Books I’ll Never Read – This Month in Literature August 18

My Patreon page, where I post my This Week in Literature collections every Tuesday afternoon (European time):
https://www.patreon.com/TheBookchemist

Buy War With the Newts on The Book Depository (yep I’m an affiliate):
http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780241343456/?a_aid=TheBookchemist

“Seven Books I’ll Never Read” by Adam O’Fallon Price:
https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/08/07/seven-books-ill-never-read/

“What to Make of Finnegans Wake?” by Michael Chabon:
https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2012/07/12/what-make-finnegans-wake/

“In Praise of Karel Capek” by Ben Dolnick:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/books/in-praise-of-karel-capek.html

Tim Jacobus’ website:
https://jacobusstudios.com/

His interview with Vice:
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7bd9aa/talking-with-the-guy-who-did-the-covers-for-goosebumps

His interview with Polygon:
https://www.polygon.com/2017/8/29/16186220/goosebumps-cover-art-tim-jacobus

Follow me on GoodReads!
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15078502.Mattia_Ravasi
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https://twitter.com/The_Bookchemist

Comments

Matúš Franko says:

Interesting video. I have started to read Infinite jest twice. At first I found it very interesting and funny, but as I got lost in the kindle edition I turned it down. Later I bought a book because I wanted to finish it… but still I did find time and sitzfleisch to finish it. But im not saying I will not finish it ever (I hope, I will). The other book, which I startwd twice is Gravity’s Rainbow. I have been reading it in czech translation, and although I enjoyed some parts of the really dense writing, I just lost patience. But im more open minded, and I like the notion that you can challenge yourself by reading a book.

Mr L says:

My feeling for FW is that it is language being lyrical: words as characters, intruding into one another, while paragraph and sentences form a more solid framing. When you’re reading it you start thinking in those terms, abandoning logic for a more inclusive flow of modes and rhythm over a single meaning. It’s poetic. Joyce was a very conscious wordsmith and even more conscious phrase smith.

mmzen says:

Pale King was kind of like Infinite Jest light. Considering it was unfinished at over 500 pages and it feels like DFW was just getting going I’m afraid of how gigantic the novel may have been if it had been completed

whatupdude96 says:

The Pale King is worth it

Super Okapi says:

I got The Recognitions staring at me on the living room table. I just bought it, but I have a feeling that I may never actually start reading it. Kinda terrifies me.

Sincerely,
The guy currently reading The Pale King 😎

Angharad LateBloomer says:

Sorry so long winded. However, despite what I said I do love fiction and it doesn’t always have to be happy or humorous. When that is part of the story I must say it helps though.

TheKawaiian says:

Thank you for the Jacobus links, I used to love that books and you’re right, the illustrations were so cool.

Vrixton Phillips says:

Hm. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready to admit there’s a work of serious literature that I won’t read. I might never read anything by Arno Schmidt though, just because he seems a little /too/ out there for me.
.
.
.
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also you’re turning into the hot professor of all our dreams lmao why is your hair always flawless.

Sarah Calhoun says:

I gave away my copy of The Secret History with no intentions of ever picking it up again.

Dim Lian says:

I love how you might some day read the Pale King.
I always thought I’d never read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy cause what’s the point after the amazing films but some sane people sat me down and explained the depth of the Professor’s scope, so I also changed my mind and will read it after all.

Adriana Pérez says:

Weird, when I read Virginia Woolf I find myself letting her take me by the hand, I just get lost in her words :)

mmzen says:

I’m reading Ulysses right now. It’s mostly been a slog but I’m at the part where bloom is on trial for lewdness and then things get more and more absurd (I assume this is some sort of dream or delusion) and am really enjoying how funny and ridiculous this section is.

Butter - says:

It’s /ˈɒnɪst/

LameWalkThroughs says:

Atlas Shrugged….well I’m actually reading it now, but doing so has only confirmed my anticipated issues with objectivist philosophy as a whole. Also, the novel is definitely more of a format/framework for rand’s philosophies and seems to be highly artificially constructed to those means.

This book is the biggest pain in the ass reading experience I’ve believe I’ve had, even beating out Moby Dick.

Paolo Pitari says:

btw: I’m 99.9% certain you will not like The Pale King. It takes a fan to do so (like Chabon w/ Finnegans Wake). – TPK is an unfinished novel, and REALLY reads like one (all those people who claim otherwise are fanboys and/or bullshitters). In general, the book is constituted by great/awesome and finished and polished sections in alternation with just bad stuff that also reads like it was just left there unfinished or was just a failure. So yeah…you might want to read the good parts only xD

like this one.. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/02/05/good-people

if you don’t like this, just give up the book before even trying (if you like it a lot then you may give it a try)
P.S. whoever added that subtitle for the new yorker managed to ruin the whole thing…go figure.

Peace

Jason Burleson says:

Its Finnegans Wake for me as well. Tried to do it two times in an MA seminar and just dropped the course both times after getting about 150 pages in. Ulysses, on the other hand, blew me away the second time I read it (the first wasn’t so successful). Using the Gilbert scheme and reading each part knowing it is an “episode” really helped me a lot.

Paolo Pitari says:

As soon as I read the title I thought Finnegans Wake

Keith Witty says:

For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Tale of Two Cities. Life is too short for Dickens (despite my love of Pynchon and Tartt, who both claim Dickens as a major influence). Meanwhile, Hemingway just bores me incessantly. I’ve read The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea multiple times and I just don’t get why he is so beloved.

Angharad LateBloomer says:

ooooh The Kidneys!! That’s some dark humor man. You have read some messed up stuff. That would not have occurred to me as a fear that quick and I definitely have fear of people. Good one though, made me laugh.

