You’ve seen those lists haven’t you? The 100 books you should read in your lifetime, books for the bucket list and the rest. We’ve put a fair few of these lists together for our polls section, and so through my work with this site I hear about a lot of books that I really ‘should’ read.
However, life isn’t always that simple, and a review of a book doesn’t always translate to how the book appears in print. Whether it’s writing style, or subject matter, the pace of the story or simply the opening chapters, there are always those books that we just can’t seem to get through even when we really wanted to enjoy them.
With that in mind, I started thinking about the books that are my nemesis, the books I really wanted to read and enjoy but failed to get along with. This is my shame list, my list of defeat. I’ll go back and finish them all one day, I promise!
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
I am a big pacifist, so when about ten people told me that Catch 22 is the greatest anti-war novel ever written, I had to go out and buy myself a really posh copy with a beautiful cover. I’ve started it four times, and the furthest I have got is page 118. I don’t think I will ever pick it up again. It’s beaten me. I admit defeat gracefully.
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Beloved gets such rave reviews and so it was one of the books I added to my ‘read more diverse literature TBR’. Set after the American Civil War, a time I’m interested in learning about, I was sure it would be an excellent read. Even while I was struggling with it, I was forcing myself on, wanting so badly to like it. The bookmark sits at page 143, I intend on trying again in the future, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
I love dystopia, and I love Kubrick’s fantastic vision in the movie adaptation, so this was one of those books I couldn’t wait to get a copy of! I was so excited to see how the events were portrayed in the book and how Kubrick had translated that to the screen. This is probably my biggest failure, I threw it at the wall at about page 20 and have never picked it back up (it’s not literally sitting in the corner, creased up and covered in dust, I did put it back on the shelf at least).
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
When I was a kid this was such a cult book, anyone who was anyone had read it and people used to quote great swathes of it at school. I’ve avoided a lot of similar books thanks to failing with H2G, including Pratchett
That’s just five, but I could throw some authors on the pile too, and it would be a pile with Pratchett and King at the very top! Sorry, I really wanted to like you. And that’s the thing about the entire situation, these are all great books and great authors, many of them considered classics but I just couldn’t love them no matter how many times I tried.
What are your nemesis books? The books you thought you would like but just didn’t. Let us know in the comments.