10 Books I Struggled To Finish

There are books I’ve tried reading and found so difficult that I gave up. Some are too long and the story drags, or the manipulation of time in the story is too much and I can’t keep up with where I am or where the story is taking me.

Some are just plain boring. In some books, you can tell how the author wanted to show off their wide vocab. Some are so well-written that the challenge is to have your mind sharp at all times in order to understand the language and the story, and that can be taxing and intimidating.

How many books have you started reading because they’ve been labeled, ‘The Greatest Book of All Time” or because they’re on the popular classics list? I’ve done it, and I’m sure if you read a lot you’ve probably committed that crime too. All these books were difficult for me to finish and some I promised to revisit, while some are just not for me and they belong on someone else’s shelf.

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce

It’s a highly praised novel and often called a masterpiece of Modernism. From the little bit I read, I still remember how funny and delightful it was to read. It’s also about 700 pages long and that’s where our engagement ended. I would love to try it again and maybe this time it will work out.  

2. Dubliners by James Joyce

This is a collection of fifteen short stories of which I can’t remember a single one. All I remember is how Joyce’s writing was good with bringing the reader to Dublin, through the characters, their language, their lives, and their struggles. I’m not sure if I will revisit this one.  

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I don’t know what happened here. One minute I was enjoying it and the next I got distracted and left it somewhere or lost it, and haven’t looked for another copy ever since. This was in 2017 but I do have a slight idea of where I was – where Vronsky meets Anna or something like that. I will be reading it again and probably complete it.

4. Money: Master the Game by Anthony Robbins

This one I intentionally put it aside because I reached a point where I felt it was pointless to just read and not apply. That’s all. So, I will definitely be returning to it and to get the most out of it, I’ll also be following the steps and guidance he provides. It would be pointless to read it like a novel for the sake of putting it on my ‘read’ list.

5. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I struggle with books that are heavy with prejudice, discrimination or ill-treatment of a certain group of people, especially when the book is non-fiction or based on a true story. I wanted to focus on the respect for and admiration of the women but I was struggling with what surrounded them and what they had to go through. Along the way, I just had to put it down. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to continue with it.

6. The Odyssey by Homer

I attempted it twice and I just couldn’t get past ten pages. However, after reading Mythos and since I’m about to read Heroes by Stephen Fry, I have a feeling I’ll be reading it soon. Now, I’m very interested.

7. Everything Shakespeare

I may be crucified for this one but I’ve never had an interest in reading Shakespeare’s work. I have tried and I have this huge collection of his works but I just can’t sit down and enjoy any of it. I will do a whole post on why I’ve never bothered to read Shakespeare. Coming soon.

8. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

I didn’t feel smart enough to understand it. That’s the honest truth. My husband is a physicist and he can read these kinds of books in a breath and understand it all but I was struggling. Eventually, I put it down but I would like to give it another shot.

9. Open City by Teju Cole

I don’t know about you but it’s a difficult book to read. I don’t know if I attempted to read it back when my English was too poor or what (second language speaker), but I just didn’t understand what it was about. I’m pretty sure I read more than twenty pages but I can’t even begin to explain what they were about. I do think I’ll read something else by him though.  

10. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

I don’t know why I didn’t finish this one because Dickens’s writing is excellent. I was probably not in the mood. I enjoyed Great Expectations and would love to read A Tale of Two Cities, and yes, because of its opening.

There are too many books in the world to love them all or enjoy them all. Some are to be devoured and treasured, and some are to pass along to those who’ll love them, while some shouldn’t have been written in the first place.

Which books were you unable to finish?

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