Here’s the newest version of my personal topten of books I never finished reading.
Goedel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter [GEB]
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoi [AK]
Der Zauberberg by Thomas Mann [Z]
The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein [MA]
Ulysses by James Joyce [U]
Divina Comedia by Dante Alighieri [DC]
Die Traumdeutung by Sigmund Freud [T]
Wilhelm Meister by Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe [WM]
The second sex by Simone de Beauvoir [SS]
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo [M]
So I quit GEB because I got bored in the middle and I started studying computer science which was way more interesting. When I started reading AK I think I was too young and I quit because I just could not grasp what should be interesting about the whole story and the book was simply too long. I quit reading Zauberberg after several chapters of showing goodwill but I just don’t like Thomas Mann’s writing. I was probably too young for that one. Btw I quit the Buddenbrooks on the first page 🙂 With MA I never got beyond the introduction, it’s just too damn hard to read. At the time I had read a Gertrude Stein biography and was a huge fan of Hemingway et al so I thought I’d give it a try, well I gave it a try and quit. I am still reading a couple of pages in Ulysses each year. Sometimes I just open the book to enjoy a few pages somewhere in the middle or toward the end. I’ll finish that one one day. I got through two thirds of the Divina Comedia, I quit when he came to paradise. I liked reading about the sins the people committed but the good ones were kind of boring. Sigmund Freud is really exciting that’s probably why I quit after chapter one. I am really a fan of Goethe but WM didn’t get me like the rest. So I quit after like 10 pages. Maybe I should start again some time. I love Simone de Beauvoir’s other works, well I read several of the novels, but this one was more than I could take on. It’s like reading a scientific text for a course at university, and there are probably many people that have to read this for university. Oh well but I could quit so I did. Well the problem with Les Mis was I read it in French. Tried to.
I have more unread books than you would believe. But maybe one of these days I’ll be writing about my very favorite books. Anyhow I got this because American Gods was being discussed on my all-time favorite mailinglist (Unknown Armies if you want to know) …. someone asked wether he should quit reading or if it was getting any better toward the end.