Random Artist says:

On the Road by Jack Kerouac – a book I will never finish. I pushed myself hard to take it as far as I did when I had it in my hands and I just couldn’t finish the thing. Could be my very young age (I was like 16 or something) or the fact that I’m not from USA or something else, but I never really understood the point of it. Pretty sure it had a very deep meaning that completely flew over my head, but I refuse to go back and reread it. It kind of left me drained after every page I was finishing hence the experience not being all that great.

Steven Santos says:

The Cantos of Ezra Pound. I’ve tried several times, and have read certain individual Cantos from it, but, yeah, it’s just not going to happen.

Robert Neville says:

Can you do a review of John Kennedy Tool’s Confederacy of dunces ? Or any book written by Eduardo Mendoza, would be fun !

Μιχάλης Δαβλάντης says:

Really, really enjoying the channel! You must be the best reviewer on Youtube and your love/obsession with Pynchon and Infinite Jest is so refreshing! Keep up the great work! By the way, you should definitely read and do a review on The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. It’s a story about stories and a little like ancient tragedy. You will not regret it!

Ashley Bentley says:

David Copperfield. I slugged my way through Bleak House during the summer. I think Great Expectations was the perfect length for a Dickens novel. Can’t see myself making the effort for DC.

Aditya Bhatia says:

Book Chemist! I require a recommendation! I’m about to finish The Corrections and was wondering if I should read Freedom, Purity, Underworld, Inherent Vice, Sabbath’s Theater, The Satanic Verses, or The Yiddish Policeman’s Union next! Please help!

Jame Dont says:

If you read anything else by Woolf, read To the Lighthouse! I generally am not a huge fan of modernism (I also had trouble seeing what was so great about Portrait of the Artist, for instance) but To the Lighthouse is genuinely the most beautiful piece of literature I have ever experienced. I could honestly call it a perfect novel.

Bill Bronson says:

Harry Potter. All 7 of them.

nice try167 says:

Anything centered around romance and only romance disgusts me, now i don’t mind romantic sub-plots but if the entire book is about some woman stuck in a love triangle or whatever terminal-cancer having couple drama etc, i will avoid it.
Money is too precious a commodity to waste on shitty romance novels.

Bookish Bear says:

I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to read Moby Dick… I want to like it, I feel like I should (based on other things I enjoy) like it, but I try it every few years and it’s just not going to happen.

Celeumäe says:

I’ll never read the Divine Comedy for its poetry and I cant read italian, and to read poetry in ttanslation is like not readibg at all. Probably other epic poems as well, even tough I love poetry.

time to read! says:

This is such an interesting idea, but I think I am 100% open to anything. Well, anything to an extent. I will give books a try and if I am not enjoying it and think it is never going to be for me then I put it on the “never gonna happen” shelf. Not too many things there though because I try to pick up books I think I will enjoy.

tony bennett says:

Oh, I’m with you on Joyce : The Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a young Man, great. I started reading Ulysses and enjoyed it at first, but then Joyce started to disappear up his own posterior and by about page 200, I thought, “I don’t like the person who wrote this. I think if I met him in real life, I’d find him obnoxious”, so end of Joyce.

Middlemarch……aaaaahh, just a great wallow of a read. Its language is beautiful, and so witty that I smiled far more than with supposedly comic novels.

I won’t read Infinite Jest, Proust or Ayn Rand. It’s not that I’m averse to lengthy tomes, these ones are just not for me.

Danni Green says:

I think every book lover or avid reader at some point needs to admit to his/herself that they will not read certain works, for one reason or another. I will never read Middlemarch. I’m not a fan of realism nor do I enjoy novels set in rural places. There are several others I will never read, but that’s the only one that comes to mind immediately.

Angharad LateBloomer says:

Oddly I only read for enjoyment these days or knowledge so the majority of the books you talk about I will probably never read. I am ok with that. I could ask you if you are going to read plays and perform in them. That is one thing I do. But if not everyone wants to do that even if they are curious I think the world will keep going and people can push themselves if they like. I must admit sometimes I think I must be missing out as I have not read more than a few pages of infinite jest but at this point I find the explanations of it to be kind of scary and creepy. I do not believe I will ever fully read Stephen King’s “It” either as it is super long and apparently has many very disturbing things in it. Not gonna miss that horrifying me. Maybe I am a little jaded as I find enough weird shit in the world outside of fiction. Enough terror and fucked up things and unhappiness-es and stresses. I don’t want to learn about more or escape to them really intentionally. Just living and not always distracting yourself from reality is quite scary enough for me a lot of my days.

Angharad LateBloomer says:

I think it’s ok to admit you aren’t going to read something or to not do that. You can always change your mind or stick to it. What harm is either? You can push yourself and still find there are many things you don’t even care to get to or to challenge your way through. Right. Well that’s my view, even if it’s your job to read.

smashmouthrocks says:

Anything by Ayn Rand, not for her political views but because she’s too preachy in her novels.

george hub says:

A book such as Middlemarch needs to be read through at least twice to fully appreciate. Wake needs a few more as it’s like learning a new language.

Flaubert was convinced one would attain a better education reading certain masterpieces thoroughly, as opposed to constantly consuming new material. The more time I spend rediscovering books like Middlemarch or Ulysses, the more I agree with him. Whether or not Wake is as intrinsically valuable as Ulysses, I couldn’t say, but to spend more time with Joyce than say, Chabon, seems a no brainer to me.

sobrashy says:

The Comedians by Graham Greene

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