8 Popular Books I Couldn’t Finish

Everybody has different tastes when it comes to books. I enjoy mine, and you enjoy yours. Nothing wrong with that in the least. But just for kicks and giggles (probably more kicks than giggles), I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of eight hyped and/or popular books that everyone else seems to love that I couldn’t even finish.

Disclaimer: this is (obviously) merely my opinion, and yours may (invariably) differ. That’s no reason for anyone to get upset, so let’s all behave like grownups. 

Disclaimer 2: for a book to qualify for this list I have to have at least tried to read it. Therefore, books like Maze Runner don’t count because I know I wouldn’t enjoy it and do not intend to try. I’m just stubborn like that. 

#1 Divergent, Veronica Roth

I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. The first book is sitting on my bookshelf in my room where I see it every day. I’ve picked it up and started the first chapter about five times now. It’s just not happening. I’m sorry, but I find it…boring. There’s no other way I can describe it. I’m sure it gets better, but I haven’t yet been able to make it past the first five or ten pages without losing interest.

#2 The Wheel of Time (Series), Robert Jordan

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fantasy books. It’s my favorite genre by a mile. But this…I just couldn’t stay awake. Literally, at times. I received the first book as a gift and really gave it my best shot, but it takes. So. Long. To. Get. Moving. I’m patient, normally. I don’t mind investing a few chapters in build-up if the writing keeps my interest. But this…this felt like watching molasses drip down the wall.

#3 Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

The reason for this one is simple: I’m dumb. You can’t expect me to keep track of so much science mumbo-jumbo. Sorry. I mean, it takes a lot for me not to enjoy a book about dinosaurs running amuck in the present day. But I made it about 100 pages before giving up on Jurassic Park and putting it down. If I had a couple dozen extra degrees in the sciences I’m sure I would have stuck with it.

#4 Mistborn (Series), Brandon Sanderson

I tried so, so hard to get into the Mistborn series. Several good friends have recommended them to me multiple times, and again, fantasy is my favorite genre. I don’t own any of the Mistborn books, but I have had a chance to start reading the first one, and…kind of the same deal as The Wheel of Time. It moved too slow for me and it felt too grand (an odd complaint, I know).

#5 Pretty much any classic novel

I may draw a lot of fire for this one, but give me a book by Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert L. Stevenson, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, etc., and I’ll probably just chuck it out the window. I mean no disrespect to the undeniably successful authors of the past, but holy cow these books are a chore.

#6 The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

I enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not my all-time favorite, but they’re a fun read. So I don’t quite understand why I don’t like The Hobbit very much. It’s not the different style, or the simpler plot. It’s just…not my cup of tea.

#7 Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chronicles of Narnia (The Horse and His Boy being my favorite of the series). But so many Narnia fans seem to think Prince Caspian is one of the best books, and I just don’t get it. It’s boring. In fact, it’s so boring that I don’t even have anything else to say about it. (Cheating a bit, because I did finish the book, though only out of necessity to continue the series).

#8 Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

I know this book is probably far less popular than the others on the list, but I’ve included it mostly because of how surprised I was that I didn’t like it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Graveyard Book, Stardust was a beautiful story, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a tear-jerker. So when I bought Neverwhere at the bookstore and only made it through a few pages before utterly losing interest, I was quite shocked and quite a bit more disappointed.


If you made a similar list, what books might be on it? Comment below! And in the meantime, have a great day!

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30 thoughts on “8 Popular Books I Couldn’t Finish

  1. I hate to admit it, but overall I’m not much for the classics, either. Usually it’s less about not being able to get through them and more about not even wanting to pick them up in the first place.

    My most recent not-finish was Six of Crows. My sister LOVED it, I found the first chapter really intriguing, and then the MC and his gang entered and I just…wasn’t feeling it any more. I’ll probably try again in the future, but for now I’ve moved on in the TBR pile.

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  2. In my opinion, Divergent isn’t worth it. It was an okay book, but nothing spectacular. So you’re not missing much.

    As for me, I’m having the worst time trying to read through the Harry Potter series. I got through the first three books, but honestly, they just doesn’t interest me that much. I guess I must’ve missed the boat on that series…

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  3. As far as the classics go, I’ll agree with Mark Twain. I read “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” and nearly gave up. I did finish it, but felt like it was a wasted read. Other than that, I’m someone who likes classics a bit more than the modern stuff. (19th Century British Novels was the best class I ever took!)

