What's the most boring book you've ever read?

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Dirty Hipsters:
The Glass Menagerie. The main character and narrator, Tom, spends the entire book/play going on and on about how boring his life is, and how he can't stand the banality of his existence. This is all that happens. It's an entire book of a guy whining about being bored, while his sister whines about not having a husband. I hate this book with a passion, and it is the worst thing I had to read in high school.

Oh god.

The Glass Menagerie is one of the books I will have to read as part of AS level Eng Lit.

...

I'm not sure if I have read any downright boring books, but if the question extends to any literature, then Emily Dickinson takes the cake(also what we are studying right now in Eng Lit); maybe one of her poems has some glimmer of passion in it but everything else feels so sterile, so dull and lifeless, that it is a nightmare to read and to analyze.

"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin followed closely by "Great Expectations"

Also: "Dune: House Atreides"

Hard pressed really.

Of works people might recognize... likely "Ubik" by Phillip K. Dick. Really a lot of his stuff is so tedious.

However while very interesting in understanding from a socio-economic stand the single most painfully dry, rote, tedious and boring book I have ever read without a doubt has to be "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George.

Here, just listen to an excerpt and see if you can go the whole 15 minutes without falling into a coma. Now multiply that by like 30+ chapters or so, and actually having to do the work of reading instead of just listening.

Moby Dick. The whole thing about how whaling is so important and blablabla got on my nerves really quick.

"My Summer of Love".

Instead of exploring the characters, it goes on about murders that are poorly explained, some girl shaving her pubic hair, and her obese step-brother neandering around her side while she goes around places and does stuff.

For the first 70 pages, it was funny. Then nothing happened. And then I think there was a lesbian bit. And then I completely blacked out; I was drooling and flicking through the pages but not actually reading.

And I think one of the Darren Shan books (can't remember which one, though) had so little happenings that I just skipped it. I read the next book with complete ease and understood everything.

I like the fact that this thread essentially boils down to ''this book didn't hold my attention therefore it is the worst piece of shit ever'' followed with a description which twists the book's themes and features to absurdity. I mean, really, do all people here have this hate boner against Great Gatsby? No one could appreciate the incredible struggle that Gatsby went through, the language filled with jokes and metaphors in even most basic descriptions and the overall atmosphere? I have books I struggle with too (Thus Spoke Zarathrustra and Infinite Jest are slowly collecting dust somewhere in the bookshelves, unfinished), but I don't dismiss them for that fact alone.

anything that's ever been on a summer reading list

Of Mice and Men, followed closely by Great Expectations. Both nothing but dull characters doing dull things written in the most heavy handed way possible. Both were required reading in my required high school English courses. I like reading many genres of fiction and nonfiction but the stuff I was forced to read in high school makes me never want to read any form of "classic" "literature" again.

kyuzo3567:

It seems to me that the most boring books to read are the award winning novels the teachers choose for you in school. They're not interesting, or modern, or relevant to kids in any way. Even my old principle agrees with me on that, we're de-motivating kids from learning (especially boys whose reading rate has dropped significantly in the past decade) because our award winning novels we're forced to read are just dry and boring and not appropriate for how we think as kids.

This.

Mausthemighty:
Moby Dick. The whole thing about how whaling is so important and blablabla got on my nerves really quick.

I second this. I was an English major - you'd think I'd be immune to kinda slog-ish books. But no. Moby Dick defeated me. 150 pages in, the only thing I could remember was "Call me Ishmael."

Wrath 228:

Terraniux:
The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy. It's nothing but politics and jargon for about 900 or so pages, then about 50 of 'action,' and then another 50 of something else. I don't remember. It's been a while, but not so long as for me to forget that it sucked. I don't even know how I managed to finish it, but I probably wouldn't be too far off if I said I sleep-read half the book.

You made it about 700 pages farther than I did. I normally love Clancy's stuff too, but 900-some-odd pages of that was asking too much.

I read and enjoyed most of Clancy's novels until Executive Orders came out. I only got around 200 or so pages in and had to quit. There was just far too many repetitive scenes of Jack Ryan moaning about how he had to be the President when he didn't want to intermixed with scenes of generic Middle Eastern terrorist characters twirling their mustaches and cackling about how eeeeeevil their plan was. It just wasnt up to the level of quality I had come to expect from him. That was right around the time Clancy started licensing his name out to other, less talented, authors. So I didn't read anything of his written after that.

I just last year went back and re-read Cardinal of the Kremlin though, and that still held up. So, I'd still recommend many of his earlier novels.

The Catcher in the Rye. Christ, fuck that book.

