I gots news y’all!

imagesCAV2S80HSomething extraordinary happened to me. I did not finish One Hundred Years of Solitude! Now why would this be? Here’s the thing… I always finish a book, even if it’s boring. I would force myself to finish the book, because I don’t like to abandon a book. If I do, I will come back to the book later and continue reading, so this is a first for me.

I have heard good things about this book by a Nobel prize winning author, Gabriel García Márquez. I’ve bought the book on a whim a few months ago, and when I joined the Classics Club, it was only natural I’d add it to my list. So when Isi had to read this one for her classics club spin, I’ve decided to read it with her. There was various emails going back and forth between Isi and myself complaining about how boring the story was etc. She ended up finishing the book, and so eloquently described the book in her review as “One hundred years of boredom, in my opinion” 😉

The book is actually a family saga that tells the story about a mythical town, called Macondo. There lives the Buendía family which includes the mother Ursula, who grows up to be over 100 years old and still takes care over all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and never tires. Whether she dies at the end of the book, I wouldn’t know. The father of the family, Jose Arcadia Buendí –  first generation, goes crazy after he killed a friend and the ghost of the man haunts him so they tie him up under a tree where he sits and desiccate for years.

The reason I have for not being interested in the story is that it confuses me and the story line of the characters are not particularly interesting. The sons and grandsons all seem to have the same name. The same, or the names swapped around. There are 4 Jose Arcadia Buendís and 20 Aureliano Buendís. Now a confusing book does not intimidate me, because I love a story that makes me think as I’m an inquisitive reader. I have made notes and drawn pictures while reading, many a times. The problem here is I didn’t follow the story, because it didn’t grab my attention, but I also think my expectation was too high. There was a few chuckles along the line, such as Arcadia and Sofia’s “scandalous honeymoon”…

So after finishing the book that I abandoned this one for, I read about 40 pages and abandoned it yet again… for a few other books! I eventually decided that I must finish this book, I have to! So I picked it up again, and I couldn’t remember half the things that happened in the 220 pages of the book that I did read. This now meant that I had to start from scratch so I emailed Isi, and texted my friend Rean and told them: “I can’t anymore. I JUST CAN’T”. I convinced myself that I’m “not getting it” and called myself dumb. Which I am not.

I am not giving up though. I’m going to read this book. Not now, but later. The classics club challenge is 5 years, I have more than enough time to grow up and maybe when I’m older, I will enjoy the book more.

Have you read it? Was it love or hate?

Have you ever NOT finished a book, and which book was it?

PS: I’m not submitting this to the classics club, because I will read this and write a review. I will, I will, I will (my mantra)

Image source

  • That’s too bad you couldn’t enjoy the book Melinda. I haven’t ever not finished a book, despite not enjoying it at all. The Night Circus comes to mind lol. Somehow I don’t feel right if I don’t finish the book even though I don’t like it. But I think I’m slowly learning to not get too caught up on finishing a book, but rather to enjoy it. Good Luck with the reading!

    • Thanks, and that’s exactly how I’ve always felt. I finish it no matter what, I’ll force myself because I bought the book so I should read it (and I also do that with books I’ve borrowed from someone or ARCs).

      I’ve abandoned a book and then I come back to it, but with this one I’ve abandoned it and read a few others in the mean time, so when I got back to reading it I was even more confused. I wanted to cry at the thought of starting over, so I will rather leave it for now and start the book from scratch with an open mind. No expectations 🙂

  • I haven’t read it yet, but you’ve nicely outlined the fears which harbor in the back of my mind as to reading it myself. Some times are better than others to handle such a book. Hopefully we’ll get it done one day!

    • That is one of the reasons why I’m not submitting this to the club, because it’s not a review. I will write the review after I’ve read it, which will be one day. Like you said, some times are better than others. I should be in the right frame of mind. Thanks for joining the discussion, Bellezza.

  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    It happens! Don’t feel bad 🙂 The book just wasn’t for you and there’s no reason to force yourself through a book that isn’t speaking to you in some way. I did read this one but it’s been so long that I don’t remember much :/

    • Yeah, that’s why this can go down the bottom of the classics club list 😉
      You can’t remember much? Well, that says alot 😉 This was just so utterly boring…

  • Good for you! I need to learn to do that more. The last book I abandoned was the one I was reading when my father passed away. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to it.

    • My condolences with the passing of your father. Do you remember the name of the book?

      This is a first for me and I feel a bit bad about it, hence I might read it again, but not anytime soon.

