ZZZZzzzz: Ten Books We Couldn’t Finish


My home is filled with books. Books on shelves, books overflowing shelves, books on my nightstand, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, on the floor. Most I manage to get through, if not always enjoy. I am a big believer in seeing it through.  Most of my friends feel the same way. AND YET… there are always a few that we just cannot seem to finish.  Some are classics that we know we should complete before the inevitable Rise of the Librarians comes to quiz us with tasers. Others are books friends raved about….or best sellers that have evoked a lot of fuss…for no reason YOU can discern.

Whatever the reason, here are confessions of my well-read friends and colleagues, many of them English professors, so I will have to give them Code Names so their students never find out their dark, dark, secrets.


1.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Dense passage about the physiognomy of whales: the poor man’s Ambien.  We all know that this should be read. And many of us keep trying. It’s our own…. yeah, you guessed it… Moby Dick (Insert groaning here.)


2.  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

More Viggo Mortensen would have made this seemingly-endless series more interesting for me. Skipping the endless “songs” moves things right along though. Save yourself some time and listen to some Zep to catch up on everything you need to know about what you glossed over.


3.  Paradisio by Dante Alighieri 

Another popular snooze-fest, this comment sums up our feelings in general:

 “I can’t finish Paradisio. The torments of The Inferno and even Purgatorio appeal to my sense of schadenfreude, but people in heaven and Beatrice? BO-RING.”


4.  Anything by Stephen King 

I must say, in King’s defense, that his text On Writing  is one of my favorites. However, King, to me, and many others, is like the Costco of literature. Do you really need that giant box of paper towels? Or that giant stack of largely interchangeable plots and characters?


5.  Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Y’all need to get out more.


6.  Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Not even my love for hot, mentally unstable professorial crazy guys can get me through Infinite Jest. Lordy, how I’ve tried.


6.  A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

I am beginning to think that I won’t buy anymore books by authors with three names… serial killer have three names too… neither has a positive outcome.


7.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Howls of outrage, I know. Please don’t wake me with your yammering about him.


8.   The Life and Opinions of  Tristram Shandy by Laurence Stern

I remain convinced that no one ever reads this for pleasure (you are a liar, sir… yes, you over there. LIAR!) and it exists only on graduate school syllabi to weed out the weenies among us.


9.  Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

He-Who-Snubbed-the-Mighty-Oprah… Jonathan Franzen. The last time I went to the clearance aisle at Half Price Books, there were at least a half a dozen hardback copies going for a whopping $3.00.  Hey, that’s was beer that was sitting on our shelves doing nothing! Cute bird, though.


10.  Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson 

Though it was amusing to read Clarissa defending her virtue WHILE writing in her diary, at 808 pages, this relic from graduate school currently serves a a doorstop in my bedroom. True story.

All right, readers. Confession time. What books have YOU never managed to complete? C’mon. We won’t judge you! Much…