As far as reading is concerned. 2013 was a great year for me. I discovered many old classics and fresh talents, read a total of 43 books and had a great time reading and sharing my views, reviews and comments on facebook and twitter.
But, it was also a year when I began and abandoned a hell lot of books. Some were well known classics that failed to cut ice with me, others were half baked attempts which I just could not identify with. And, thus it was a year when my reading rate was largely governed by how many books I am leaving in mid way. Though, I do not remember all my failed attempts, there are a few books that have just stayed in my mind and refuse to go away. So, I am sharing with you Five Books I really Struggled to Read in 2013:
1. Billy Budd : Herman Melville is a well known American author and is famous for his Moby Dick. So, when I spotted his name on an omnibus pack of American Classics, I didn’t think twice before buying it. But, sadly I found the beginning of Billy Budd quite boring. Did try to begin it twice but could hardly read first two pages before falling asleep. I was neither able to connect with story nor the characters. Perhaps I made a mistake in choosing my first read by Melville. I am planning to first attempt his better known work Moby Dick before I come back to Billy Budd.
2. Enchantress of Florence : Salman Rushdie is a controversial writer well known for his satiric yet addictive prose. I had high expectations as I began reading Enchantress of Florence. I thought it would enamor me with its flowery narration and initially it did impress. I found the first part quite entertaining especially as Akbar was portrayed as a proud lover who is struggling to hide his pride for the sake of Jodha’s love. The conniving imposter tickled my funny bone and I had a great time in the first few pages.
But as soon as the second part began, all my high spirits crashed. The moment the scene shifted to Florence, something in the narrative declined. It became overly amorous and at times plain vulgar. It was quite difficult to endure the orgy scenes and I had to abandon it mid way, not really my type. No plans to read it any more.
3. Picture of Dorian Gray : Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite writers. I am a big fan of his witticism and ever since I read Canterville Ghost, I was dying to read his one and only novel Picture of Dorian Gray. I expected it to be the greatest swan song by one of the best writers. And it far excelled my expectations. Every word inspired a thought and every line seemed a quote I was dying to share with world.
You must be wondering then why am I listing this book as struggled to read. Well, I could never read beyond second chapter exactly because of its quotability. There are so many good quotes that every time I began reading I would start highlighting and saving on drive or sharing on Facebook or twitter. The fact that I was reading a kindle edition made it even easier to share on web and before I knew I would be talking to my friends about it rather than continuing with the story, with the result the book is still lying unfinished 🙁 Talk about the downside of excellence and Dorian Gray would be the prime candidate! I am planning to begin it once again and would try my best not to be distracted.
4. Rozabal Line : Had heard a lot about Rozabal Line, was really impressed with Ashwin Sanghi’s guts to self publish a full fledged novel and even his trick of using an anagram for his own name had a novel charm. And I was super excited to buy Rozabal Line but when I finally bought it four months ago and began reading it, I found it not so interesting.
The beginning was good but nothing much happened till page 84. Thereafter the story did pick up a little and I kinda enjoyed the possibility of Jesus being in Kashmir and the high voltage reincarnation drama but as soon as the bombs started exploding, I again lost interest. I didn’t really enjoy the seven different plots. It distracted me too much and before I could stop myself, I had moved onto the other more involving novels. But I have not given up on Ashwin as yet and would begin again after some time.
5. Scarlet Letter : When I had purchased this book, someone told me to skip the boring prologue and begun with the story straightaway if I wished to complete the novel. But strangely I found the prologue to be one of the best character sketch I have read so far. In fact it can be bracketed as a complete short story in itself. It was a bit tedious but Hawthorne’s sharp tongue in cheek tone made it quite amusing. But, sadly I can’t say the same about the novel itself. I found the story linear, narrative slow and the excess emphasis on morality a bit too hypocrite. I did begin it twice but was only able to endure it till mid way. May be some day I would try again when I am in mood of a slow classic.
I am a stubborn reader and usually do not like to leave a book in middle, but 2013 had been somewhat different. I hope 2014 would turn out to be much better and I would encounter novels that I really like to finish rather than abandoning midway.
Have you ever found yourself struggling with a book, unable to endure the written words, wondering what the story is all about and why are the characters behaving in such an alien fashion? Well, pour in your stories, comments and views, I am all ears. Happy reading 🙂