Books You'll Never Finish Reading Books

Books You'll Never Finish Reading

By 26k votes 3.4k voters 33k views 40 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Upvote the books that might be great, but no one will ever finish them and find out because who has the time and/or patience?

As Emily Dickinson famously said, "There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away," but sometimes you get halfway there and are all "Frigate, WTF, where are we even going?" There are some books that you will just never finish, no matter how many times you try. Maybe the authors of these hardest books to read are laughing at all of us right now, or maybe they didn't even mean to make the book so tough, but here we all are, slogging through these book swamps, trying to figure out what the hell James Joyce is even on about with Ulysses.

Hard books to read run the gamut. Some are just too long, like War and Peace. Others are just perplexing and no one will ever know what's really going on in them, even that kid in your Honors College literature class who thinks he is so cool. Still others of the most difficult books ever written aren't even really that complicated, they just happen to be as boring as listening to anyone, anywhere, at anytime, talking about traffic.

What books have you put down after just one chapter? What books sit proudly on your shelves, 90% unread because life is more than sticking it out with a book that is just too much? Sure, a lot of these books you are never going to actually read are classics, written by famous authors and some of the most influential writers of all time, but let's get real, Jonathan Franzen, there aren't enough hours in the day to wade through The Corrections.

Upvote the books and novels below that you have sidelined for whatever reason and be sure to add any great books you have started, and then immediately been like, "NOPE."
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  1. 1
    + 620
    - 379

    Leo Tolstoy

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  2. 2
    + 726
    - 475

    Herman Melville

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  3. 3
    + 581
    - 365

    James Joyce

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  4. 4
    + 311
    - 215

    added by Daniel Arana

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  5. 5
    + 525
    - 417

    Geoffrey Chaucer

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  6. 6
    + 546
    - 458

    J. R. R. Tolkien

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  7. 7
    + 449
    - 371

    added by PaulArdoin
    Leo Tolstoy

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  8. 8
    + 530
    - 521
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  9. 9
    + 569
    - 571

    added by AnnaKorba
    Charles Dickens

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  10. 10
    + 308
    - 295

    Walt Whitman

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  11. 11
    + 675
    - 697
    ;
  12. 12
    + 359
    - 357
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  13. 13
    + 258
    - 257

    added by Debby Crespo Frisk
    Harriet Beecher Stowe

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  14. 14
    + 541
    - 590

    added by coyotedoorknob
    Nathaniel Hawthorne

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  15. 15
    + 230
    - 231

    James Joyce

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  16. 16
    + 513
    - 601

    Joseph Heller

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  17. 17
    + 269
    - 309

    William Faulkner

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  18. 18
    + 760
    - 971

    J. R. R. Tolkien

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  19. 19
    + 200
    - 241

    David Foster Wallace

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  20. 20
    + 484
    - 642
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  21. 21
    + 418
    - 567
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  22. 22
    + 213
    - 283

    added by Costas Smaseliaf
    Umberto Eco

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  23. 23
    + 151
    - 206

    Thomas Pynchon

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  24. 24
    + 228
    - 320
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  25. 25
    + 202
    - 283

    Donna Tartt

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  26. 26
    + 254
    - 363

    Sylvia Plath

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  27. 27
    + 151
    - 216

    Günter Grass

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  28. 28
    + 64
    - 94

    new! & added by Catherine Lynn Martell
    Jane Austen

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  29. 29
    + 191
    - 286

    J. K. Rowling

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  30. 30
    + 1
    - 1
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  31. 31
    + 134
    - 204

    added by Elise Hennigan
    Salman Rushdie

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  32. 32
    + 357
    - 543

    George R. R. Martin

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  33. 33
    + 136
    - 222

    Virginia Woolf

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  34. 34
    + 148
    - 242

    Jonathan Franzen

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  35. 35
    + 95
    - 161

    added by Costas Smaseliaf
    Thomas Mann

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  36. 36
    + 129
    - 217

    Haruki Murakami

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  37. 37
    + 121
    - 206

    added by MartinHammond
    Douglas Hofstadter

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  38. 38
    + 111
    - 190

    Malcolm Pasley, Franz Kafka

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  39. 39
    + 23
    - 54

    added by Matthew Pipgras
    Chuck Palahniuk

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  40. 40
    + 81
    - 181

    Djuna Barnes

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41 +

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