If you weren’t living under a rock like me, then you must know “DNF” means “Did Not Finish” in the book-community.
It’s kinda blasphemous if you label a “classic” book- boring.
However, with the below listed “classic” books- I swore to myself “Never Again” and dnf them.
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Publication date: 1853
Genre: Fiction, Romance
This is the first book of Charlotte Brontë I’ve had the
misfortune to pick up.
There were many elements in this book for me to fall in love with it.
The protagonist Lucy Snowe is independent (not in terms of earning but also in thinking), waving the “feminism” flag high in the socially constricted England (and later, Belgium) during the first-half of 19th century.
Then what went wrong?
The bloody pace.
The story unfolded like a snail and after finishing less than 1/3 of the book, I grew an irresistible urge to grow a magic-eye like Mad-Eye Moody in HP and rotate it 360-degree to know-
if anything remotely-interesting happening in the city Villette than this dull life Lucy was living.
Book: Howards End
Author: E. M. Forster
Publication date: 1910
Genre: British Literature, Fiction
The backdrop was England in the turn-of-the-20th century and clash of three different families colliding in terms of- ideology, social conventions, and riches.
The Schlegel sisters– high-spirited, bohemian and intelligent. “Neither here nor there” for their half-German ancestry.
The Wilcoxes– orthodox & capitalist.
Leonard Bast– a social-climber struggling clerk.
This is my deduction after stopping short of reading less-than-half-of-the-book.
It could’ve been a wet dream (sorry) for historical fiction lover like me but the constant jibber-jabber regarding class and changing ideologies made me ask Mr. Forster (in my head)-
There is a idiom in Hindi (popularized by countless Bollywood films)-
“Aree bhai, kehna kya chahte ho?”
If I translate it crudely, it would be something like this-
“Hey man what ya trying to say?”
A befitting response to this boring book.
Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Publication date: 1967
Genre: Fiction, Magic Realism
For me, the magic realism of this book starts and ends with this iconic opening sentence:
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
This is hard to believe that he is the same author of one of my most beloved romance novels (which sets the bar “impossibly” high in this genre, according to me) “Love in the Time of Cholera”.
The cult-status this book enjoys for 50 years made me wonder:
“Have they read the same book that I tried-very-hard-to-read-but-then-gave-up?”
After a point of I gave two hoots about what happened with Buendia Family.
Binge-watching the first three seasons of “Narcos” made me think more about Colombia and magic realism than this borefest.
Book: My Name is Red
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Publication date: 1998
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
A letter to “the” friend who shoved this book down my throat
Remember, (when we were both greener-behind-the-ears) one day you sniggered at me knowing that I didn’t read “My Name is Red?” I know you don’t ‘cause the proverb says:
“The ax forgets but the tree remembers”
Much to my chagrin, you lent me your copy of this @#$% and manipulated me enough to give it a read.
What can I say? It’s been 8 years since we last saw of each other.
Let’s keep it that way.
Book: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Author: Jared Diamond
Publication date: 1997
Genre: Non-fiction, Anthropology, Sociology, Science
This is me after going through the first couple chapters of this Pulitzer-winner and trying very hard to understand “the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history” –
What books have you DNF that others loved but you didn’t? Let’s chat in the comments.
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26 thoughts on “5 classics I DNF (and not ashamed of it)”
When I read the Alchemist, I treated it almost like the Bible and Paulo Coelho was put on a high pedestal by me and I had to crane my neck to look up. Then I read 11 minutes and still gave him the benefit of doubt. When I started Adultery, I actually cussed him! How can brilliance be in spurts? I am sure these popular authors have ghost writers churning out books for them every year as their publishers demand them. Some books are best laid to rest 🙂
I, too, had the same feeling about “Alchemist”. Some books don’t age well and this is one of them. And ghost-writing is very much prevalent in publishing industry.
In recent times, there was an uproar around author James Patterson that he churns out many of his books through ghostwriters. It kind of makes me sad just thinking about it.
This was such an entertaining read. I didn’t like One Hundred Years of Solitude but I read it. I gave up on Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and The Luminaries. I was bored with both of them.
This is an interesting take on the authors who have done something magically different in the book that has set them aside from others. It is always one book that becomes the huge success. Except for the few greats, for many other great writers of yesteryear we always remember and associate them to one book only which sets their position from the rest.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one my favorite author and I am in awe with his dealing of magic realism, and there is always a debate on this two books of his, though Love in the Time of Cholera takes the cake but One Hundred Years of Solitude has its share of strong dealing with the complex facets of our society in its own intrigue way.
It was not an easy subject to deal..
I know, right? It just went over my head. I always find it difficult to read about obscure, magical, incoherent plot developments and ideas. It baffled me enough in the past.
So I, now, consciously stay away from those books. I console myself saying ” May be, I’m not meant for it/I’m not the target reader the author was looking for.”
Thank you for dropping by. Always appreciate a well thought out feedback. 🙂
I agree not easy to go through those genre of books, it is always intricate and there are blurring boundary between the space of reality and that grey space in our wild imagination…I also find it difficult.
I am dreadful to pick up any classic and I don’t even want to be ‘intelligent’ enough to read them. Thank you for the list for staying from.
Hey, many of them are really good. If you want to polish off your writing skill (I know I do), you can learn a lot by reading the classics.
I am struggling with midnights children right now. Hope I manage to complete it. This post is so entertaining. Enjoyed reading it.
Thank you Purba for dropping by. Midnight’s Children is on my TBR pile as well. But I’ve a suspicion that it would be a snooze-fest.
I have completed a few in the list including Villete. but yes, I won’t judge you. Not all books are meant for everyone. I have not been able to complete The mockingbird even after multiple attempts.
You’re so right. “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of my favorite books. Variety makes the community of readers interesting.
Damn! I actually wanted to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. Guess I should not. Also, I hated reading The Catcher in the Rye. Also had difficulty with To Kill a Mockingbird.
No, you should totally give it a try. Each book has a different set of audience. Who knows, you might like it, 🙂
Although difficult to finish, One Hundred Years of solitude was absolutely worth it!
The book I could not finish was Austen’s Emma! (Truly the definition of a classic) Found the character pretty annoying and after a while it was hard to keep up with her nosy shenanigans.
On the contrary, I really loved Emma. 😀 I think a book chooses the reader as much as the reader hand-picks it.
Thanks for sharing this list. I think it’s all about personal choice.
Absolutely. Thank you for dropping by.
Not an avid reader and particularly classics, that too, slow moving novels.. Your humorous writing had me in splits.
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Glad you liked it. 😀 Thank you for your comment.
The Great Gatsby – Don’t know if I just lacked focus at the time but I really did not enjoy the book. Maybe I’m too much of an introvert to read books with too many parties in it.
“The Great Gatsby” is on my TBR pile for ages. Piqued to read it after watching the movie. You’re right though. “Different strokes for different folks” when it comes to books.
Yes. And I don’t know about you, but when other people talk about their pile it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Haha. 😂
I haven’t read any of these classics although I am a fan of classic literature. I do remember reading only half of A Tale of Two Cities. I plan to finish it someday, or maybe not.
Ah yes, there’s Dickens as well, once I wrestle through Tolkiens and Dostoevskys of the world. So many books, so li’l time. 😦