  • Don’t worry about not finishing – too many other excellent books out there. I’ve heard similar complaints about this one. I try to finish most books but generally understand my tastes well enough to know what I’ll enjoy. Every once in a while though, one just won’t sit right with me – it’ll feel more like work than pleasure – and I’ll toss it aside. Perhaps try again in a few years?

    • That’s exactly what I’m going to do… read it in a few years time. I am also glad I’m not the only one who found this boring.

  • The last book I didn’t finish, and I usually always finish one when I start it, was The Edwardians. I forget ho the author is. I’m sorry but the Edwardians were boring. In any case, life is too short to read boring books.

    • I agree, life is too short. Never heard of the book either, although I can believe it. Historical fiction can become boring if it’s not done well. I see there’s quite a few books named “The Edwardians”…

  • Congratulations! I’m glad you gave up. Why? Because it’s such a pity when people spend so much time on a book they don’t enjoy. You are of course already a real reader, but for some people that don’t read quite that much, it may really put them off reading if they have several heavy-going books in a row.

    I have a book case full of unread books and will give up a book – not easily, but I will – after I’ve read 100 pages or more, I’ve been struggling, have symptoms like not reading when I normally would. Then I give up. 🙂 And move on to another book!

    • That’s what I did… moved on to another book, but I always come back to see if I am in the mood to finish the book I’ve abandoned. I kept on reading other books and by the time I picked this up again, I forgot most of the story. I just couldn’t suffer through the 200+ pages again for the sake of continuing this book!

      You are most definitely right, if someone who don’t normally read were to read such a book, or even a difficult literary fiction book it will put them off reading. I think that’s why so many people (new readers) go with the overly popular books – and by this I mean generally popular, not book blogger popular. I will in future follow a rule, if by page 100 (or 150) the book doesn’t interest me, or holds my attention, I will abandon it…

  • No shame in not finishing something. I managed to finish this book, but the magical realism really isn’t my cup of tea. It’s okay to not love a Nobel Prize winning author. Heaven knows I don’t love them all!

    • I still feel a “little” ashamed 🙂
      Good for you that you finished this!

  • It’s always a difficult decision when deciding to give up on a book. It’s something I only do in exceptional circumstances so I totally understand why you felt you just couldn’t go on with this and why the decision was a tough one for you. We can’t like every book!

    • You definitely right, we can’t like them all. I think my mistake was abandoning it for several other books. I took too long to get back to it.

      I will try again with this book, but not anytime soon.

  • Yay for you giving up. For me it is still hard to give up on a book but I feel that it is getting easier. There are so many great reads and if you do not connect to a book and even forget what the story is about (which is a clear indication you had no connection to the book at all) than it is time to spend your precious hours on something you do enjoy!

    • Yes, I also find it really hard to just not finish a book. I made the mistake of abandoning it for too long, but as I said I’m not giving up 😉

  • Marquez seems to be one of those authors that people either love or hate. I’ve only read his short stories, and I thought they were… difficult. But difficult in a way that kind of makes me determined to read more of his writing and like him so I can feel smart?

    • I definitely think he is a love or hate author. Which short stories were those? Difficult is good, I do like complex reads. This one was complex and the story dragged on…

      I totally get your last sentence, I do that too. I’m not giving up on this book though, I will start it from scratch and finish it (maybe next year)

      • I read his Collected Stories, which had stories from three of his collections; it was really interesting to see how his storytelling changed and progressed, but even the stories I liked, I had trouble understanding. I did, however, absolutely love the story Eyes of a Blue Dog.

        • Thanks, Leah. I will keep that in mind, maybe I will like that more.

  • It is very rare I give up on a book but I wouldn’t feel bad about it. There are so many good books out there you could be enjoying why force yourself to read one you’re not.

    • You are right, I shouldn’t feel bad. I will explore other good books and come back to this one and read it from scratch, give it a second chance.

  • I always finish books too! I think there’s only one I didn’t. This one sounds boring to me, although I knew nothing about it before making that judgement. I have it just cause it’s a classic. Hmmm…think I will be pushing it further back on the TBR list.

    • It is a classic yes and so many good things have been said about this book. I hope you will find it less boring if you decide to read it 🙂

      Which was the one you didn’t finish? This is my first DNF.

  • I started this one years ago and abandoned it, too. Boring! Boring indeed. I may never come back to it. Some books are better DNFed.

