Tuesday 1 November 2016

Books I Couldn't Finish (10): Classics Edition

I used to finish every book I started, whether I was enjoying it or not. But life is short. I’ve realised that I don’t have time for books I’m not full involved in any longer so if I don’t like something or don’t connect with it as much as I want to, I’ll put it aside. It still makes me feel guilty though, especially if I received them for review so I still want to talk about them, explain why I didn’t like them. Here are the most recent books I DNF-ed.

A Parisian Affair, Guy de Maupassant
When the Pocket Penguins were first announced, this short story collection was the first one that leaped out at me from the list. I loved the sound of a collection about Parisian life full of misdeeds, mistakes, lust and the debauchery of nineteenth century Paris from ‘the father of the short story’, but I was SO disappointed. I read about four stories, but I had to push myself through each one, especially the two that were about 40 pages long. Nothing grabbed me and I just found myself dreading picking it back up again.

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
This epic Victorian mystery is one of the classics I’ve been most looking forward to tackling this year, but at nearly 800 pages it’s daunting. And I definitely picked it up at a bad time. October turned out to be a stupidly busy and stressful month, and though I enjoyed the 150 or so pages of this that I read, I just couldn’t dedicate the time and effort it needs and deserves. I tried the audiobook but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I’ll be going back to the book in the future, however.

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, Edith Wharton
I read Wharton’s Ethan Frome earlier in the year and fell head over heels in love. I immediately vowed to read everything by her and was overjoyed to discover she was a big writer and fan of ghost stories – perfect for Halloween, I thought. But I really struggled with this collection. The stories are fairly lengthy, averaging at about 30 pages each and while they’re elegantly creepy and well written, I put this down and ended up forgetting I was actually reading it for over a week…


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