Pretty surprised by some of the books people are mentioning here though, To Kill a Mockingbird and 1984? I could read them a hundred times, just wow.

Most anything over 100 years old. Specifically Moby Dick.

Seriously if you see an adaptation of it they skip to like the middle of the book because that's when the "story" starts. Everything before that is world and character building. Which Today would be considered poor writing as a good author could incorporate the world and character growth naturally into the story.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I found Victor to be a weak, pathetic, and completely unlikable lead. The monster is, while awesome, somewhat of a nob. And the prose focuses more on the pretty scenery as opposed to the moral issues of the story.

Oh, another warning sign I want to make: Be careful when reading the translated Beowulf (the one I had anyway, but I do not remember who translated it). Simply put, Beowulf has one name and about 14 different titles that the author likes to randomly switch between. Confusing as hell. And somewhat boring. And confusing. Every ten lines I had to keep checking my count of the number of characters in the scene. It's a headache waiting to happen.

spartan231490:

Spinhorse:
snip

As an interesting sidenote, one of the books which I consider most boring is alsoone of my favourites: Mann's Zauberberg, specially the first part, but the sense of boredom plays a central part in the plot and in the general symbolism of the novel, which is curious.

This actually reminds me of a book called "How to Survive in a Science-Fiction Universe." I read it for a sci-fi literature class(great class) and it was boring as all hell. The boring is, in a way, the whole point of the story, but it has great symbolism, and actually manages to have some very interesting moments among the absolute, mind-crushing boredom. However, despite a painfully boring read, it is a blast to analyse and talk about.

I tried to read this recently. I just thought it'd get better. But uh, I gave up a few chapters in.

Dickens bores me to tears. And I read Del Toro's The Strain from start to finish. And promptly added the sequel to my DNR list. >_O

EDIT:
You wouldn't think a novel written by Guillermo del Toro about a zombie-vampire plague would be boring, but you'd be wrong. The 'creepy' scenes weren't all the creepy and what should have been horrifying/disgusting was just disgusting. Also, characters with all the personality of a rock. I don't recommend it.

Blow_Pop:
See, as I like reading and read for my enjoyment, once a book bores me I put it down.

So I can say hardest book I've ever had to read for school is a toss up between Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The first I voluntarily read for a book report in 7th or 8th grade (for those of you across the pond 13/14 years old ish) mostly because my teacher told me there was no way I'd be able to ever finish it or write a proper book report on it. Proved them wrong. But I should have waited at least 2 more years to read it just from the usage of bigger words and such(if I'm recalling correctly as it's been almost 20 years since I last read it). And the second I had to read for my senior year of high school (18 for those across the pond) and had a teacher who expected us to immediately understand it without too much explanation on her part. However I have bought that book and read it about 5 or more times since and understand it a little better but still don't understand it well. But it's at least enjoyable at this point.

(snip)

I read Catch-22 when I was about 15 or 16. Voluntarily. My boss thought I'd love it. And she was right. It was the #1 book on GoodReads.com's Most Abandoned Classics list. While the book has a plot, it's less important than the themes and satire. And it's funny.

http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/424-what-makes-you-put-down-a-book

Pluvia:
The Road

Hated the lack of quotation marks. Hated the lack of names. Hated the pacing. Hated the plot.

Enjoyed it, but hated the lack of quotation marks, too.

adamsaccount:
I bought a copy of ayn rands "atlas shrugged" because it was what bioshock is apparently based on. Didnt realise it was a right wing greed is good type of thing, gonna try and give it a go though, though if anyone in the uk wants it ill post it to you for free as the fuckers thicker than harry potter Vii and the bible combined, and looks pretty out of place next to my collection of kesey, kerouuac, thompson and burroughs.

i went in here SPECIFICALLY, to find someone to agree with me.

I'm reading it to get a handle on liberalism, and it is pretty persuasive in a certain amount of it's arguments. But whatever Rand is, she was NOT succinct.

I'm actually discovering I may be having trouble separating taste and my own temperament: I try to give things a chance and can respect if it isn't ultimately "for me," but I feel like lately I'm getting impatient.

I'm in the middle of "World According to Garp." I had read Irving's other book "Owen Meany" and loathed it, but I've come to think that I may have been too harsh because what he considers funny does nothing for me. I want to like Garp - I find a lot of themes he touches on to be interesting and surprisingly similar to things I ponder on my own - but his humor leaves me cold, his characters seem selfish, distant, or unnaturally ridiculous (all three apply to Garp), and Irving actually stops the narrative for several pages to tell us a completely different story - Garp's short stories - from beginning to end, destroying any pacing or momentum towards a thematic point that just drives me nuts.

