There are books that we blow through like *that.* Books that prompt us to stay up through all hours of the night reading until it’s not even night anymore. Books that we can’t turn the pages of fast enough.
These are not those books.
For the record, I have actually completed all these books, and am thus fully qualified to wax eloquent for Top Five Wednesday (yes yes I know it’s Thursday) about how badly they draaaaaaaaaaaagged. Another point of clarification – I’m not saying these are bad books, just that they took me a few minutes shy of eternity to finish.
- Atlas Shrugged | Ayn Rand
Oh my grabness grabness, this book is soooo looooong. The ultra-condensed plot is haunting and scarily realistic – America tries to level the playing field of capitalism, but ends up running itself into the ground instead – but the act of reading Atlas Shrugged is a marathon of marathons. Clocking in at 1,168 pages in the first edition, it took me an actual entire calendar year to read. This is mainly due to the fact that between the rare sections of normally paced dialogue and plot-moving action are huge chunks of monologues and thought processes, culminating in an 80-page speech that I straight up skipped. You’ll start a sentence, look for the period, find that it doesn’t come until 3/4 of the way down the page, and thank God that your English teacher never made you diagram Ayn Rand’s sentences.
- Fellowship of the Ring | J.R.R. Tolkien
6th grade self, meet long-winded descriptions and (dare I say?) unnecessary recountings of the history of the fictional world. 6th grade self…zzzzzzzzz. I quit reading for a month in the middle of the Council of Elrond until I came to the realization that I didn’t have to comprehend and/or remember every single thing that was written. Things went much smoother after that, and I did actually read all three.
- Beautiful Darkness | Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
These books just do not do it for me. At all. This one (#2 of 4) makes the list because it was the last one I fully finished before abandoning the series. Could not do it. They sent me into a reading slump that The Testing thankfully dragged me out of, as I remembered that reading is supposed to be fun.
- Three Cups of Tea | Greg Mortenson
Even before the scandalous revelation of large-scale falsehoods within this book, I was not a fan. It was assigned as part of my college freshman seminar class, which meant a) small chapter chunks were assigned over the entire semester, and b) we had to take comprehension quizzes. Neither are particularly conducive to a positive reading experience. Aside from that, Mortenson has a proclivity to introduce his international companions and non-English terms only once, then assume you will keep everything straight. If ever there was a book in dire need of a glossary, it’s this one.
- My AP European History textbook
Ok, I didn’t read this one cover to cover, but I did read all our assigned sections. That’s more than I can say for many of my high school classmates, who would come to me before class seeking definitions to quiz terms that hadn’t been covered in our lectures. Oh, you didn’t do the reading? I suggest you start there. Anyway, I timed myself once, and it took me an average of six minutes to read and take notes on a single page. You think that tiny little chapter of ten or so pages will be a breeze, but…nope. On a more positive note, taking European History from a man who was an Army Intelligence foreign language expert on the Berlin Wall during the Cold War? Phenomenal. There’s no storytime quite like AP Euro storytime.
Do you have hefty tomes you’ve taken an age to plow through? A regular book that seemed like it was 1000 pages long? Let me know in the comments or drop a link to your list and I’ll check it out!