chance…

  11. Hmmm I have stopped reading only a few .. books in my life a few I picked up later on and finished.. but the two most notable were war and peace,,,I attempted it in High School and got too over whelmed. and recently the count of Monte Cristo….I may go back and attempt them again… Sometimes if I start a book and it is beyond disgusting with brutality and violence I will just walk away from it…. or if it is just too boring.
    I am about to embark on One Hundred years of Solitude and Lord Kalvan is kind of scaring me…. but never fear I shall wade in undeterred.

  12. Have you seen the movie of Tristan Shandy which came out a couple of years ago? That's as close as I've gotten to reading the book, let alone finishing it. I have also started and stopped Moby Dick a number of times. I find that rhythm can be so important in reading. I have stopped reading a book many times simply because I could not sync my rhythm to the author's. I have also been able to go back and get through a book which once defeated me. Perhaps the length of Moby Dick makes sustaining the rhythm particularly difficult. Although my good friend Larry claims that it's just because Melville is over-rated as a writer. (He's a writer himself, but his training is as a screenwriter and a reporter, which may color his perspective.) Bad writing is the most common reason I cannot finish a book.
    My ultimate Ulysses story is the time that I gave an oral report on Ulysses in high school without having read the book. I'm not certain whether my English teacher hadn't read it herself, or if she had tried and failed, or just didn't understand it. But I got an A- on the presentation.

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