I'd also apply it to the first "Hunger Games." I wasn't in love with the plot to begin with and it didn't completely win me over in the end, though I find I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. It was the writing itself that bothered me - the prose needed a lot of polish, there were not enough details about the Capital or the Districts to keep me invested, especially for the people who lived there, and Katniss went back and forth between solemn exposition and casual banter in the vein of "...well, y'know, right?" like she was trying to speak to me on a personal level instead of narrating her story. And I counted: it took 130 pages for the games to actually start. Between that and the games themselves just being a walking tour of a forest, I started thinking "In Media Res" - starting the story at the beginning of the games and jumping between timelines - would've been more dynamic.

I will say this for keeping my interest - in addition to partially paying off the "fake romance turned real" angle, the book threw me a curveball at the end that, while ungodly stupid, was an eyebrow raiser:

1. Twilight.

2. The Invisible man

3. the Great Gatsby

4. Lord of the Rings.

5. I can't remember the name it was so bad. same young black girl marries a much older rich black man because her grand mother arranged it or some such then he dies and she marries some slightly older, charismatic dude who starts an all black town then he either dies or she leaves him for some other dude who's a free spirit and then they run away or something and they get stuck in a hurricane and he gets rabbies from a raccoon and goes crazy and tries to kill her so she shoots him. yeah WTF.

Overquoted:

Blow_Pop:
See, as I like reading and read for my enjoyment, once a book bores me I put it down.

So I can say hardest book I've ever had to read for school is a toss up between Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The first I voluntarily read for a book report in 7th or 8th grade (for those of you across the pond 13/14 years old ish) mostly because my teacher told me there was no way I'd be able to ever finish it or write a proper book report on it. Proved them wrong. But I should have waited at least 2 more years to read it just from the usage of bigger words and such(if I'm recalling correctly as it's been almost 20 years since I last read it). And the second I had to read for my senior year of high school (18 for those across the pond) and had a teacher who expected us to immediately understand it without too much explanation on her part. However I have bought that book and read it about 5 or more times since and understand it a little better but still don't understand it well. But it's at least enjoyable at this point.

(snip)

I read Catch-22 when I was about 15 or 16. Voluntarily. My boss thought I'd love it. And she was right. It was the #1 book on GoodReads.com's Most Abandoned Classics list. While the book has a plot, it's less important than the themes and satire. And it's funny.

http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/424-what-makes-you-put-down-a-book

I voted in some of the polls for that infographic....I have a love/hate relationship with Catch-22. I really do. If I didn't I would have just checked it out from the library to read. But liking a book =/= understanding it. And having a teacher expect a class to understand something and be tested on it daily, chapter by chapter and refusing to really help with the understanding/comprehension really makes it a tedious book to read. And she was more focused on the plot than the themes and satire. So. I hate the plot. Love the themes and satire.

dystopiaINC:

5. I can't remember the name it was so bad. same young black girl marries a much older rich black man because her grand mother arranged it or some such then he dies and she marries some slightly older, charismatic dude who starts an all black town then he either dies or she leaves him for some other dude who's a free spirit and then they run away or something and they get stuck in a hurricane and he gets rabbies from a raccoon and goes crazy and tries to kill her so she shoots him. yeah WTF.

I believe you are talking about Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I just read that book and loved it. She is an amazing writer.

Blow_Pop:

I voted in some of the polls for that infographic....I have a love/hate relationship with Catch-22. I really do. If I didn't I would have just checked it out from the library to read. But liking a book =/= understanding it. And having a teacher expect a class to understand something and be tested on it daily, chapter by chapter and refusing to really help with the understanding/comprehension really makes it a tedious book to read. And she was more focused on the plot than the themes and satire. So. I hate the plot. Love the themes and satire.

(snip)

Yeaaah, that'd pretty much ruin it. And I get you on the understanding part. I think at some point, I just went with it. I could not tell you what happened or why. But I could explain what it was about fairly well.

1. The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence. I had to read it for school and normally I can get through the boring books we were assigned as novel studies but that one really took the cake. It's essentially some foul tempered old woman reminiscing about her life in the Canadian prairies.

The same teacher made us read Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell. Marginally better but also boring as hell since it was also about some boy's life in the Canadian prairies (I'm sensing a theme here). I realize that she probably picked those books because they take place in my city but I don't think she could have made worse choices unless she'd made us read the Twilight series.

2. Although I didn't finish it, the most boring book I've read of my own volition is the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein. I managed to get through Lord of the Rings and even enjoyed the trilogy to an extent. However, even though I tend to be a history buff, trying to read through the Silmarillion was like trying to chew gravel.

