Everyone has a shelf of those books you never could finish. You maybe got through the first chapter and got bored, or maybe, for various reasons, got halfway through and couldn’t finish. Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly reasonable and happens to everyone. Here are five I could not finish and put down permanently.
1. The Silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien
This book could best be described as the bible of Middle Earth. Unfortunately, J.R.R Tolkien passed away before he completed the novel, leaving the story in a state of disarray. However, the novel being a chaotic read is not the reason I couldn’t finish it. For some reason Tolkien felt the need to go over the lineage of every single character he introduced. This lead to a whole lot of sentences mentioning the son whoever and the descendant of this guy.
Look, the I loved the original Lord of The Rings trilogy, but this has to be the most difficult and dense book I have ever read. The Silmarillion just kind of goes on and on and at various points doesn’t appear to have any point to it. The end result of all of this was that I, and I’m betting thousands of other readers also, didn’t finish it.
2. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
I’m going to start this out by saying I love President Obama. The guy sat at a Bulls game and plays golf with Steph Curry, so he’s obviously cool. But this book was just so boring and a drag to get through. Maybe I’m just not a fan of memoirs, but being dragged through just about every detail of his life was just excruciating. Granted back then I was in high school and I could probably get through it now, but even then it’s in the the air. The little I skimmed through sounded slightly interesting, but at the end of the day I just couldn’t get through it.
3. The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori by Mark Ravina
I mentioned in the description above that I don’t particularly care for memoirs. Well… apparently the same goes for biographies. This is probably why I didn’t finish the definitive biography of Saigo Takamori. Although I was very interested in the key figure in Japanese history, I just couldn’t find it in me to get through this book in it’s entirety. To be fair, I was 12 and this isn’t the type of book most middle school kids will read. But I thought at the time that this was absolutely something I could take on. Boy was I wrong. Maybe I’ll come back to it some other day.
4. Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai by Tsunetoma Yamamoto
A philosophy book written by a samurai in exile during the 18th century. To this day, it remains a highly influential book among Japanese businessmen. Regardless, I think I got through one chapter of this book before I had to call it quits. Now, I’m interested in Japanese history and philosophy, but boy is this book hard to get through. What makes Hagakure particularly difficult is the fact that it doesn’t read like an actual book. Rather it feels more like you’re reading through someone’s notes and journals. The good news is you’re able to get through pages in Hagakure pretty quickly, but you don’t feel like you’re actually getting through the book.
5. Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
This is the only book on this list that I am seriously considering trying to go back and finish. This classic tale is known in some capacity by all children. It is the tale of King Arthur written with completely different diction than what most are used to (and it’s a surprisingly slow read).
Although I love the story of Arthur and generally have a soft spot for epic tales, I couldn’t get through Le Morte d’Arthur. Maybe it was because I was a lot younger and didn’t have the patience to appreciate such works of storytelling. Or maybe it’s because it’s written in a version of English I no longer have to deal with.
I know I’m not the only one that didn’t pick up a book and put it down before finishing. What books have you left on the table never to be touched again?
YouTube Channel: Effusions of Wit
Featured image via Bustle