The book tag meme that hit the Indian blogosphere has spawned. Some of the tagged "victims" have come up with interesting variations (or additional headings/questions). Uma of Indianwriting suggested "the one book you couldn't finish reading?/the most unreadable thing you've read?" She had tagged Anand of Locana who added it to his meme.
Here are mine.
Books You Couldn't Finish Reading/Most Unreadable Thing You've Read:
1. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Had it as a prescribed text for my masters. Tried about four times to read it and each time gave up after the first few pages. Couldn't even read the summary from a "guide" that a kind friend offered me. That's one book that has put me off all stream of consciousness fiction.
2. The Ground Beneath her Feet by Salman Rushdie. He should have stopped after Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
3. The Bleak House by Charles Dickens. The first page and a half where Dicken paints for us a picture of the chancery rising through the thick, swirling London fog is amongst the best in literature. Sadly after that you've to plod through the rest of the novel . . . and there's so much of it. I think, I read about half of it. And yes, it was a prescribed text for my masters (Why is it that some of the most boring books are prescribed for literature studies? I haven't come across a single university in India [haven't checked the syllabi of universities abroad] that discuss Wodehouse. . . and I am sure he is one of the most read authors in the english reading world.[Here's an earlier post on Wodehouse.])
4. Thomas Hardy. Any of his works. I know I will get pilloried here but I find him too depressing. Even more depressing than the Russians who have made the gloomy their specialty. I think we had Tess of the D'Urbervilles for the masters course (come to think of it, I wonder how I managed to finish my masters. It seems to be packed with the most depressing books one could ever find).
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. A good number of my friends swear by it. I tried reading it twice but gave up. Maybe it is my inherent bias against the self-help genre, but I haven't been able to finish reading a single of all the self-help books that I borrowed (realized very early in my life that these are one type of books I should never buy).
What about you? Which ones did you find a torture to read?
Also read: Worst Books Ever/ The Most Overrated Books/ Purple Paragraphs