Books I Can’t Read

Some books I have tried to read multiple times, but I just can’t make it through them. For this, I am ashamed of myself, because practically everyone else seems to think they are great reads.

I have never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I slogged my way through The Hobbit a long time ago but didn’t like it and was glad to have “gotten it over with.” I tried several times to read the first Lord of the Rings novel and never could. I put it down, shaking my head in disgust each time. Not because of the author or the book, but because of me. This is such a great book. Everyone loves this series. It’s supposedly full of Catholic symbolism. Why the hell can’t I like it? Even the movies fall flat for me. I saw the entirety of the third one, but it made no sense because I hadn’t seen the previous two. Also, it was Way. Too. Long.

I also tried to read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, which is supposed to be another great Catholic novel. Couldn’t get into it. Short stories by Flannery O’Connor confuse me, and she’s another great Catholic author. (Actually, short stories in general confuse me. By the time they’re over, I’m like… WTF just happened?)

What’s even worse is books that I did read but didn’t comprehend (or only partially comprehended) because the language was so difficult. Proust comes to mind, as well as certain things by Dickens. How can I call myself an English major if I have such a hard time with these books?

To be honest, I spend a lot of time feeling guilty because I’m not an “intelligent” or “intellectual” reader. I don’t have the mental energy for something complicated, where I have to figure out the meaning behind all the symbolism and hunt for the metaphors that are buried in all these great classics. I have a lot of these kinds of books sitting on shelves in the apartment, but I think I’ll end up donating them. Might as well face the facts. I doubt I will ever read them. (And I need the space for baby and children’s books anyway. Baby Cheep Cheep. Now that’s an easy read!)

Ever started a book you just couldn’t get through?

2 thoughts on “Books I Can’t Read”

  1. You shouldn’t be ashamed that t embarrassed by the books you can’t finish. I struggle with many books people consider classics. Although I have read Lord of the Rings many times. 😉

    There are far too many good stories and great novels that work for you or for any reader. The ones that don’t, just don’t. And you hit the reason why — if it’s too difficult to read, it’s hard to keep going. It’s why the classics typically don’t work for me.

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