3. The Catcher in the Rye. I'm actually not entirely sure if I found this boring, mostly because I could barely follow the story and most often wasn't sure regarding what in the world was going on. It's like the character took a bunch of random thoughts, combined them with what was going on and created gibberish. The most I remember is a big city, a prostitute and a creepy teacher.

I think, in short, the next time someone tells me to read a classic I'm going to avoid that book at all costs.

Overquoted:

Blow_Pop:

I voted in some of the polls for that infographic....I have a love/hate relationship with Catch-22. I really do. If I didn't I would have just checked it out from the library to read. But liking a book =/= understanding it. And having a teacher expect a class to understand something and be tested on it daily, chapter by chapter and refusing to really help with the understanding/comprehension really makes it a tedious book to read. And she was more focused on the plot than the themes and satire. So. I hate the plot. Love the themes and satire.

(snip)

Yeaaah, that'd pretty much ruin it. And I get you on the understanding part. I think at some point, I just went with it. I could not tell you what happened or why. But I could explain what it was about fairly well.

Through my multitudes of re-reading it, I have a very basic understanding of the book. It really hit home for me as to what a Catch-22 is and how badly stuck I am in one for the career I'd like to go into

dystopiaINC:
1. Twilight.

2. The Invisible man

3. the Great Gatsby

4. Lord of the Rings.

5. I can't remember the name it was so bad. same young black girl marries a much older rich black man because her grand mother arranged it or some such then he dies and she marries some slightly older, charismatic dude who starts an all black town then he either dies or she leaves him for some other dude who's a free spirit and then they run away or something and they get stuck in a hurricane and he gets rabbies from a raccoon and goes crazy and tries to kill her so she shoots him. yeah WTF.

The last one is "Their Eyes Were Watching God", not a great book but not horrible either imo.

Ironically, this whole thread is just making me want to read more :)

Catch-22

The first time I read Catch-22 was in 5th or 6th grade, simply because it was the biggest book we had on the shelf. I didn't understand it at all. When I read it again for class in 9th grade, it made pretty good sense.

There's exactly two things you have to remember/know:

1. The chapters aren't in chronological order/it's not linear. The easiest way to sort out where the story is is the current number of missions needed to leave the island and who is dead, both of which are referred to on a fairly regular basis. You almost have to read it like a time travel story, paying close attention to small details to sort out the "time travel" the narrator has taken between chapters.

2. The whole idea of the book is that war is nonsensical/absurd, and so many of the situations and characters are similarly warped. Milo Milobender is probably the best example, but just about everyone is pressured or forced into making insane decisions. It's supposed to be satire, it's not totally realistic.

The Silmarillion.

It was completely un-readable. Not so much a story (or series of stories), but just a bunch of stuff that happens. Terrible. It is the only book I own that I have not read and I have had it for over 10 years.

Guitarmasterx7:

Tayh:
Starship Troopers.
Man, I never expected to find a case where the movie was way better than the book.
It's just a lot of talking, politics and boring patrols. There's not even a single battle against the arachnids!

There was one in the prologue to tease you IIRC, but yeah, when I read it I was like "I'll bet it picks up when they start fighting aliens!"
And then it never came.

Anyways, when I do read I usually get recommendations from people or read things that seem interesting, so my worst list boils down to school curriculum, but to me it probably goes to "To Kill a Mockingbird." Seriously fuck that book. People seem to remember the whole racism court thing as what that book was about, when really that doesn't even get introduced until well over halfway in, and ends chapters before the book is over. The whole first half has so much useless stuff, which is drawn out horribly by the authors tendency to go into an unnecessary amount of detail. (seriously. 3 fucking pages to describe a tree with a hole in it.) Probably not the worst book I've read but definitely the most difficult to stay engaged in.

Wow, Mockingbird was one of my favorite books. I think it was more about building the themes of the story than the courtroom bit, which is understandable since the kids wouldn't have been involved. but yeah, anything you're forced to read is going to be extra painful.

Thank God you didn't have to read *shudders* Faulkner. The book either made me angry in a bad way or bored me to tears. My body physically rejected that book, it caused me physical pain it was so bad. The Sound and the Fury was terrible.

I generally have extraordinary patience for books, but I was tested by Gormenghast. I did enjoy it, but only after I managed to cut my way though the overly poetic page long descriptions of EVERYTHING.

Captcha: high time. Sure, why not?

