literary freak

Reader’s right | Books I never finished

literary subject

Heyaaa lil’pies!

Sorry I messed up my schedule time so it did not get online at 12 GTM like promised… but well here I am now and ready to talk about…

5 books I could never finish

Yes, there are some books I did not read until the last page. Some even I did not read further on than the first hundred of pages. Because, ladies and gentleman, this a reader’s right, and an important one even. It’s not well seen by some people, who think that each book should be read till the end because we never know what could happen, the last few pages might change all of what you’ve been thinking… but, heck, I’m not okay with this point of view.

If we read, it’s to enjoy that read – and if I don’t, then I stop reading. That’s all.

However, sometimes, we do not finish books not because we did not like it, but because we feel like it’s not the right time yet – and that happened quite a lot with me. It’s also the reason why I stopped reading the first book I’m going to talk about…

The Red & The Black,

by Stendhal

The Red and the Black cover

It’s a French classic novel, by a realistic author of the XIXth century, categorized into bildungsroman and psychological novel on Wikipedia. To be honest, I don’t quite remember the story, so I’ll be a bad girl and copy paste some already made summary from Amazon.

Here’s the plot :

Handsome, ambitious Julien Sorel is determined to rise above his humble provincial origins. Soon realizing that success can only be achieved by adopting the subtle code of hypocrisy by which society operates, he begins to achieve advancement through deceit and self-interest. His triumphant career takes him into the heart of glamorous Parisian society, along the way conquering the gentle, married Madame de Rênal, and the haughty Mathilde. But then Julien commits an unexpected, devastating crime – and brings about his own downfall. The Red and the Black is a lively, satirical portrayal of French society after Waterloo, riddled with corruption, greed and ennui, and Julien – the cold exploiter whose Machiavellian campaign is undercut by his own emotions – is one of the most intriguing characters in European literature.

Now. Let’s get into the context. Barely 14 years old me was not that fond of classic literature – at that time, my heart and mind went to fantasy and young adult books only. Of course I enjoyed Baudelaire’s poetry, Shakesperian plays, Moliere’s… but that was kinda all about it. I preferred spending money into buying one Terry Pratchett or Nora Roberts than buying John Conrad’s poems or Émile Zola’s books. However, the summer I turned 14, my grandmother lend me Moderato Cantabile, written by Marguerite Duras, and the thing happened. It made me love literature, beyond what I was used to read.

After that, during Christmas of the same year, I tried to read this book… but it was definitely too soon. I read half of the book and it was alright but I got intensely fed up by the lack of actions, the romantic thingy happening all over, and maybe was I wrong not to continue my read, but I felt like it was not the right time to read a classic like this one. I’m pretty sure each books has a time period when it’s alright to read it, when all its meaning and value appear to you – and I believe it was pretty much too soon. I’ll have to try again now, as I’ve grown up and read many other literature novels since then. It might even become one of my favorites, for all I know.

Well, here we’ve got a book I stopped reading by lack of maturity, maybe. But there are others I simply stopped because I did not like them. And yes, I have the right to, sorry not sorry.

Here’s one example.

Arden,

by Frédérique Verger

Front cover

Last year, in September, my class and I were elected to take part in the jury committee for the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, a French writing prize given by high school students. We had to read 14 books and one of them was this one. Damn, I hated it, honestly. Here’s the plot:

The story takes place on the background of Second World War in Marsovie, an imaginary principality of Central Europe. The two main characters are two friends, Alexandre de Rocoule, a manager of the luxury hotel of Arden, ” womanizer in the wild gaiety, in the selfish generosity “, and Salomon Lengyel, melancholic and introvert widower. Both have a common passion: the operetta. They moreover tried the writing, always unfinished, of several pieces. When the country is occupied by the Nazis, who begin the persecution of the Jews, both friends react by writing an operetta, which appears to Alexandre as a possibility to save the life to Salomon and to his daughter Esther – with whom he is in love

To be honest, I could not read further than 50ish pages. The writing style really took me off, nothing was stimulated in my imagination, I definitely could not get into the book. It’s sad, because the plot really does interest me, I was looking forward reading that novel. And, well I felt bad, cause, man, he worked hard for it I guess, but when my Literature teacher told me she could not read it as well I felt a little less preoccupied by that. I guess we all have things we cannot appreciate in Literature, and this book with its style so complicated and embellished did not stimulate me.