    • Lol! I’m glad there is someone else to agree with me! 🙂

  • As a recovering ” must finish this book” er, there are so many that have been set aside I can’t count. All w/out guilt , remorse or one glance back. (Shhh, don’t tell that I still sometimes start in the middle or gasp! Read the ending first. ;). ) thanks for stopping by . I love your blog by the way!

    • Hahaha! Sometimes it’s good to peak, then you know what you reading towards, although I haven’t tried that yet!

      Thanks for coming back to stop by, I remember you from the time you commented on my about me page… 😉

  • Haha, this is EXACTLY how I felt about 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. People totally raved about it to me, and I got about 60% through before I had to throw in the towel. And I NEVER do that. The only other DNF I’ve ever had was Middlemarch by George Eliot (I know, another world-renowned novel). But sometimes it’s just not worth the pain!

    • Yeah, some books just arent worth the pain. I know how you feel, like I also NEVER give up so easily, hence I will give it one more try – but not this year, or next year 🙂

      Glad you mention the Haruki Murakami novel, because I’ve been wanting to read that one!

  • You not finishing this book makes me feel better about not finishing Shadow of the Wind!

  • I can totally relate to this post. I found One Hundred Years of Solitude in one of my husband’s bookshelves and thought, oh yes, the book everyone raves about, I get to finally read it.
    So, I started reading it…and honestly the first page alone bored me. And I’m not someone who is easily bored, especially not by a book and not by that author (I’ve read some of his other books and enjoyed them.)

    I figured it was just my mood. So I stopped reading and told myself I’d read it later, after finishing a few other books of a different genre. But after reading other books and going back to One Hundred Years of Solitude, I still couldn’t finish it!

    Im almost starting to believe that everyone who says it’s such an amazing book, probably didn’t read it and just say so because it’s a classic, and hey, we’re supposed to love classics right?

    Maybe one day I’ll finish it, but that day won’t be soon.

    Here’s to both of us finishing it years down the line :p

    • And there was one book I stopped reading, I went back to it multiple times trying to force myself to read it, but in the end I just couldn’t. It’s called ‘Hide and Seek’ by Clare Sambrook.
      There are others that I stopped halfway, but I’ll still continue reading. It just wasn’t interesting enough at the time.

      • Ok, I will check out what Hide and Seek is about….

    • That’s EXACTLY what happened to me!! I abandoned it for one book, came back, decided it’s still boring and then read a few others.

      I think you right with your comment “and hey, we’re supposed to love classics right?” – that is so true, because you feel you have to like it, because it’s a classic. Like I said above, I told himself I’m not “getting it” for not liking this critically acclaimed novel!

      Here’s to us finishing it, I’ll try again. Hope you will too 🙂

  • I haven’t read this one, but I think there are too many amazing books and there is too little time for reading to stick with a book you despise so much.

    • You are right and that is why I just continued reading with other books, which were good reads by the way. I’ll try again with this one, I have 5 years to decide when…

  • My first encounter with One Hundred Years of Solitude was in 2009 when I did a lovely course at Rhodes called Modern Fiction. That first encounter was rather disastrous – I got so confused by everyone having the same or similar names that I didn’t even get to page 50 before throwing in the towel and relying on Sparknotes to figure the story out. I was rather distraught that there was a book that I had wanted to read and just could not get into. I don’t think it helped that I was rather thinly spread as far as reading time goes. I decided I would not give up, but would attempt OHYS when I was more relaxed and less in a hurry to understand. And so it was in 2010 with a slightly more open mind, a lot more time and less pressure that I decided that I would try my hand at reading Gabo again. This time it worked. Why? I decided that because there was a reason for the similar or identical names, that it did not have to be a big deal if I could not remember the difference between them, as long as I could remember the various story lines I would be good. And you know what? It worked. OHYS is a cyclical story – it ends at the beginning, and begins at the end. I am sure it does not make much sense in my saying so, but when you get round to reading it again – you will see that. Approach it again with a view to read it for the sake of reading and not so much for the sake of understanding and critiquing and you will fare much better and enjoy the genius of Gabo a lot more than you have – you will also be less frustrated!

    • Glad to know that I’m not the only one throwing in the towel with this one the first time around! I will definitely keep your thoughts and tips in mind when I read it again! Thanks, Terri

    • An interesting point Terri! I like the idea of a cyclical story, and the repeated use of the names makes more sense in that context. I struggle to read like that, especially with classics because the book’s reputation makes me look harder for the ‘meaning’ or whatever, but different cultures would also have different styles, so maybe Marquez just requires a more relaxed approach.

