Monday, March 12, 2007

I've Started So I Won't Finish

According to a new survey we do not finish one third of the books which we start to read. The top three non finished books include two political tomes, David Bluinkett's diaries and Bill Clinton's memoirs. I have to admit to not finishing Clinton's book myself. Which other political books should be in the list?

42 comments:

antifrank said...

I've never started a book and not finished it. However, there are plenty of books I've finished and wished I hadn't wasted my time on.

jailhouselawyer said...

The Thatcher Years?

C4' said...

I finished the Downing Street Years within a week. Great book!

bt said...

Easy -

Das Kapital.
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (unabridged ed.)
Rechere du Temps Perdu
Anything with David Beckham's name on it

anon and on and on said...

I started Will Hutton's "The State We're In", and after a couple of chapters caught myself swearing out loud. In the interests of mental stability and lower blood-pressure it remains unfinished...

stephen tolkinghorne said...

On a non-political theme:

Having heard him on the Goons, and on Songs of Praise, I once decided that the autobiography of that nice Mr Harry Seecombe would be an interesting read - 'Strawberries and Cheam'.

Good lordy, was I wrong. It was the most banal, mundane, irrelevant drivel I've ever had to endure in a book. Having mixed with such interesting people, I just assumed he'd have some cracking annecdotes to tell. He didn't He seems to have been a man entirely out of his element, as he mixed with the talented and gifted. He was neither of these things. Stopped reading it half way through before I lost the will to live.

PJ said...

I was rather disappointed by Margaret's memoirs. They weren't terrible - there just wasn't that much in them I didn't already know, having read Nigel Lawson's excellent memoirs and of course the newspapers and seen the TV news throughout the Thatcher years. So I never finished them.

Anonymous said...

"The Tony Blair Years" by Craig Brown - I DID finish it, but it has to be read in chunks, pausing for breath.

It is so hysterically funny that one has to break it up - it is literary crack cocaine; too concentrated to read all in one go...

Anonymous said...

"Oscar and Lucinda" by Peter Carey.

Many people think the book is great fiction, but I'm afraid I found it rather turgid...

To be honest, I think the 1 in 3 figure is quite good. If it means that 2 in 3 is worth reading to the end that means the majority must have some redeeming qualities - although I suspect 'Blunkett' is the exception to the rule...

Anonymous said...

"Insomnia - A guide to getting a better night's sleep".

Didn't finish it, as I did get to sleep after reading the first half.

But that is probably not a bad thing!

jailhouselawyer said...

On the topic of books, I see Yates books Levy. Turner and Powell to follow. http://prisonervoice.blogspot.com

malcolm said...

Ben Pimlotts book on Harold Wilson.Dull

Anonymous said...

Hmmm..I'm being a politician here, and answering a different question...

Books I haven't YET finished, so I may or may not get through them...

"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" by Greg Palast

"An Updated Dossier" by Bremner, Bird and Fortune..

"How to be Free" by Tom Hodgkinson

Steve said...

I actually finished the autobiography of Michael Stewart (you whippersnappers won't have a clue but he was a senior Cabinet minister in the Wilson governments of the 60s). That is some staying power. I failed however to finish any of the SDP Gang's books in the early 80s.

I gave away the copy of one of John Humphreys' "why oh why everything's gone to pot in my day etc etc" books - can't remember which one, it was given as a present - without even opening it.

Steve Albury said...

The DOwning Street years - most disappointing political book EVER

judith said...

'Blair - The Messiah Years'

J P Hartley said...

May we at some point expect to be offered a book recording the relationship between the current Prime Minister and his Chancellor?

I suggest "Brown and Sticky" for the title....

bebopper said...

Jimmy greaves' autobiography is extremely well-written, but it happens to be the one I keep by the bedside. It's been there for about six months, because I tend to fall asleep immediately in a drunken stupor.

machiavelli said...

Anything by Margaret Atwood.

tonemcd said...

Anon-and-on-and-on @ 9:26

Same here! - great minds eh?

Andrew Ian said...

Marx's polemics and Mein Kampf for a start.

charlotte Corday said...

"Tristram Shandy" - this is one of those books you either "get" or don't. I didn't.
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". I'm either too old or it's too dated.
"A Suitable Boy." OK, I know people who loved it but I got confused who everyone was and the large paperback version was too bulky for me to read in bed.

BJ said...

