ebookclassics

Blog Life – DNF Hang-ups

writingToday is the day I’m going to mark The Odyssey on my blog – Did Not Finish.

After about six weeks of trying to forget about it, I think I’m finally ready to talk about The Odyssey. In July, I attempted to tackle the iconic tome for a read-a-long hosted by A Literary Odyssey. I tried not to let it intimidate me, but – ugh! – this book is So. Hard. To. Read. I had a similar experience with T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I don’t think my brain can process poetry of any kind.

I tried to push through and managed to read up to Book V out of XXIV. I didn’t want to give up because that felt like failing. Then I started forgetting to read the book and feeling too tired to read the book and a myriad of other excuses. Then I just straight up gave up.

But The Odyssey is at the back of my mind and I can’t stop dwelling on things like:

  • I feel a little obligated to finish the book because it’s part of my book challenge.
  • Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Should I try again?
  • Do bloggers review books they haven’t finished? How does that work?
  • I wasn’t enjoying the book, so why do I feel so bad for not finishing it?
  • Why can’t I stop thinking about it? This is so stupid!

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion out there about not finishing books, but infographics can’t help me answer these questions. So I’m going to shelve it away for now. To be continued.

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19 comments on “Blog Life – DNF Hang-ups

  1. Julie
    September 5, 2013

    My motto: Life is to short to read bad books…especially with so many awesome books waiting to be read. Mark it off as DNF and then move onto something you look forward to reading. If a book makes you want to avoid reading it is time to ditch it! The first book I decided not to finish was tough, but now I find it much easier to stop reading and pick up something better. You next DNF will be easier!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2013

      You’re right! There are way too many other books to read and gems to find. I guess I felt I didn’t try hard enough and I would be missing out because The Odyssey is such an icon and supposed to be brilliant or whatever. What was your first DNF?

      Like

  2. Jorie
    September 5, 2013

    I completely concur with the commenter above, because, if in all honesty the book has become an arduous experience with little or no joy in the reading therein of its message, then I do believe you have the right to put the book down, not review it, and pick up a book that is more akin to your liking! There are times when I am startled by not liking a book, especially a book I had perceived as one that I would have loved!, but at the same time, we cannot love every book, but we can honour the ones that settle into our memories and speak about them on our blogs!

    As for challenges,… if this is part of tCC, I do not believe they would mind, as the whole point behind tCC is to reach back into classical literature and pull out the books that speak to the reader, and give the world the knowledge that classical literature still has a place in modern readings!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2013

      I have definitely read a few books I thought I would love and then was a little disappointed when it didn’t turn out that way. Twilight, for example … LOL! How about you?

      Like

      • Jorie
        September 21, 2013

        The Graveyard Book (sighs), and several others actually!! I only read books that I can really sink my teeth into and appreciate on a whole. I didn’t even feel intrigued or motivated to seek out Twilight! :O

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          September 21, 2013

          I liked the first couple of Twilight movies and thought I would try the books since a few friends loved them, but they turned out to be not for me.

          Like

  3. Ekaterina
    September 6, 2013

    I think, if you can’t stand it – don’t read it! Don’t torture yourself! 🙂 You have read the first 5 chapters, so you are acquainted with the style, and the plot is widely known anyway. So you may count it as read and forget about it! 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2013

      Ha! It’s so true, I practically know the book anyway. It did feel a wee bit like torture. I got tired of Odysseus feeling sorry for himself and thought, “Isn’t he supposed to be the hero?”

      Like

  4. DoingDewey
    September 6, 2013

    I think you might try it again in a year or two if you think there’s a possibility you’ll like it better later, but for now, I’m Ekaterina – I think you should relax and consider it done 🙂

    I had to read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock for a class and I hated it! It’s just so random, I feel like our analysis read into it a lot more than was really there.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2013

      Right now I’m reading Sherlock Holmes again and it’s so much more fun and enjoyable. It’s night and day from reading The Oddysey.

      Ugh, Prufrock was really hard. I read a professor’s detailed analysis of how Eliot was toying with the reader with all these images of the seasons and smoke, etc. and thought, “Did you just make that up? Because there’s just static in my head.”

      Like

  5. Mabel
    September 6, 2013

    Maybe this is a book that will be a better match for you in ten years or so. Some books aren’t for “now.”

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2013

      Yes, this is a very good point. Sometimes timing is everything.

      Like

  6. Charlene
    September 7, 2013

    I have to agree with the other commenters – that there’s no reason you need to finish a book if you are not enjoying it. I can understand if it’s a little harder to let go of a book if it’s a classic, just because it is generally thought to have merit, and it’s nice to know what they hype is about, but you shouldn’t feel bad if it’s just not for you!

    I don’t like to review books that I haven’t finished, because maybe somewhere near the end the author would have turned it around I might have loved it! It doesn’t seem fair to me to judge a book if I haven’t finished it.

    But I just had a thought, maybe the translation of The Odyssey isn’t working for you?

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 8, 2013

      I was reading the Pope translation which was on my ereader, but it sounded like most of the blogger were reading the Robert Faigle translation. I ordered a copy of Faigle’s book from the library, but as soon as I saw that big tome I thought: “Um, I think I’m going to pass.”

      I agree with you that it doesn’t seem fair to judge an unfinished book. Like Mabel said, maybe it’s about timing. I could try again in a few years and things might be completely different.

      Like

  7. The Anonymous Blonde
    September 7, 2013

    It’s okay to be a quitter when it comes to books! I wrote an entire post on this recently. Some books just don’t do it for you. The Odyssey didn’t exactly float my boat, either! And I’m not losing any sleep over it!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 8, 2013

      I was surprised by how much it bothered me not to finish the book and walk away. But I’m new at this and it’s only my second DNF. Does it get better the more you do it? 🙂

      Like

  8. WNK
    September 8, 2013

    I *usually* do the 1/3 rule… if I’ve made it 1/3 or further through the book, I normally will still review it. I feel by that point, I’ve read enough of it to be able to really tell others *why* it didn’t work for me, so they can avoid the same thing. If I quit before then, then I don’t really feel like I’ve read enough of it to be qualified to review it.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 11, 2013

      1/3 is good rule. I think it’s an interesting idea to write a review (or non-review?) explaining how far you got with the book and why it didn’t work for you.

      Like

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