Monday, July 21, 2014

Books I Will (Probably) Never Read

Never say never, right?  I can accept "probably never" because things change.

I recently moved all of my stuff back to my parents' house.  The amount of books and other artifacts of my life have the upstairs of my parents' home nearly bursting at the seams.  At night I have nightmares about the room over the garage, which houses my books, collapsing from the weight.  There are books in suitcases and boxes and double stacked on shelves and on the floor.  I am looking at this as a good time to go through everything and finally get rid of a lifetime of accumulation...which has grown wild over the past eight years of storing this and that at my parents' because it just didn't fit in my current life.  I don't know how long I'll be living with my parents, but I would eventually like to not feel like I am living in a storage facility.

It's not quite this bad, but it's close!
Photo found on Google Image Search for Book Avalanche

Aside from my clothes, my books are the biggest part of all of the clutter.  The simple solution is to ruthlessly go through my books and donate/trade/sell the ones I'm over.  I've attempted to do this in the past with moderate success.  That was before I had to try to live amongst the chaos.  I need to get real and get serious really fast.

This situation, combined with a post I read over at BookRiot about a very similar topic (the writer used the qualifier "good"), led me to think of the books I own that I know I will never read.  I can't say that any or all of these will wind up in my get rid of pile, but I think I can safely cross these off my list as possibilities...

1.  Ulysses by James Joyce.  I tried this one.  I read 10 or the 18 episodes.  I just don't feel the need to finish.  If I hadn't read the summary before listening to and following along with the text, I wouldn't have known what was going on.  I may eventually read the episodes focusing on his wife because I've heard they are beautiful.  But as for finishing the whole thing?  No thank you.  I love a book that challenges me to think harder or to contemplate my opinions.  I don't like a book that frustrates me and is difficult on purpose.

2.  The Illiad or The Odyssey by Homer.  I think I could eventually read one or the other, but I do not foresee myself reading both of them.  I already own The Odyssey, so I'll probably stick to that one.  I'm not huge on epic poetry, so I think I can let this one go.

3.  The Complete Works of Shakespeare.  I have a friend who would keel over if he saw this.  The man loves his Shakespeare.  I'm just not that into him.  I think his work is fantastic and I've enjoyed what I've read, but I just don't see myself ever voluntarily slogging through the history plays.  (OMG! I do love the dark lady poetry!)

4.  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  I read The Fountainhead as an undergrad.  I really enjoyed the story and the characters.  I called it a favorite for a couple of years.  It was a phase.  It was a phase that apparently a lot of people go through.  I can see it for what it was.  While I was never an Ayn Rand fanatic, I figured that I would read her other major novel at some point.  Nah...

5.  The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by John Gibbon.  I found a very lovely set of the unabridged version at an antique store a few years ago.  I am not going to get rid of these books because I searched long and hard for that set!  However, I just don't think I am going to read them.  And that is OK.

6.  Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  I sped through the first two novels in this series.  I was going back and forth between Nook, iPad, and my phone so that I didn't have to stop reading them.  Then I got to the third book and the narrative structure changed.  I've been told that there was a reason for it, but the change was a deal breaker for me.

7.  The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.  I read The Hobbit when I was in high school.  I really didn't like it.  Fantasy novels and stories just aren't my thing.  If I hadn't been Harry's age when they first started coming out, I probably never would have gotten into Harry Potter (blasphemy, I know!).  Anyway, my parents own the trilogy and it's in with my stuff, but I won't read them.  I haven't even seen the movies, except for the first one.  I fell asleep during my first attempt to watch it and I don't even remember what happened upon finally finishing the first movie.

8.  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  I just don't want to know.  I know that this book prompted the formation of the FDA and food handling standards.  But I just don't want to know.

9.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I loved the early 90s movie.  I tried reading the book not too long ago and read the first half, but I couldn't get myself to finish the book.  I think it's partly because I'm an only child so I don't get the sister dynamic and because I thought the girls were just too good and nice.  I will probably eventually read this to a daughter, but it's not one I would ever pick up myself.

10.  Truman by David McCullough.  This book came in a boxed set with his biographies on John Adams and Teddy Roosevelt.  I'll read the other two in the set, but I just don't like Truman.  I am not a fan of some of the decisions he made while he was sitting president.  I'm not interested in learning more about him.  I am just not going to go there.  But I can't get rid of the book because it's a boxed set.

These are just some of the books I can cross off of my TBR list without a second thought.  It's very freeing.  I can't wait to see what others I can add.


