The Bottom of the Pile

IMG00718-20130111-1137What do these two books have in common?  I’d almost forgotten I had them, but now I’ve rediscovered them, they have made me feel a little guilty because these are but a couple of the books that I have started, but never finished reading.

It’s not really apparent from the photo but both volumes are water damaged – they were at the bottom of the piles of books on the floor by my bed and were the badly affected when I had a water problem in the flat.  In a way, these are the sacrificial ones, by soaking up so much they protected the stacks above them; so even though there were 20 or so piled up handy for bedtime reading, only these two were damaged.

But the fact remains, I’ve never finished them.  Now that they have resurfaced, should I attempt to read them again?  Can I even read the water damaged pages, some of which are a little stuck together; or should I replace them and try again?  They have a war theme in common, but I’m fairly sure I bought them several years apart.

I bought Stalingrad because I had talked, or rather, encouraged my Russian teacher to talk about, the siege of the city in the Second World War, as it was his home town and he had family stories to tell.  It’s a dramatic story, but somehow I couldn’t stick with the book.

The Kindly Ones originally published in France, was a celebrated there as a literary phenomenon, and a number of my French colleagues recommended it to me.  I didn’t feel up to reading it in French, but when I saw it had been translated I bought it fairly quickly, and I tried really quite hard to persevere, but abandoned it after about 100 pages, which as you can see didn’t make much of an impression on the whole thing.

I’ll let you know if I do go back to them…..

So, what books have you never managed to finish, worthy or otherwise?

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  1. I’m not going to answer that question, far too risky!
    Rob is reading The Kindly Ones at the moment, he’s about 2/3 of the way through. From what he says, I am going to read it myself. Will let you know if I get past 100 pages.

  2. Sally

     /  January 11, 2013

    I also started Stalingrad and didn’t even get through the first hundred pages, so respect to you for managing even that much. People talk about how Beevor makes things come alive, but he didn’t do it for me, I’m afraid. My advice would be dry it out and put it on a shelf. Life’s too short.

  3. Well… you don’t seem too enthusiastic on reading them. I’d say use the time to read books you’d enjoy more – I’m sure there’s enough titles to pick from.

    • It’s good advice Samir. I have such a long list of other things to read – but sometimes I don’t like to feel defeated by ‘good’ books!


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