I one of the many, it seems, who didn't finish Vernon God Little. Political-wise, I never finished Joe Klein's "Primary Colours". And I haven't even [i]started[/i] Don Watson's biography of Paul Keating, "Recollections of a Bleeding Heart". I've had it on the shelf for about six years.

Andy D said...

Not polictical I know, but during my GSCES's I only ever read the first half of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, my main study books.

Lucky I still got an A for English Lit then.

judith said...

School exams kill nearly every Lit book/play stone dead. Try going back to Wuthering Heights in your 30's.

And if you can't finish Primary Colours, catch the film - Travolta has Clinton to a 't'.

judith said...

School exams kill nearly every Lit book/play stone dead. Try going back to Wuthering Heights in your 30's.

And if you can't finish Primary Colours, catch the film - Travolta has Clinton to a 't'.

Paul Linford said...

Political: The State We're In. No wonder the Blairites gave up on Will Hutton.
Non-political: The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt - not a patch on The Secret History.

Dave Bartlett said...

I'll second the votes for 'Oscar and Lucinda' and 'Tristram Shandy'. The first book I found too dull to finish was 'Paddington goes to the Circus', tragic.

verity said...

Charlotte Corday, I was going to mention "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"! I tried. I really did. But I think I never got beyond page 3.

Little Black Sambo said...

"A Dance to the Music of Time", "Midnight's Children", Booker prizewinners.
(Quite agree about the relative merits of Donna Tartt's two books.)

Rush-is-Right said...

I was pretty surprised to see that nobody claims not to have finished A Brief History of Time

I finished it alright, but he lost me when he started talking about imaginary time. Now that's heavy

Yak40 said...

Denis Healy's "My Life" which should've been subtitled "Look at me I'm the only one with any brains, I'm so smart I can't stand it".

hg said...

Never mind books I've never finished, I have whole lives that could have been led and then I did something else (for much the same sort of reasons books get laid aside, too dull, too scary, too hard, too easy, too long....).

Richard Havers said...

I was about to say Gordon Brown's 'Moving Britain Forward: Selected Speeches, 1997-2006' but who would even bother starting to read it.

My wife has just pointed out the obvious - an insomniac!

Raedwald said...

Tsk. If this report is accurate, what a nation of molly-whoppits we've become. I doubt there's one book in a thousand I haven't finished; firstly because I trust certain reviewers and secondly because I won't waste money on a turgid semi-literate act of onanism such as Blunkett's sad little volume of jujune prattlings.

There was one utterly unreadable novel a few years ago by an unknown American author. It was a work of such crass inability that I am still astonished it found a publisher. At page 30 I was so angered at having my time wasted I ripped the book along the spine and flung it into the waste paper basket. Before remembering I had been lent it by a good friend.

Annabel said...

I did finish "Zen......" but I was a lot younger then.
Have abandoned Le Carre's The Constant Gardener. I shall get the DVD.
On book got just too turgid, and that was "Crime and Punishment" started it as a sort of mind improving exercise, then thought my mind may be better left unimproved. Kept falling asleep over it you see.

Welsh Spin said...

I only yestrerday finally nailed after 3 weeks Cato's biog of Robert Moses 'The Power Broker'. I presently think i'll take a break before Alistair's diaries appear in September!

I haven't read the Blunkett book, but I have read both the Clinton's autobiogs and I found Bill's far more absorbing - though still heavy going ...

raincoaster said...

Don't feel bad about the Clinton autobiography: confidentially, I don't think he's read it either.

Primary Colours doesn't really catch fire until at least a third of the way through, but it's actually a very moving book that stands on its own merit as a novel...IF you get that far.

Donna Tartt: sophomore curse. I haven't finished Godel, Escher, Bach but I did finish God and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, so that's my philosophohippie street cred. I'm trying to work my way through Gore Vidal's United States, Essays 1952-1992, but it may well defeat me; one more namedrop of Anais Nin and I'll give it up (now there is an author I truly can't stand).

simon said...

The Alcoholics- 'the future of politics'. I read 12 pages before i thought- 'F'k this! I need a double vodka and coke!'

Hermes Trismegistus said...

The Da Vinci Code - overrated!!

mordonian said...

"Das Kommunistische Manifest" ... yaaaawwwn!!!

However, another intesting question is which would be the greatest political stories never (or not yet) told?

Raw Carrot said...

Anything by John Rawls.