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When a book becomes boring

  1. Oct 19, 2009 #1
    I'm half way through reading a book which is part of the classic literature books. The ratings are off the charts on Amazon, the author got a Nobel price in literature, and I was recommended to read this five years ago but never got a chance. Anyways the first half is so utterly boring I cannot, for the life of me, look at another page. I spent the last 30 min reading seven pages and finally said no way. Naturally, I should just drop the book completely, and read a dozen or so books I'm so eager to read. However it doesn't feel right to not finish what you started. In a situation like this, how do you motivate yourself to plow through?
     
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  3. Oct 19, 2009 #2

    Office_Shredder

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    Put it down and read a different book. Then come back to it... sometimes you just need to take a break and try again later
     
  4. Oct 20, 2009 #3
    Heavens, why torture yourself with a book just because someone else says you should? Life is too short. I say, get back to the books that you know interest you. It's fine to try something new, of course, but halfway through is enough to know. I've put down books after the first few pages sometimes. I know there is a better one waiting. (I do have the advantage of having a great library system here).

    I don't know know what book you are referring to, maybe it's the latest Great American Novel for all I know, but it seems to me that some book reviews just perpetuate themselves, like some bad art, by pretentious people who need to sound smart and are following the leader.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2009 #4
    What book is it?

    If you really feel as though you ought to finish the book then finish it. Just do it. I put down Don Quixote a couple of times before finally finishing it years later. I restarted it from the beginning and just didn't allow myself to stop. But I really wanted to read that. If you don't really want to read the book then forget it.

    Some times it is good to read books that are of a major cultural or historical significance even if you are not particularly fond of it yourself. Many of the classics are referenced in other books and in film. For example the reason I had such an issue with Don Quixote is because it consistently references the 'classics' of its time most of which I know little to nothing about (the bible for example).
     
  6. Oct 20, 2009 #5
    I'd be interested, too, to know which book is giving you such grief, waht.

    I read quite a bit, fiction and non. Classics that I'm reading for the sake of "reading classics" I'll give a bit more leeway than current popular work simply because I'm reading it because I think I should. (Doing some background research into older, classic works helps a great deal. When you have the setting in history in which the book was written in hand and some context with regard to literary criticisms of the work, it generally goes a long way to giving you an appreciation for the work that you might not otherwise have. In other words, you know what you're looking at and looking for.)

    Sometimes, I'm just not in the mood for a book, so I put it aside and come back another time. Sometimes it catches fire with me and sometimes not.

    As far as popular fiction goes, the stuff that "everyone's reading" and you just "must read", if it doesn't grab me, I put it aside and leave it. There are too many other great authors whose work I know I enjoy, too much other really good stuff out there to waste my time forcing myself through something I'm not enjoying. It's got to be pretty bad, though, because I almost always finish books once I've started. However, there was one that springs to mind, The Life of Pi that won all sorts of awards, was a best seller for a long time, came with all sorts of rave reviews, and it just wasn't gelling with me. I got half-way through and moved on to something else. Sometimes, it just happens. And, yes, seerongo said, life's too short.
     
  7. Oct 20, 2009 #6

    arildno

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    I will try to find out who waht is thinking of:

    First off, poets and historians don't count, so that leaves out Sully Prudhomme (1901) and Theodor Mommsen (1902).

    Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsson (1903) IS very boring, but he hasn't got any rave reviews on Amazon.com.

    Taking all the others into account, I think waht is referring to "Growth of the Soil" by Knut Hamsun (1920).
     
  8. Oct 20, 2009 #7

    FredGarvin

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    That is the quintessential definition of a "classic."

    Classic: “A classic is a book which people praise and don't read.” - Mark Twain

    Or the corollary to that:
    Classic: A book that everyone wishes they read but don't want to read.
     