      • Thanks for adding your opinion, Lauren. I think that’s the mistake I’ve made, looking harder for meaning behind everything in the book, because of the author and the book’s reputation.

  • I started this year ago, might be 10 years ago? And got stuck in the middle. I kind of want to try again because I do feel very bad when I did not finish a book, or even if I do not like a book I feel I should like?

    • I have that problem too. I do feel really bad about not finishing this book. That’s why I will rather start again on this later. I also have felt bad for not liking a book, but what can we do? Some we will love, some we will like.

      But none of these come close to writing a review about a book you don’t like, and then that is the review the author checks out! Murphy’s Law! Thanks for stopping by, Iris

  • I could never finish that book

    • Same problem? Will you try again?

  • I tend to be a committed reader as well – I try my best to finish a book, and when I have to stop I often try again later. But hey, you can’t read everything, and even if something is a classic doesn’t mean you will automatically appreciate for the reasons it became famous. We all have different tastes – you can acknowledge an author’s achievement and still not give a crap about it 😀

    • You are right, sometimes there are as much people out there that hates a book as there are people that love it. I will give Gabo’s other books a try, such as Love in the time of cholera, maybe I just chose the wrong one for the first read. Time will tell…

  • Melinda, I have quite a number of books that I started and never finished. And some are for the Classics Club; So you never mind. There is no hurry and fast rule here. 🙂

    • Thank you! I will definitely try again.

  • I decided that if I couldn’t get through a book’s language or pacing I would try it on Audiobook, because sometimes we hear things better than we read them. I haven’t abandoned any audiobooks yet, but if I can’t become interested in the storyline I don’t bother. Life is too short, and there are too many good books, to force yourself through a bad book you won’t enjoy or learn a lesson from.

    • Thanks for the comment, Janna. You are right! That’s why I’ve decided to just leave it. I will try it another day, in the mean time I will read books I enjoy. I have never tried an audiobook before, can you believe it!?

  • Slow and steady wins the race. I have a few books which I haven’t finished, some for the very same reason as you, it bored the living daylights out of me. The other reason is because I enjoy the book so much; I’ve raced through series of books until I get to the final book, that’s when I slow it down to months, maybe a year of very slow reading, because I don’t want it to end… I’ve come to realise I need to finish it, because I need closure, but at the same time I want to savior those last few chapters and read to understand, to see, to imagine in perfect detail what’s set before me and not just race through it for the sake of finishing it.

    • Totally get what you’re saying. You should finish reading the books, especially if they are series’. There is so many great books out there to discover, the sooner you finish them the sooner you can discover other books that will delight you in the same way.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kurt

  • Isi

    Well, we have talked about this book 😉
    Don’t worry, when I posted my review on my Spanish blog I discovered that there are 50% of people who love it and the other half hate it. These things happen. It’s strange that a Nobel Prize and the most popular book of Latin America can cause a feeling of hatred, but it does, and we are its victims. I survived, you’ll survive if you read it again but, in my opinion, you don’t have to go through infinte boredom again.
    The question is, will you like the book in a few years? Who knows…

    • Infinite boredom… Hahaha!
      I will read it again, and yes in a few years. I’m sure next time it will be better, because I read this with too much expectations because its Gabo.

  • This post was hilarious! I haven’t read One Hundred Years… but it is on the list of books I’m going to read.

    Back in January I read one of GGM’s other books Love in the Time of Cholera and I had similar views to you. The plot is slow and time jumps around all over the place which made it very confusing. I didn’t like the way he referred to all of his characters by their full names as well (I don’t know if that’s a cultural thing, if it is, I’m sorry but I still find it awkward). But the worst part was that the main character was an awful human being with highly questionable morals. Issues such as rape, paedophilia and incest were talked about as if they were nothing more harmful than a walk in the park and it made me really, really angry. I did finish it but reading it made me feel dirty.

    • Haha, I feel the shame 🙂
      So glad that you mention Love in the time of Cholera, because I have that one on my classics club list too! If the same is going to happen, I’d much rather change my list and add a different title. I’ve committed to finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I don’t think I can go through this with 2 books. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll tell Isi too 🙂

      • Haha, it’s worth a read for the moral outrage but that is the only reason!

        • Ok I’ll see how it goes 🙂

  • Literary Feline

    I liked this book okay, but when all was said and done, I was afraid for a long while after to read anything labeled magical realism. I don’t feel the love for this book that so many have for it. In fact, the more time that passes, the less I like it.

