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Worthy books you have started but never finished

  1. MRC May 17, 2020

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    May I offer two?

    Isaac Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (in english translation) -- in a transatlantic flight I managed 7 pages.

    Herman Melville's Moby-Dick -- I get about halfway then my head spins too much trying to keep up. with the subtleties.

    I did get all the way through Catch 22. Once. A long time ago. A newly purchased copy is looking at me now but I'm avoiding its gaze.

     
  2. w154 May 17, 2020

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    +1 on Moby Dick. I’ve tried countless times and failed.
     
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  3. alam May 17, 2020

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    The Iliad and the Odyssey - required reading in my one of my humanities courses, I tried ....but failed miserably. The weekend before the final, I spent several hours with a classmate who explained the who, what when and where —in the best cliff-version possible way over pizza and beer, she was one good tutor and the only reason of me dealing with the total non-sense presented in that course! :p
     
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  4. MMMD unaffiliated curmudgeonly absurdist & polyologist May 17, 2020

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    Joyce’s Ulysses. There’s not enough whiskey in the world.
     
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  5. Candle00 May 17, 2020

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    Nabokov’s Lolita. Have attempted to finish this a few times over the past decade but I’m yet to succeed.
     
  6. Gyges May 17, 2020

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    I've read both the Iliad and the Odyssey in the original Greek. That's one of the few things I've achieved in life...

    Moby Dick I've tried a couple of times, but never got beyond a few pages. It's just impossible! I also read (sort of) the first chapter of Joyce's Ulysses, but I decided that's about enough for a lifetime. Plus I wasn't even twenty and hadn't found out whiskey yet.
     
  7. MRC May 17, 2020

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    If you like like Irish writers influenced by Joyce then Flann O'Brien (aka Myles na gCopaleen) is approachable (after the fourth or fifth glass).
     
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  8. MRC May 17, 2020

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    Respect!

    My education in latin was all about Caesar in Gaul and Ovid -- never enough to tackle Newton on changing the way the world is perceived to work. Could sight-read Caesar though, that's the only thing that got me through exams :whistling:
     
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  9. Togri v. 2.0 Wow! Custom title... cool May 17, 2020

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    Cicero’s Philippics. I have been about halfway through for about a year
     
  10. timoss May 17, 2020

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    Moonwatch Only (3rd edition)
     
  11. DaveK Yoda of Yodelers May 17, 2020

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    The "Longines Watches" thread here. I went from 2012 to mid-2018, then I discovered the "latest threads" function and got swept up in the banter

    Edit: I did finish Infinite Jest one summer, that massive book was as hard to put down as it was to carry around :) RIP David Foster Wallace
     
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  12. flw May 17, 2020

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    The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. I read Canto III in college and, although I was a history major, I was captivated and decided I needed to finish reading the whole thing. I've never done it - or not yet, anyway. I'll probably have the opportunity to get back to it this summer.
     
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  13. Fritz genuflects before the mighty quartzophobe May 17, 2020

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    Les Miserables, War & Peace, Moby Dick, Don Quixote and both of Homer’s epic poems were easy reads...

    i was actually disappointed when I got to the end of War and Peace, i wanted more!

    but Dickens! What is that guy’s problem... why use three words when fifty seven will do! Impossibly wordy over detailed and just plain impossible to read. Oi!
     
  14. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector May 17, 2020

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    WRUW Omega forum. Look at a few pages and down a rabbit hole I go.......
     
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  15. Skrv May 17, 2020

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    Foundation by Issac Asimov. Great book and have not been able to finish more than half.
     
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  16. 8100_RPM May 17, 2020

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    I'm glad I am not the only one that feels this way. I've started reading it multiple times and never finished. ::screwloose::
     
  17. Professor May 18, 2020

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    I had a very old unabridged second edition of Moby Dick, but unfortunately I loaned it to a friend who's house burned down destroying this and many other fine old books.
    This edition had chapters between each chapter of the story which were about the many strange things Melville had seen or knew off about the sea, such as a island chapel built inside a giant Whale skeleton.
    I can't think of any great books I have failed to finish reading, though some were set aside for years before I finished them up.
    Perhaps my collected works of William Shakespeare, not sure if I read all those yet.
    I have a collection of the apocrypha, in several volumes, that I've hardly touched, but only because I forgot where I put it. Not sure if that counts since its more of a story collection.
    These days I can only read a couple of chapters at most of any book before being overcome by sleepiness. I always muddle through to the end if it takes a month.
     
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  18. lillatroll May 18, 2020

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    Catch 22 and the first of the Henry Miller Trilogy. Lolita was a tough one but i did manage it. Finnigans Wake, god that is an awful book.
     
    Edited May 18, 2020
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  19. joeshoup May 18, 2020

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    I love Proust, and have read quite a bit of remembrance of things past... But it literally never ends and at some point you just have to skip around and read bits here and there.

    And yes, Ulysses is an incredible wonder, but my god why would anyone actually read the whole thing unless you were working on a comp lit PhD?
     
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  20. lillatroll May 18, 2020

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    This might be explained, in part, by the fact that before books were reasonably cheap, stories were printed in magazines that came out periodically. In those days Writers had the luxury of writing large e swathes of descriptive scenes because the majority of readers could only afford to read them in magazines. Also many writes used to submit their stories to magazines as an extra source of income, especially when just starting out.

    The other reason is that in the 19th century there was a move away from poetry as the main form of literature towards the realistic novel, the detailed descriptions were there as part of the story giving the reader an insight into a world they might not have access to otherwise. Dickens was a huge fan of this type of writing. He often gets criticism for his focus on character rather than plot, which is ironic, since his character portrayal is what has kept him famous for all these years.