Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.
They say the path to heaven is paved with good intentions. My particular path, wherever it may lead, is paved with unfinished books. I’m a relentless giver upper. I’d like to think that I’m better than I used to be, that I’m much more inclined to persevere with a book that I’m not enjoying, but I’m not sure if that’s really true. As proof all I can say is that I’ve not given up on a book this year. That’s pretty good, non?
The TTT theme this week is actually all about series I didn’t finish but, for me, that’s just demoralising. I can’t think of ten series I did finish so I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number I gave up on. I decided that a list of unfinished standalone novels might be less alarming and would make me feel like less of a failure.
1. The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This got left on the backburner for nearly eleven years, which is quite shocking when you consider how much I enjoyed the little I read. It won’t be on the unfinished list for long as I’m currently giving it another try. [See here for the latest update].
2. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. If this was a competition To The Lighthouse would win hands down. I must have started this book, and cast it aside, at least five times. The first chapter is so familiar it’s like an old friend. If only I could get past it!
3. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Since giving up on this I’ve listened to the radio play and read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (which I loved). They’ve convinced me that I didn’t give War And Peace a fair chance before and I need to go back and try again.
4. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. I was so desperate to love this but couldn’t get beyond a third of the way through, both times I tried. It’s still on my shelf, waiting for that third (and hopefully final) attempt.
5. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. In all honesty, I probably won’t give this another shot. Maybe I’ll try the audio book instead. If I can stay awake long enough. Yawn.
6. A Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James. Thanks to Mr James I now have a morbid fear of long, convoluted sentences that lead nowhere. They bring me out in a cold sweat. I’ve kept this book in the hope that one day I’ll conquer that fear.
7. The Master And Margherita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I still want to read this but it was just the wrong book at the wrong time. Sometimes if you fancy a light read, read something light. Don’t force yourself to read an epic piece of Soviet satire. Lesson learned.
8. The Magus by John Fowles. We just didn’t get on, The Magus and I. It was too vague, too clever, too postmodern…. and I got annoyed.
9. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. My friend N always raves about how much he loves Murakami but I just don’t get it. I’ve tried. I really have.
10. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Am I really the only person who didn’t enjoy Cloud Atlas? Maybe there’s something wrong with me.
I am genuinely quite sad that I’ve never finished some of these; others, not so much.