The Most Abandoned Books Ever Which Deserve to Be Finished
Too long, too full-bodied, too rich in references and learned quotations. But the effort is worth it.
It has happened to everyone to find themselves in this situation at least once. Someone – passionate reader or unwelcome relative – asks you the dreaded question: “Have you ever read ***?”. And you can’t help but answer, “Well, I started it, but I never got to the end because (some excuse or turn of phrase not to say it bored the hell out of you)”.
There was once a time when you could have gone through a quarter of “War and Peace” yes and no, filling in the gaps on the rest with some summary, and that was enough to consider the book read. But with the advent of e-books, the Internet and mass media, these glorious days are just a memory. There is nothing to be ashamed of, even the most avid readers on the planet have not finished a book or two.
Several teams of experts – including those from Goodreads, Kobo and Amazon – have conducted research and surveys to find out which are the most abandoned novels ever. Some of the titles that appear in the lists may surprise you; others, however, we are sure that you may be familiar. With all the books that exist in the world, and the new ones that come out every day, we will never tire of repeating that persisting in reading one in particular, if it really does not convince you, does not make much sense.
However, there are some books, especially classics, which deserve an extra effort. Picking up a piece of Bustle, here are the most abandoned novels ever that you no doubt might consider picking up again someday.
The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
“The Lord of the Rings” is a novel of adventures in remote and terrible places, of episodes of inexhaustible joy, of scary secrets that are revealed little by little, of cruel dragons and walking trees, of cities of silver and of diamond not far from dark necropolises in which live beings that frighten just to name them, of luminous and dark armies. All this in an imaginary world but reconstructed with meticulous care, and indeed absolutely plausible, because behind its symbols hides a reality that lasts beyond and despite history: the struggle, without respite, between good and evil.
Abandoned Because: This is one of the surprising titles given the worldwide following that history has had and continues to have. But probably the high dropout rate is linked to all those ballads… That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Ballads in themselves are beautiful, but seeing them written in black and white for pages and pages and not being able to listen to them makes reading a tad tiring. Perhaps a good way to overcome the obstacle is to try to mentally sing it to you, it will be worth it. Tolkien’s world is so rich that you will really feel like you are a part of it once you finish the book.
Paragraph 22, Joseph Heller
The expression Paragraph 22, thanks to this book, has become an emblem of military absurdity and dementia. The protagonist is the anti-heroic American bomber Yossarian, obsessed with the fact that thousands of unknown people, to whom he personally has done nothing, continually try to end his days. The novel is populated by extravagant and irreparably maniacal characters, who in the zealous application of martial discipline ridicule the iron and mad logic of Paragraph 22.
Abandoned because: “Paragraph 22” is one of those books that are not read with a light heart, you need concentration – because the events are not in order, the answers to some questions come after pages and pages, to really understand the events you need to put together the pieces, things are told at different times and from different perspectives. Add to this the content that is anything but happy and you will understand why it is not an easy book. But once you finish it… you will understand that it was worth it!
Ulysses, James Joyce
It is the story of the events experienced in the course of a day by Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin, in a wandering that retraces the stages of the Odyssey. Episodes, scenes and facts are constructed with more or less evident parallelism with respect to the Homeric work. The novel, however, does not end in this, it also wants to be a “summa” of all aspects of modern man and his relations with society.
Abandoned Because: Probably THE hard-to-read book par excellence. Although the story narrated covers only twenty-four hours, Joyce’s masterpiece is complex from all points of view (style, language, imagery). But think that in Dublin every year there is a festival dedicated only to this novel, during which there is also a reading marathon of over 28 hours. Maybe it could be the right occasion to get to the end…
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Ishmael, who embarks as a sailor together with an Indian harpooneer on the Pequod whaling ship, tells you firsthand about his adventure. The captain of the ship, Ahab, a dark character who inspires respect and fear in his men, has lost a leg to the white whale Moby Dick and now wants to take revenge, no matter what. Thus began a long hunt.
Abandoned because: Again, it is easy to understand why so many readers throw in the towel: pages and pages of digressions related to life at sea, navigation, whales. After a while you go crazy. Getting to the reading prepared is a good way to approach it on the right foot – try to consider the digressions as very long notes, it can help. And even if you may never love the story, “Moby Dick” is one of the cornerstones of literature of all time, so after you finish it you cannot fail to regard it with respect.
The Great Gatsby, FS Fitzgerald
The young Nick Carraway, narrator of the novel, moves to New York in the summer of 1922. He rents a house on prestigious and dreamy Long Island, teeming with new rich desperately busy celebrating each other. A neighbor strikes Nick in a particular way: it is a mysterious Jay Gatsby, who lives in a huge and flashy house, filling it every Saturday night with guests to his extravagant parties. Yet he lives in desperate loneliness and will fall foolishly in love with Nick’s married cousin, Daisy…
Abandoned because: One of the victims of school, especially in English-speaking countries. You hear about it so much among the desks, that then you are unable to face the reading in a serene way and you end up putting it away, perhaps hating it (a bit like what often happens to the “Promessi sposi” in Italy). To be reconsidered once the maturity is reached.