  1. Oh man, I'm sad that the one Ayn Rand book you read was The Fountainhead instead of Atlas Shrugged. The story is way more entertaining in Atlas Shrugged, so if you are going to read one Ayn Rand novel, I always recommend that one. Reading The Fountainhead did impress a girl I was dating at the time and she wound up as my wife, so I can't complain about that one much.

    Allegiant was terrible, I wish I had put it down instead of finishing it, and while The Lord of the Rings is good fun for a fantasy genre fan, it leaves a lot to be desired if that genre isn't really "your thing."

  2. I recently worked through Homer's works and found "The Illiad" to be more readable -- certainly more familiar. What we think of as the story of the Odyessy is only a fraction of its actual text.

    I've been planning on mounting an attack on Edward Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" for some time now. He's quite formidable!

  3. I wouldn't give house room to some of these either - Ulysses would have gone, and as for Lord of the Rings, well it wouldn't have been ever allowed in..

  4. Oh, I feel your pain. I stored things back home for quite some time because of lack of space in rentals. I used to have panic attacks imagining water damage when they had particularly bad storms!

    I've been regularly purging books for quite a while. It's tough to finally admit that I'll likely never read certain books. I think ATLAS SHRUGGED is likely one of them (I read and enjoyed THE FOUNTAINHEAD as well but I think, like you, it was probably a phase I won't revisit!).

  5. I agree with a lot of these. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Yawn.

    I do have to say, I was shocked that Little Women would be one that you wouldn't read. I'm surprised that you loved the movie, but not the book. When did you read the book? I would try again before throwing it out and deciding never to read it again. I don't have sisters, either, but I love the dynamics between them and I didn't find them goody-goody at all.

    This is making me think about books I will never read. Some of them I feel bad about not caring about, some of them I've gotten over. I felt guilty about disliking Ernest Hemingway for a long time, but now I've decided that it's just not worth my time to read people that I don't like anyway.

  6. It's good to be honest with ourselves! Some books have earned places on my shelves because I bought them at sales, or won them in contests, or got them at book events, but if I'm honest with myself, I know I won't actually ever be in the mood to read them. I purge books now and then, and every single time it gets a little easier!

  7. I hope you change your mind and read Little Women. I'm an only child too but I still love it.

  8. Hilarious! I've read most of those and loved them :)

  9. I definitely have to agree with you about Ulysses. I had a teacher who use to rave about the book and say everyone should read it, but I never got it!

  10. I can agree with eight out ten of I love Shakespeare and I enjoyed Little Women, it was the first classic I ever read. :) All the others though I would agree that I probably will never read. :)

  11. I really want to read Allegiant to know how everything ends D:
    I wouldn't like to read The Illiad...

  12. I agree with a lot of those... I attempted to read Little Women but a quarter through the book, I just couldn't any longer. It's taken me this long to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant... hope it's not as bad as I've heard it is. lol

  13. I agree with most of this list.
    I read The Odyssey for freshman year English. It's such a tedious read.

  14. Ha - that picture is hilarious! And a great list - I had to read The Odyssey in high school (actually, I had to translate it from Latin to English)...horrible experience...keep it on this list! I did really like Atlas Shrugged, but it's definitely an undertaking. And - I'm with you on The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well!

  15. I'm of the same mind regarding Ulysses and Tolkien would never have made it in through the door in the first place.

  16. Interesting how you read Divergent and Insurgent quickly, but the dual perspectives in Allegiant put you off from reading it. I do admit that Allegiant was not as good as Divergent or Insurgent, but I still think it deserves a read.

  17. You know how I feel about Ulysses! While I'm glad I was able to check it off my TBR list... I'm not quite sure it was worth the time or angst. I think I would like to read it again... but you know that ain't happening!

    I have to read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for my challenge and I have been dreading it since I first started. Luckily it's further along, so I have some time... but I'm askeered!

  18. At some point I do want to read Allegiant (though I've heard no positive reviews for it) and The Jungle. I probably will never read "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy just because it just doesn't appeal to me. I enjoyed the Hobbit a lot and maybe I'll give the trilogy a try someday, but there are other things higher on my TBR shelf.

  19. Oh man, I had to read the Sirens chapter of Ulysses for my uni course and I had to read it around 4 times as well as listen intently to all the lectures and seminars to understand it properly. Safe to say I won't be reading the rest of it.
    On the other hand, The Odyssey is actually quite a good read, I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Margaret Atwood's adaptation The Penelopiad. :)


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