  9. Oct 20, 2009 #8
    It's The Plague by Albert Camus. I read his two other books and they were great. However this is one dull, where death dominates every page - for example: 150 people died today, 200 yesterday, but the newspaper is lying about the actual figure of 900 people who have vomited their guts out that week and then it repeats the same scenario over and over again ad-nauseam.
    That's some good advice there, but I almost never do that.
    You had 1/106 chance of guessing the correct author. :smile:
    ahh!!!, Twain being way ahead of his time again...
     
  10. Oct 20, 2009 #9
    I have developed a tactic for surviving boring books. It may sound like craziness to many, but I find it very helpful....

    Skim until you find something interesting. It is a method of creating an abridged copy of a book without feeling like someone else is editing out something you find interesting.
    I am normally a reader who reads every word, but some books really don't hold my interest that well. If the book is bad enough you can catch the main points without having to toil through the sometimes painful details that the author may have burdened his book with.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2009 #10

    DavidSnider

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    I once tried to read "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco when I was a teenager on the recommendation of a friend, but I absolutely could not get through it. Way over my head.

    Picked up again about a decade later and it was pretty good.

    Can't say the same for "The Lord of the Rings". Even the movie made me fall asleep.
     
  12. Oct 20, 2009 #11

    lisab

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    The last book I read like that was The English Patient. I simply willed myself to finish it...it was torture.
     
  13. Oct 20, 2009 #12

    arildno

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    Actually, I've read "Remembrance of Things Past" by Marcel Proust.

    I found it quite enjoyable, but a bit short. :smile:
     
  14. Oct 20, 2009 #13
    "Silas Marner" by George Eliot is the most boring book I have ever read.
     
  15. Oct 20, 2009 #14
    It's not easy. LOL! :smile: I've been reading off and on for the past year the Chronicles of the Hudson - Three Centuries of Travelers' Accounts by Roland Van Zandt. I need to finish reading it, since I'm in need of completing a fictional novel that has to contain historical facts. :biggrin: Your question inspired me onward. Thanks! :biggrin:
     
  16. Oct 20, 2009 #15

    arildno

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    Have any Americans ever read "Moby Dick" beyond the obligatory calling of Ishmael??
     
  17. Oct 20, 2009 #16

    turbo

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    I forget the title, but when I was in elementary school, I was a precocious reader, and my 6th-grade teacher assigned me a book by W. Somerset Maugham. I could not make myself plow through that crap. I thought my teacher was going to be mad, but she was pretty understanding. I had already plowed through a lot of novels by Twain, Dickens, Verne, Melville, etc, so she knew that it wasn't laziness on my part.

    When I was 10, my parents bought a house from a widower who traveled in construction work. He left the place partially furnished, including a home-made bookshelf in my room (a walk-in closet) filled with very cheaply-printed editions of classic literature. I had my very own library! Small, but high-quality. That little book-club collection set a pretty high bar and Maugham didn't make the cut.
     
  18. Oct 20, 2009 #17

    arildno

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    Somerset Maugham has a subtle irony going through his stories. I think you would appreciate him better now than back then.
     
  19. Oct 20, 2009 #18

    turbo

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    Yes! That was one of the books in my little personal library. I found out later that the novel was based on the true story of the wreck of the Essex - a quaker-owned whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a white sperm whale named Mocha Dick after the Mocha Islands, the waters of which his pod frequented.

    The crew-members jumped into the small whaling-boats to save themselves, but the boats became separated, and the members that survived the ordeal had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. They could have made it to the Marquesas, but they feared being captured and eaten by cannibals, so they undertook a longer voyage toward South America, only to have to resort to cannibalism, themselves. One of the first to be killed and eaten was a young cabin boy (Owen Coffin) who drew the short straw.
     
  20. Oct 20, 2009 #19
    Woah what? What book is this? It sounds something like Life of Pi and that book IMO was amazing.
     
  21. Oct 20, 2009 #20

    turbo

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    I was just explaining that the madness and megalomania of Captain Ahab was extrapolated from a real-life incident. The survivors were quite disturbed, including the first mate, Owen Chase, who hoarded food compulsively later in his life. Melville heard the tale of the Essex and the white whale from Chase's son, and that was the seed for Moby Dick.
     
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