Classic Novels I’ve Never Finished Reading

Today I returned Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ to the library.  Another classic novel returned unfinished.  I’ll watch the movie instead 🙂

I just couldn’t do it.  I thought it waffled, waverd, and diverted too much, and somewhere around the halfway mark, I thought, “Nope, I’m outta here.”

I’ve added Moby Dick to an ever expanding list of novels I will never pick up again:  Catcher in the Rye (Jesus, this guy had some problems!), Cloudstreet (I ended speed reading through it, and actually cheered when the hero suicided at the end), James Joyce’ Ulysses (nightmare), anything by Peter Carey (I’ve yet to read his Kelly Gang novel, but my previous experiences in ‘Carey Land’ have put me off wanting to read it), and War and Peace (the sheer size of this volume makes it a nightmare to cart to work and back each day).  There are many others, but my memory appears loathe to recall the titles.  

 Obviously I’m missing something in each of the above mentioned, but for the life of me I can’t think what it is?!

Not that I’m too concerned.  I like what I like, and others like what they like, ‘And so it goes’ as Kurt Vonnegutt used to say…

But once I did return to a book that I had bought, started then threw away somewhere near Chapter 3; Wilbur Smiths’ ‘When the Lion Feeds’.  I mentioned to several people that I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about, and was roundly abused by Wilbur’s fans.  So much so, that I hada re-think.  The bloke had a swag of novels, most of them bestsellers, so I concluded that there must be something in his scribbling worth looking at. 

I found the book, re-read it, and fell under Wil’s spell.  I read them all.  Then re-read some favourites.  Some of them, I ended up tossing after starting (River God) but for the most part, I remain impressed. 

Never say Never!  Who knows, I might even have another crack at Moby Dick sometime down the track… you never know.


Filed under Life & Thoughts

6 responses to “Classic Novels I’ve Never Finished Reading

  1. gee, I finished Cloudstreet and I don’t even REMEMBER the hero suiciding in the end- really? well, I obviously didn’t absorb it!

  2. gladbloke

    Struth!! Don’t tell me I got the wrong ending for the wrong book?!! I’ll have to hit the library later and check the last paragraph… for some reason I thought he was running down the jetty and leaping into the water?

    Watch this space!

  3. Tania

    Too funny that there has been Tan(ya) and Tan(ia) confusion!
    As for Cloudstreet, yes Fish (the mentally retarded boy) jumps of the pier at the end, but it was really an act of reconciliation and love……..I really enjoyed Cloudstreet but I know a lot of people who find Winton’s writing too unstructured, my sister says that his narrative style frustrates her because she finds it too rambly and she feels like it has been lazily edited! Lucky we are all different! I couldn’t get into Moby Dick either!! Not that I am in a place to judge given that my current reading is very much in the ‘junk food’ of literary choices at the moment…….mmmmm Janet Evanovichs books on Stephanie Plum the Bounty Hunter!?!? Have bought some new, more ‘high brow’ books for consumption very soon!!

  4. gladbloke

    Tan 2, there is nothing wrong with ready junk food books… I always keep a couple on hand, Penny Dreadfuls I think my old mate used to call them. Larry and Stretch westerns, detective novels, trashy sci-fi. Sometimes it’s just good to enjoy a rollicking yarn without having to think too much!

  5. Coxy

    Greg, it’s interesting to hear you had more fun with “When the Lion Feeds” the second time around. To date it’s the only Wilbur Smith book I’ve read and, although I made the effort to finish it, I immediately added poor Wilbur to the list of authors that induce in me a full body shiver.
    I might give it another crack. You never know, perhaps age will have changed my tastes somewhat!

    • gladbloke

      Yeah Coxy,

      You wouldn’t believe how hard it was for me to pick that book up again… but I’m glad I did. Some of his later stuff has left me a bit cold though. I’m not going to mention the titles here, because WS fans get a bit touchy 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s