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  4. On the top of my list would have to be ‘The Golden Compass’ and ‘Treasure Island.’ There’s nothing about the subject matter of either that I found objectionable, but for ‘The Golden Compass,’ I found the writing to be just so monotonous, and the young narrator to be unrealistically oblivious to stuff. I have no clue why I haven’t managed to get through ‘Treasure Island.’ Probably because it’s a classic I took out of library with a handful of easier, modern reads, which pulled my attention away. 😀

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  5. Great post! There are just some books that are unreadable. I’m personally quite fussy about what books I like and everyone close to me knows not to buy me books as presents! ;~0 I think, most recently, there are a few books I haven’t been able to get along with: Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erickson, I gave the first three books a try, but found the story to be so complex and all over the place that I couldn’t keep it all straight in my head (no disrespect to the style and characters, they were good, but the plot was just too hard to wrap my head around). There’s also the Game of Thrones books, I read the first three when they first came out and then the first four later on, but just couldn’t get into the story. I have been watching the series, though. As for classics, I’ve read a little Shakespeare, Treasure Island (which I didn’t really like) and also Robinson Crusoe (which I did enjoy). Oh, yeah and a lot of Enid Blyton when I was young. 😀

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      1. For me, there were too many characters spread over too much distance and it kind of put me off. I’ve also read some of Joe Abercrombie’s stuff and some are okay, others a little too ‘gritty’ for me. 🙂

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  6. I’m also not much for the classics. I want to read Pride and Prejudice (which my wife raves about) in order to see why the fuss – just can’t get past the open few pages. I feel that way about a lot of those written years and years ago. Guess I’m more into modern writers like King and Rice and Child.

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  7. I’m completely with you on Divergent–I finished out the series just to see what all the fuss was about, and seeing what all the fuss was about was pretty much the only thing I got from those books.
    I would suggest giving Shakespeare another try, though. He takes some getting into, what with archaic language and oddly motivated characters, but I think his story structure and methods of foreshadowing events and adding depth to his stories are worthy studies for any writer. “Shakespeare After All” by Marjorie Garber was my school guide for Shakespeare, and that book really opened my eyes to the coolness of his plays 🙂

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  8. Lord of the Rings is definitely at the top of my list. I tried SO HARD to read those books. I got halfway through the second one and finally gave up because it was just so BORING. I mean, it also just wasn’t my kind of book. So.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely don’t think they’re the most exciting in terms of writing style and plot density. I still enjoyed them, but maybe more because of their impact on fantasy fiction.

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  9. Sure agree with you for #1 and 3. Most of the others I haven’t read. I do ok with some classics (some of Shakespeare and Stevenson are all right) , but for the most part . . . bleh.
    Haha, your 2md disclaimer describes a lot of books I don’t like. Hunger Games, for instance.

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  10. What a gutsy post. I love it!

    Based on your previous tweets about Divergent, I haven’t even tried it, and although I liked the Mazerunner movies, I’m not interested in trying to read the books. Count yourself lucky you couldn’t get through the Wheel of Time – the first was the best one by miles.

    I tried reading one of the later Jurassic Park books and was proud of myself for making it a stubborn halfway – the technobabble didn’t get me, but the lack of anything interesting did.

    And the classics? I try, really I do. I don’t even have the staying power on audio. And that includes Lord of the Rings…

    Here’s another couple to NEVER TRY: Akarnae (Medoran Chronicles) and the Mapmaker Chronicles – unless you want to fall asleep.

    So many books – so little time.

    PS I apologise for being one of those who recommended Neverwhere to you… I loved it.

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  11. Neverwhere is actually one of my favorites. But I never could finish LOTR (I stopped somewhere around page 50 of The Two Towers). I love the story, but the style was so tedious for me. And not being able to pronounce the characters’ names was a major chore. Many classics I just don’t like, either. Jane Austen makes me scream in frustration. (Sorry, fans.) I didn’t like Divergent – and I suffered through the whole trilogy. Not watching any more of the movies, either.

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