Books I started But Could Not Finish

I was going to title this post “Books Most People Start But Don’t Finish.” Then I realized that sweeping generalizations of this nature are best not made. So I narrowed the scope down, just a tad. I consider myself quite resilient when it comes to books. I’ve plowed through some even if I could only grasp a little or if they failed to hold my full attention. These are books I started, or have wanted to read but couldn’t. In case it comes across otherwise, I want to clarify something: Most of these are classics or spiritual guides that have inspired millions if not billions and it is my intellectual ability, or lack of it rather, that has prevented me from comprehending them. Many of these books exist in their original form in a language I do not speak, read or understand so the best English approximation will have to do. I hope to, at some future day when I am older and hopefully wiser to come back and revisit them. So without further ado….and drum-roll please….

  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez — (Original Spanish). Two hundred pages in I just could not. I hope to understand the Magic Realism concept some day. I didn’t know the genre was called Magic Realism until a wise woman told me it was called thus.
  2. Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. — Just about everyone in high school was carrying a copy, or so it felt. So I picked up a copy, barely made it past ten pages if I recall correctly. I do however, recall a character named Howard Roark. Poor choice of reading material for a teenager who hadn’t read a “real” book until he was seventeen. Probably a good time to revisit to try and understand the libertarians and their point(s) of view. Because  concepts like fiscal conservatism and libertarianism, on the face of it appear quite sound and appealing. But the devil is in the details.
  3. The Bhagavad Gita ( Original Sanskrit) , — This one I really hope I can come back and revisit. It has been an inspiration and life guide for some of the best and brightest minds that have ever walked the earth. Plus I could sure use some spiritual guidance.
  4. The New Testament — See #3
  5. The Quran  (Original Arabic I presume) — See #4. And last I checked Islam had close to two billion adherents, so I’d like to know what the book that is the foundation of this religion says.
  6. The Dhammapada  (Original Pali) — Gautama Buddha. ‘Nuff said.
  7. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey (Original Greek) — Saw a version written for pre-teens at the local library the other day. That should be a good starting point.
  8. Ulysses by James Joyce — Have not yet mustered enough courage to try and borrow it from the library, much less start reading it.
  9. Capital in the Twenty First Century by Thomas Piketty (Original French). — Reading a review like this one by someone with the intellect to understand it will have to do for now.
  10. Das Kapital by Karl Marx (Original German) — File it under the same category as #8.
  11. Mein Kampf by Author Needs No Introduction — Much for the same reasons others that picked up this book did, to try and understand what went on in that maniac’s mind, but the incoherent rambling was too much to make it past the first few pages.
  12. All of Them — W. Shakespeare — No, literally all of them. I do have a guide to reading Shakespeare that runs to about 300 pages. That would be a good starting point.

Random thought of the week: About using the phrase “Without further ado. Breaking the first of George Orwell’s six cardinal rules of writing: : Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Here’s the full list in case anyone’s interested.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.

As always thank you for reading.

Lakshman Hariharan

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