So yep, sometimes a book really does not match with your expectations and with your tastes and, well, you ain’t gotta push yourself to hard to enjoy a book, right? That’s definitely what I think, anyway.

Another book I could not finish was…

Fifty Shades of Grey,

by E.L. James

Front Cover

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too, but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates.[1] For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

I read, I believe, 250 pages out of the 400ish pages? Well, tbh, I started reading a PDF of the original fanfiction, but I definitely could not give anymore time to that fanfic. Honestly. The plot is like blaaaaaah, and the characters are duuuuh, and in the end it makes something really dull.

I’ve read many fanfictions much much better than that, honestly. For example, if you’re into Harry Potter AU (Alternate Universe) fanfiction, I recommend I-AM-CHUCK-BASS if you can read French, or you can try out my translation of one of her fanfics. Such deep writing and profound and mindblowing fanfics are a true example of what fanfics are, I believe, and there are many goldmine like this one on the internet – so why should I give more of my time to Master of the Universe? Honestly?

I go for quality over popularity.

So, here we have two examples of books I could not finish because it was too much for my brain to accept and one book I could not finish because, well, I guess I wasn’t classical-typed enough at that time.

However, there’s another example – this one is really weird and mostly unexplained. I could never finish…

Dracula,

by Bram Stoker

Dracula’s front cover

Dracula is a horror novel about a vampire traveling to London from Transylvania in the late 1800s. The book is written in the form of diaries and letters by different characters in the story.

Dracula opens with Jonathan Harker, a young salesperson traveling to Transylvania to sell Count Dracula a house in London. The Count takes the young man prisoner in his castle. Soon, Jonathan realizes that the Count is a vampire. Jonathan is afraid he will never be able to leave. He knows that he is in great danger. He decides to escape, but first he has to find a key in Dracula’s room that will help him get out of the castle. Meanwhile, back to England, Jonathan’s friends are worried about him, especially his girlfriend, Mina.

After some time, Jonathan gets away from Count and returns to London. Soon after, Count Dracula arrives mysteriously in London, too. Jonathan and his friends try to discover how to stop Count Dracula from drinking people’s blood. Before they can stop Dracula, he attacks Mina violently. He tries to turn her into a vampire, too.

Will they be able to stop the Count or will he succees?

(http://alnjahjhs.blogspot.ae/2012/05/dracula-by-bram-stoker.html)

I really don’t get why – I am almost done, I must have 30ish or something pages left? But it’s been years that my mark page is inside, despaired for me to take him again and pull him out. Honestly. But I don’t.

Why so? It’s really a great, great, great novel. It’s a bit a founder of the vampire myth, and the story was fascinating me for so long that I HAD to get into it. The beginning was honestly very good, I read half of the book in a blink, but I think the end was a bit more slow, and the rhythm decreased so I was disoriented maybe? Well, all in all, I could never finish it, which is sad, cause I don’t know how they ended up killing Dracula and such.. I guess I should do that soon so I can finally know, right? (but well I’ve seen the movie by Francis Ford Coppola and please please please you have to see it if you haven’t cause that movie is asdfghjkl, honestly.)

Soo, here we go! You can see that there are some books I could never finish (I guess there are some more, even, but they’re not popping out in my mind right now, so let’s put them aside). There are many reasons why I stopped reading them – and some reasons are not even real reasons, as we can see with Bram Stoker’s book. However, as stated at the beginning of this article, I believe it’s a reader’s right to decide whether or not his going to go on reading, if he enjoys, or not. Some people put pressure on others, by saying things such as “Oh my you’ve never read this? You should, it’s a classic.” Yeah, well, I don’t like it, what are you going to do now? We all have our subjectivity and that is why there are so many diverse types of books, and even more types in those particular types – subtypes. So everyone can read what please them. 

This is what I believe – and I’m interested in your views on that? Do you think we should go on reading despite our lack of sympathy for the book/plot/anything? Do you agree with that reader’s right? What books could you never finish? It would be nice to know if we do have some similarities in our lists, right? 😉

Anyway, that’s all for today, hopefully you liked this blog post – and I’ll see you very soon with another article!

Until then,

Loads of lil’kisses from a

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