Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books that were hard to read for various reasons




OK, I found eight books that I struggled through, for whatever reason.  Click on titles for additional opinion about each book.

1. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison

This is my first choice because it was so difficult, content-wise, that I only read one chapter - which took a week to suffer through; and I am so sure that I will never try it again.  It sucked the joy of reading right out of me.


2. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

I have no explanation for this one.  I just loathed reading every second of it.   And if you think the book is weird, try watching the movie version, "Apocalypse Now." 


I almost did not complete this one - a really unique and strange way to tell a story.   A lot of people enjoy it, but I was like, "Get to the point!"


4. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

This one was like hearing little voices in your head, but instead you are reading the subconscious minds of several characters.

5. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ugh!  I felt like I was stuck in a Frida Kahlo painting.


6. Possession - A.S. Byatt

Got through it, but it never kept my attention.  Mystery, romance, Greek mythology, and poetry all wrapped up in an epistolary novel.  Wah-la! 

7. Persuasion - Jane Austen

It's an Austen.  I struggled with it because it was way over my head, and I could not appreciate it as I wanted to.  But someday I hope to give it another go.  


8. The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James

Mr. James made me so irate over one single character, You-Know-Who!  I hated him so much, that I scowled throughout the reading of this book.  (Talk about effective writing! He's only a fictional character, Girl.  Get over it!)

20 comments:

  1. Could you please go into more detail as to why you didn't like One Hundred Years of Solitude? I haven't read it but since the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez I've wanted to try reading a book by a non-Caucasian/non-European/non-American author. All I know is that it contains magical realism. Is the writing confusing? Does the magic get in the way of an otherwise "realistic" story? Thanks.

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    1. Fariba, If you click on the title link, it will take you to my post about it. It's not bad, but it just did not grab me and keep me. It was really, really strange and odd and unrealistic; and if you don't mind that, then you may love it. Many people do. I admit in my review that it has a beautiful quality about it, and I admit it was worth the read overall. But be prepared for a magical, mystical journey through Marquez's wild imagination about the world and life.

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  2. I tried to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. I'm not sure I even got through the first chapter. I remember being really bored.

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  3. I thought I was the only one in the world that couldn't get through a Toni Morrison book. I tried it on audio too and just couldn't do it. I really had a hard time with Virginia Wolf also.

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    1. Nope, you are not alone. I've heard other complaints, too.

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  4. Mrs. Dalloway gave me headaches. And Persuasion is my favorite Austen -- if you want to participate in a read-along of it early next year, a friend of mine plans to host one probably in January. I'm sure I'll be posting about that in the future, with links and stuff, once she's got her plans laid and all.\

    I haven't tried any of the rest of these, nor are they on my TBR list. Might read Portrait of a Lady some day.

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    1. I am definitely interested in rereading Persuasion, and a read-along may be even more encouraging and informative.

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  5. I've never read any of these except for Persuasion, which I love. Might I suggest another try? :-)

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    1. Sophia, I am definitely interested in trying Persuasion again b/c I was disappointed that I did not appreciate it as I had expected. So, I told myself that it was worth a reread.

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  7. I had to suffer through Heart of Darkness (and subsequently Apocalypse Now) for three separate classes - one in high school, two in college. It definitely made my list!!

    My list: http://sarahcantstopreading.blogspot.com/2014/09/top-ten-books-that-were-hard-for-me-to.html

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    1. Shocking that you had so many professors who found it worthy to make it part of your studies. And Apocalypse Now was ten times worse than the book. So sorry to hear this!

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  8. I still haven't finished If On A Winter's Night ...... gaaah!

    I did attempt The Heart of Darkness once and gave up but I'm determined to give it another try.

    I liked Woolf's little voices in my head, especially the ones from To The Lighthouse, but Mrs. Dalloway was pretty good too. Perhaps she's an acquired taste. Normally I wouldn't like books like that but Woolf's have been a pleasant surprise.

    I notice most of your "trouble" books are recent classics. That supports my inclination to stick with the oldies-but-goodies. Well, perhaps with a more modern classic thrown in occasionally .......

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    1. I am still open to more Woolf. I do want to try To the Lighthouse.

      And, yes, contemporary classics tend to be my nemesis.

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    2. *inserts shameless To the Lighthouse endorsement*

      Interesting list you got here, especially your number one pick. I read Bluest Eye earlier this year and it was fantastic. She does deal with difficult, often disturbing and controversial subject matter but her prose is dazzling; there is a raw, unflinching quality to her writing that is most admirable. I'm not sure if that is the same case with "Song for Solomon" but your aversion towards it makes me want to read it even more.

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    3. The thing that put me off was that it was too poetic and I couldn't follow or enjoy it. I had no idea what was happening, and that frustrated me. I couldn't understand why it had to be so weird! Then add the curse words and the raw material, and I was done. Granted, I've given other books a chance w/ their content and language, but it was because I could understand the plot. So, maybe you'll appreciate Song of Solomon better than I did if you don't mind the weirdness.

      P.S. Yes, I want to read To the Lighthouse for certain. Thanks.

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  9. I'm trying to think of a contemporary classic that I just love ......... I'm still thinking ......... ;-)

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  10. Mrs. Dalloway actually sounds intriguing to me, probably my psychology interest rearing its head (subconscious voices?? ooh.) But then again, many books have great concepts but ultimately fall short.

    I remember taking a stab at Persuasion about a year before I eventually did read it through. My eyes were crossing just looking at the language of Chapter 1 (way over my head too, apparently.) It worked out after reading Northanger Abbey; but it definitely makes me think Austen's writing must have developed a lot more complexity by the time she wrote Persuasion. Absolutely worth another read, though, if you ask me. =)

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    1. If you like that "stream of consciousness" style, then you'll love Mrs. Dalloway. And I think Persuasion was Austen's final novel, so yeah, she definitely matured in her style by then. Definitely worth another try.

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