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Books You'll Never Finish Reading  

Amy Boal
1.8M votes 97k voters 1.1M views 170 items

List Rules 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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26
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Debby Crespo Frisk added Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil ...more
27
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest literary ...more
28
The Sun Also Rises is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
David Carter0 added Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway´s book abot the San Fermin Festival
29
Roots: The Saga of an American... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Kayode Rotato Poti Anthony added Alex Haley
Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold ...more
30
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
ChloeFletcher added William Golding
Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with ...more
31
The Silmarillion is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who ...more
32
The Seven Habits of Highly Eff... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
yagnelloadams added Stephen Covey
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining ...more
33
The Count of Monte Cristo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Siersha 2 added Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet
The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by French author Alexandre Dumas completed in 1844. It is one of the author's most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. Like many of ...more
34
Tess of the d'Urbervilles is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Monty Sahay added Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated ...more
35
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
ChloeFletcher added George Orwell
Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian ...more
36
Exodus is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Tracie C Scott added Leon Uris
Exodus by American novelist Leon Uris is about the founding of the State of Israel. Published in 1958, it is based on the name of the 1947 immigration ship Exodus. Uris covered the Arab–Israeli ...more
37
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Greg Jones added John Milton
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. The first version, published in 1667, consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A ...more
38
Watership Down is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Notwillywonka Aintsugarcoaten Shitt added Richard Adams
Watership Down is a classic adventure novel, written by English author Richard Adams, published by Rex Collings Ltd of London in 1972. Set in south-central England, the story features a small ...more
39
Water for Elephants is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Notwillywonka Aintsugarcoaten Shitt added Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants is a historical novel by Sara Gruen, written as part of National Novel Writing Month.
40
1984 is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Glenn St-Germain added Kit Reed
41
The Three Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Siersha 2 added Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the ...more
42
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
squanchy added Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. First published as a complete story in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the ...more
43
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Catherine Lynn Martell added Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, ...more
44
The Fountainhead is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
ChloeFletcher added Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, and her first major literary success. More than 6.5 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide. The Fountainhead '​s protagonist, Howard ...more
45
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Manuel Bottine added Bram Stoker
Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from ...more
46
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed ...more
47
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book of the Millennium trilogy, which, when published posthumously in ...more
48
The Adventures of Sherlock Hol... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Lorraine Zimmerman added Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his famous detective, and illustrated by Sidney Paget.
49
Pillars of the Earth is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Rich Duval added
50
Twilight is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Books You'll Never Finish Reading
Nicole Hone Webster added Stephenie Meyer
Twilight is a young-adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. It is the first book in the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who ...more