    I used to feel the need to finish every book I started, but I no longer feel that way. I think a lot of that has to do with how little time I have to read anymore. I want to spend what reading time I do have with books I am enjoying. That isn’t the say I give up easily on books that I struggle with–I don’t. It takes a lot for me to completely give up on a book. I’m more likely to set a book aside for a better time and return to it when that better time comes.

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion on this book. I do think that if I read it again, I still won’t like it, but atleast I will finish it and pay more attention to the story. Magic realism might not be my thing either.

      I also fnish every book I read, no matter how much I don’t like it. This is the first time that I leave a book and come back to it.

  • Hi! This is the first time I’m commenting one of your posts (I really like your blog by the way). I totally understand why you didn’t like A Hundred Years of Solitude. Your opinion about the book is actually what a lot of people think after reading it. It is a book people either hate or love. I loved it because I have to admit, I feel identified with the story. Not because of the crazy family necessarily (well, maybe a little) but because it has a flavor or feeling I totally understand. There is a sense of chaos and impossible realities that come with being Latin American.

    I do think you should give García Márquez another try but with another book, I would really recommend Chronicle of a Death Foretold,, it is probably his best book.

    Also, I’ve left books unfinished a lot of times, at first I feel guilty but then I think, why waste time with it when I could be reading something that I would actually enjoy?

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Melissa. I will definitely give his books another chance. Love in the time of Cholera is on my list and I will try again with this book.

      I think that’s why I abandoned this book, to read something I would enjoy more. We don’t have to feel guilty. Thanks for stopping by!

      • If you didn’t like Hundred Years of Solitude, I doubt you’d care for Love in the time of Cholera. That book was a bit of a slog for me. Chronicle of A Death Foretold is nice, plus it’s shorter.

        • Thanks, I will keep that in mind!

  • I just wrote my first blog post, which poses some very similar questions:
    http://murderofpilcrows.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/dune/

    • Will check out your post …

  • haha, I loved this book, but can understand you not getting into it. It’s a hard book for stop, start, stop, start kind of reading you know…because of the similarity of names and stuff.

    Recently, I gave up on Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which personally was terrible, but when I blogged about it, I got a lot of comments that I should give it another try. I doubt I will though..

    • I’m glad you loved it, Nish! I will give it another try though 🙂

  • So funny, I had pretty much the same experience with this book. After hearing EVERYONE tell me that I needed to read it, I started it, got about halfway through, and then had to stop for some non-book reason (I think a big family event that was taking up my time (it was a long time ago, so I don’t even remember). Anyway, I got to the point where I could go back to the book — and I just didn’t want to. I’d like it enough while I was reading it, but I had no motivation to continue, so I just didn’t. I’ve enjoyed other books by the same author, but have just never gotten myself to go back and read 100 Years of Solitude. To your question, it’s rare for me to not finish a book, but I find myself more willing to do it in recent years. If a book really isn’t appealing to me or holding my interest, I’d rather move on than spend more time and feel frustrated. Great post, great food for thought!

    • Thanks Lisa. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one not finishing this book! Which other books by this author did you like?

      • I thought Love in the Time of Cholera was wonderful! I also read Of Love And Other Demons, which was short and quick, kind of strange, but really kept my attention. It’s funny, 100 Years is one of my husband’s favorite books — but I just can’t do it. 🙂

        • I guess 100 years is not for everyone 🙂 It’s one of those love or hate books. I do have Love in the Time of Cholera, so I will see how I like it 🙂

  • I also recently had my first DNF. I abandoned a thriller called Cold Killing because it was clear pretty early on that it was going to be too violent for my to enjoy. Good for us, I say, because there are too many good books to slog through one you can be pretty sure you’re not going to enjoy 🙂

    • Very true, there’s so many good books out there! Not to mention so many on my TBR that I want to read so much, yet I don’t have the time because of accepting too many review request 🙂
      I think it’s totally acceptable to DNF a book that doesn’t please us, then move onto the next 🙂

  • I will probably skip reading this book. But we all have that one book we just can’t finish, no matter what lol. Also, why waste your time trying to read a book when there is clearly other thrilling novels just waiting for you to read them 😉

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  • It took me about 6 months to finish this book when I tried it. I’ve been told by friends I need to set a weekend aside to really get in to it… (hmm….). But I’ve followed their advice and read a few of his novellas first (No One Writes to the Colonel and Chronicle of a Death Foretold) and absolutely loved them. I’m deciding to work my way up to this book slowly – hopefully by then I’ll love Marquez’s writing so much it’ll be a breeze… *fingers crossed!*