There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reading a good book. Breathlessly turning the pages to find out what happens next or finding that next great sentence or paragraph. Books that remind you why you love reading so much.
And then there is the other side of the coin with books that are a struggle to get through. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) looks at the books we had a hard time making it all the way to the end.
- The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King. It pains me to have to say this, but the first installment of Stephen King’s epic series was difficult for me to get through. A fantastic opening line and some great world-building are what saved it for me. But I still had a hard time getting through it the first time or two I tried.
- The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I enjoyed Albertalli’s first novel and was looking forward to her second. But as I listened to the audiobook of The Upside of Unrequited, I found myself becoming frustrated with the story and the characters. It didn’t have the charm and appeal that Simon did.
- Dune: House Atreidies by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert. This applies to a lot of the Dune spin-off books that have hit the shelves in the last twenty years. I love the original Dune (it’s one of my favorite novels) and the idea of a prequel to the story seemed like a good idea. But the prequels by Anderson and Herbert have left me cold, to the point that I don’t bother picking them up any more.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Assigned reading in high school and a novel that I just had to force myself to read, much less finish. I didn’t love it then and I’m not inclined to try it again to see if I might have a different take on it as an older reader.
- Robots and Empire by Issac Asimov. Toward the end of his life, Issac Asimov started to tie the universes of several of his popular book series together. The result are hit or miss. While I loved Robots of Dawn, I found the next installment of the Robot novels to be a huge miss. It’s a bit dry and while it builds to an interesting zero-th law of Robotics, I can’t say it was necessarily worth the ride to get there.
- The Cat Who Walked Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein. Another giant of the sci-fi world that I struggled to get through. From Heinlein’s later novels, I never could quite connect with this one. I’ve tried several times with limited success to make it all the way to the end.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, it pains me to say that I’ve never made it through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not for lack of trying, though. But I just can never make it past the mid-point of book two without feeling like we’re seeing every tree on every branch of every tree described in far too much detail. You can send your hate mail to me or leave it in the comments below.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Another assigned reading from my student days that I struggled to get through. Again, I wonder if it might be worth visiting again, but I have such negative memories of it that I am not sure I can or want to try.
- Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite novels. And while I was intrigued by follow-up novel, I don’t think Watchman was much to write home about. It had its moments, but it never really grabbed me and enthralled me like Mockingbird did.
So, there’s my list. I’m sure I’ll think of a few more once I hit the publish button.