Recently, I was listening to the radio and a fellow listener called in to say that he had been attempting to read and re-read (and re-read!!) James Joyces's Ulysses for the last...wait for it...42 years! He starts and re-starts it in June every year. This led me to thinking about the books that I have attempted, stopped reading but returned to read. One particular book for me (which I have started three times over the past year) is Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. This book is regarded as one of the greatest English language novels of the twentieth century and I cannot get past page 20.
Which brings me to another point. My senior school English teacher (Mr Eton, who I credit with having introduced me to the world of literature and to whom I am ever grateful) once said to his class of 30-odd year 11 English students, that one way of knowing whether to continue with a book, is to subtract your age from the number 100. The resultant number you get is the page number you should reach before deciding to give up on a book. At the time he had a bit of a chuckle saying that the older you get the less time you have left and so the 'cop-out' page number gets smaller and smaller. Oh, Mr Eton, may you rest in peace!
Maybe if I wait long enough (i.e. when I turn eighty) I will be able to give up on the book, heeding my year 11 teacher's advice...and no guilt! Or, will I give it another go, glutton for punishment that I am?
What books have you attempted and re-attempted, etc, etc?