Books I Started but Never Finished

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I just can’t finish a book. In order to finish a book, I have to be motivated to read it. Occasionally, I’ll start a book I was hoping to like, but at some point, I can’t see myself going forward with it. As a bookworm, I often feel like this is me breaking some sacred code. As a lover of literature, I’m supposed to dedicate myself to the books I choose, and not give up on them.

When deciding to give up on a book, I have to really consider why I’m doing it. Is it because I’m not understanding the material? Am I uninterested in the topic? Is it the author and really not me? What’s the deal? I find myself going through a series of emotions to figure out what’s wrong. Choosing to put down a book I’ve already started makes me feel unaccomplished, but it happens and I’m not going to pretend I haven’t done it a lot. Here are 6 books I started but never finished. 

1) Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is a strong voice in feminist literature. When picking this book up, I was excited, because I had heard a lot of great things about Gay. I think I read about 80 pages or so before I had to put it down. The book is written essay-style, so there are different parts, and you don’t have to go in order. I went in order, but I found it couldn’t hold my interest. There were a lot of spot on and true sections that Gay went into, especially talking about the TV show, Girls. I was disheartened that I couldn’t get more into it, but I found it dry.   

2) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 

After the success of the Lord of the Rings films, I thought I’d give it a try before The Hobbit movie release. I believe I read 5-10 pages and couldn’t continue. There were honestly so many descriptors that I couldn’t keep up. Every time I read a few sentences, I felt like I had to go back and reread it. I really wanted to have read the classic, but I found it difficult to grasp everything at once. 


3) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman 

I saw the crappy movie adaptations of the first novel in Pullman’s series and knew that the book had to be infinitely better. I did some research on the series and was interested in the multiple universes, the different fantasy elements, and the way theology was tied into the story. I was hooked from the description, but unfortunately, much like The Hobbit, couldn’t understand what was going on. It’s difficult to immerse yourself in a brand new world, but I don’t know if it was because I was younger and couldn’t grasp this one, or if the writing was actually too complicated.


4) Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

I have followed Issa Rae since her Youtube show, Awkward Black Girl all the way until her HBO series, Insecure, which premiered last Fall. Issa is hilarious, honest, and just all around real about life situations. Her memoir details her experiences growing up, having an internet boyfriend, and ultimately detailing how she got to where she is. I read about halfway through, but couldn’t finish! I expected it to be funnier but was a little disappointed that it read like an essay. I struggled to combat my love for Issa and my unwillingness to finish the book. Needless to say, I didn’t finish. 


5) Moby-Dick by Herman Melville 

Melville’s classic was assigned in one of my English classes, and it just couldn’t grab my interest. I enjoyed the beginning, but couldn’t get past the endless discussion about whaling. I don’t even think we were required to read the entire book, but just certain parts. I couldn’t even achieve that.


6) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

This was a classic that I could put down. I could put it down, away, out of sight, never to be revisited. I couldn’t understand the hoity-toity English that was used throughout and found it uninteresting. Having seen the movie, loved it, and expecting the book to be better, I am one of those non-Austen admirers who couldn’t do it.

Well, I have spilled the beans on myself. You can call me un-bookwormy, a saboteur, a witch, I don’t care. I like what I like and what I don’t like, I put back on the shelf, give away, or sell. What books were you unable to get through?  


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