Powers by Ursla L'Croch(probely miss spelled.) Think of a world with cool magical properties, interesting culture, and complex political and moral issues. This lady somehow found a way to write around it all and make it about some unrelatable kid who stumbles through his own plot. We are aware of the awesome stuff, but never interact with it as a reader.
My dishonorable mention is to Great Expectations which is almost the same, but there are a few interesting events in there.

You know the writer based those people he knew in the military and his own experiences, but I still kind of agree with you.

Blow_Pop:

Overquoted:

Blow_Pop:
See, as I like reading and read for my enjoyment, once a book bores me I put it down.

So I can say hardest book I've ever had to read for school is a toss up between Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The first I voluntarily read for a book report in 7th or 8th grade (for those of you across the pond 13/14 years old ish) mostly because my teacher told me there was no way I'd be able to ever finish it or write a proper book report on it. Proved them wrong. But I should have waited at least 2 more years to read it just from the usage of bigger words and such(if I'm recalling correctly as it's been almost 20 years since I last read it). And the second I had to read for my senior year of high school (18 for those across the pond) and had a teacher who expected us to immediately understand it without too much explanation on her part. However I have bought that book and read it about 5 or more times since and understand it a little better but still don't understand it well. But it's at least enjoyable at this point.

(snip)

I read Catch-22 when I was about 15 or 16. Voluntarily. My boss thought I'd love it. And she was right. It was the #1 book on GoodReads.com's Most Abandoned Classics list. While the book has a plot, it's less important than the themes and satire. And it's funny.

http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/424-what-makes-you-put-down-a-book

I voted in some of the polls for that infographic....I have a love/hate relationship with Catch-22. I really do. If I didn't I would have just checked it out from the library to read. But liking a book =/= understanding it. And having a teacher expect a class to understand something and be tested on it daily, chapter by chapter and refusing to really help with the understanding/comprehension really makes it a tedious book to read. And she was more focused on the plot than the themes and satire. So. I hate the plot. Love the themes and satire.

dystopiaINC:

5. I can't remember the name it was so bad. same young black girl marries a much older rich black man because her grand mother arranged it or some such then he dies and she marries some slightly older, charismatic dude who starts an all black town then he either dies or she leaves him for some other dude who's a free spirit and then they run away or something and they get stuck in a hurricane and he gets rabbies from a raccoon and goes crazy and tries to kill her so she shoots him. yeah WTF.

I believe you are talking about Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I just read that book and loved it. She is an amazing writer.

Yes it is, but to be honest for me reading that book was like walking five miles uphill in four feat of snow and ice with a car strapped to my back. it was hard to get invested AT ALL with any of the characters, Couldn't stand any of them. and the plot was boring and seemed like it wasn't going anywhere. stuff happened that's it.

To each his own.

Atlas Shrugged.

After playing Bioshock and hearing it was heavily inspired by Ayn Rand's political ideals I thought reading one of her books might be interesting. Good God was I wrong. I got maybe a quarter way through and all it ever was was a story about a dystopian Train Company employee being sad about stuff.

EDIT: Honorable Mention goes to this:

Nightmare99:
The Silmarillion.

It was completely un-readable. Not so much a story (or series of stories), but just a bunch of stuff that happens. Terrible. It is the only book I own that I have not read and I have had it for over 10 years.

dystopiaINC:

Blow_Pop:
[quote="Blow_Pop" post="18.828022.20141520"]

I believe you are talking about Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I just read that book and loved it. She is an amazing writer.

Yes it is, but to be honest for me reading that book was like walking five miles uphill in four feat of snow and ice with a car strapped to my back. it was hard to get invested AT ALL with any of the characters, Couldn't stand any of them. and the plot was boring and seemed like it wasn't going anywhere. stuff happened that's it.

To each his own.

I had a hard time investing in the characters too. Part of the problem is that I'm a white person and was raised in a different era. It's written from the experience of a black woman. Two completely different worlds. But yes. To each their own.

1984. People go on about that book being a literary gift from god. I got half way through it before putting it down and masturbating from boredom. Fuckin' nothing happens. It's almost like reading the daily routine of some guy. I'd normally be fine with this, considering the world 1984 portrays...but since we never see anything outside from this guys perspective (i.E. What the entire world outside of a single township is like), and that by halfway through the book, the only thing I can think of that happened was this guy going to a pub and getting a drink. And something about razors being expensive. If it were only the first couple of chapters, I'd be fine. I have no problem with setting and world building. But since there isn't much to see, and that by the halfway point there hasn't been any story progression....fuck 1984. That book can eat a bag of dicks.

The Wheel of Time books. I read 5 of them before finally stopping. There's so many characters and they mostly do nothing except talk. That would be fine if the dialogue was top notch but it's mediocre for the most part.

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