Tuesday 5 September 2017

TTT (20) - Top Ten Books I Struggled To Get Through

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up; it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community. 
This week the theme is Top Ten Books We Struggled To Get Through and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish can be found here
I hardly ever DNF books. How about you? As a teenager I'd usually read one book at a time and since I'm an only child that loved reading, I'd sometimes get through a book a day. Then my 20s came around and video games and television series somehow were more important than reading. Social Media swiftly followed and destroyed my attention span. I swear I could read for hours without looking up once... now I promise my brain it's allowed to check Twitter once the chapter is done.
Nowadays, I am mostly reading again but quite often 8 books at the same time. I avoid reading slumps like that. If I'm not in the mood for a book, I just reach for another one. I also gave myself the permission to DNF books, but I still rarely do it.

These are some of the books I struggled with but ended up enjoying more than expected:

Tom Toner's The Promise of the Child is probably my favourite read of 2016. It's quite dense and complex though. It's the 147th century and humanity has conquered the stars and evolved. It's a book that demands 100% of the reader's attention and it's definitely not straightforward but I'd love to have the guy's imagination. I'm an impatient person, I sometimes skim long descriptions...shame on me. This book taught me a lesson, because after about a third I had no idea what was happening and had to start from the beginning. That's when I fell in love...

My first adult fantasy book. My father gave it to me when I was fifteen years old, and I remember sitting down with a Bloodhound Gang CD (the music to this day evokes a shiver and a faint memory of Nazg├╗ls) and cracking it open. I did not get the first 100 pages... the description of the Shire is quite lengthy and I was mostly bored. Once I managed to wade past the first 150 pages or so, I could no longer put it down.

This book is brilliant. Yes, it's complex and yes, if you want to understand everything that's going on you'll probably need a philosophy and history degree. But you don't need to understand everything to enjoy the heck out of this story...
Once I admitted that many details will fly over my head and I will probably not get most of his clever hints and allusions, I just read it. And Umberto Eco takes a shopping list, makes it a conspiracy, feeds it to a bunch of scholars and lets them re-write the entire history of Europe...based on said shopping list. I love conspiracy theories and this book rolls with it in a way I'd never seen before.

I almost missed it. How silly. "I'm not participating in this dumb wizard hype," said 13 year old me. It taught me two things: do not ignore hype and do not ignore wizards. We were on our way to a getaway in the mountains and I knew it would be hiking, therefore boring. I asked if I could buy a few books to take with me and my parents said yes... the bookshop at the station had the first three Harry Potter novels neatly stacked by the entrance and I had a moment of, why not? Might as well find out what the fuss is about... 48 hours later I had to join the wait for book 4!

I've struggled with other books. Anna Karenina, for example, had an entire chapter about farming and I almost fell asleep, but once I push through and end up loving the book, I tend to forget about the struggle.

What are books you struggled with? Or maybe even abandoned? Or still pushed through? Let me know.


  1. The Promise of the Child sounds very intriguing. I admire your persistence, and it seems that it was rewarded.


  2. Yes, I had the same reaction to The Fellowship of the Ring. It's a good story, but wow is it slow in the beginning!

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  3. Sometimes it's worth it to push through and see if a book is for you or not. I'm glad you have Harry Potter a shot and didn't miss out on all that love. Ah, I love HP. I think it took seeing the first movie before my sister finally gave it a shot. I loved the books already but I was three years younger and I think she thought it was for younger kids only.

    I read The Hobbit and really enjoyed it when I was younger, but I COULD NOT get into Fellowship.


  4. I hate to admit it but I probably would have just given up on The Promise of the Child-- I don't like books that are super dense or difficult to follow.
    My TTT

  5. yup I found The Fellowship of the Ring BOOOORING! I think taht books is what made me so weary of high fantasy!

  6. I think a lot of people have that experience w/ Fellowship of the Ring, I know I did. Especially as a kid, the Shire stuff in the beginning BORED me. Once they got moving then I was okay. :)

    The Promise of the Child is a new one to me, but I love imagining far future scenarios, and the 147 century- THAT'S far future. Wow.

  7. Umberto Eco's book sounds intriguing!

    Here's a link to my TTT post this week:

  8. I put off reading Harry Potter too because 20 year old me was not having any of the wizarding hype. Of course than I read it and had to admit that I was wrong and it was wonderful! Ack on really anything by the Russians. I've read a few and they're always a struggle. I haven't attempted Anna Karenina yet but I will make sure I'm well caffeinated!

  9. Foucoult's Pendulum has been in my TBR pile for a long time now. I haven't tried to read it yet so I'll be curious to see if I struggle with it. I was also the same with The Fellowship of the Ring - took me a while to get hooked and then I couldn't put it down.

  10. I'm glad to hear you ended up enjoying Harry Potter!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/top-ten-tuesday-123/

  11. I can't even concentrate on your list because I'm still hung up on the reading 8 books at a time bit. Who are you? And what is this magical power you possess? LOL My brain feels fried just thinking about it. =p

  12. Great list! I'm the same, I find it really hard to DNF books and tend to push through. I didn't include it on my list since I'm still working my way through, but I'm reading War & Peace now - my first Tolstoy. I'm finding the war sections a bit dull, but I'm really enjoying the peace sections and Tolstoy's subtle humour.

  13. LoTR! I need to reread those. I was young when I first read them so I'm sure there will be sooo much that I see differently now and I hope it makes it only MORE epic!

    I can't believe you almost didn't read Harry Potter! That happened to me too! I only started reading the books as the 4th one was published I think! So I was about 17 and I'd kind of skipped over them because of the low age range on the first marketing and also because of the hype. As you said, do not ignore hype OR wizards! I'm currently in a reread and trying to listen to all of book 7 on audio... But I may fail that!

    Funnily enough, my current favourite author, SJ Maas- when I first read Throne of Glass I was pretty meh about the whole thing and it was only after reading the next two books that I was totally and unashamedly hooked for good. :) Now when I've reread the books I have a lot more perspective and I LOVE even the first book.

    I'm currently struggling with the beginning of Tiger's Daughter, but I'm trying to slog through that one a bit more before I make a decision.

  14. Awesome post. I struggled through parts of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and The Picture of Dorian Gray - now two of my favourites!