Friday Failure Bookpile.

Welcome to a semi-weekly segment wherein I chronicle a selection of modern classics that I have started reading but subsequently given up on for various reasons. Let the failure begin!


Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

I love, love, love Salinger’s Nine Stories. Probably the best collection I’ve ever read. A true master of character, dialogue, interaction, humor and pathos. But something about his novels never really did it for me. I thought Catcher in the Rye was whatevs to be quite honest. I realize that the reason it was such a groundbreaking book was because of when it was published. Reading that book in 2003 kind of takes a bit of the subversive oomph out of it.

I got about a third of the way through F & Z before I called it quits. I don’t know. I just had a hard time sympathizing with the young socialite crowd of New York in the 1950’s. I know with Salinger there’s an eventual payoff. I just lost patience I guess. I’ll come back to by, my love. Someday.


The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

Probably the most important book I’ve ever given up on. Filkins has been writing about his encounters with Islamic fundamentalism for over ten years now and it’s all in this here book. Every savage detail from a public beheading he attended in a burnt out soccer stadium to wandering the ruins of the twin towers on September 11th.

I don’t think there’s any surprise why I gave up on this one. It’s an amazing book, but I simply got tired of being bummed out and scared shitless when I picked it up.


The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I’ve got very little tolerance for stories that go nowhere. Apparently that’s just how Murakami rolls. The only thing keeping you going in this book is his voice. Slow, languid, cool, matter-of-fact, almost in total antithesis of his American conteporaries who feel the need to belt you over the head with an intense storytelling style.

It’s a little harsh to say that this story goes nowhere. He sets his characters a course, but where that course is going is a mystery to anyone. An unemployed man goes searching for his wife’s lost cat and along the way he encounters a surly nine-year-old girl, a mysterious abandoned house and it’s all  supposed be a story about a deteriorating marriage. Sounds like a blast.

Kind of off topic here but did you hear that he just sold roughly one bajillion copies of his new book?

Man, must be doing something right. Does this make me an idiot for not getting what the big deal is? I’ll give him another shot when his new 1,005 page jam comes out in English I guess. But if there’s a missing cat in it, so help me…

No Comments

  1. Jen says:

    You might like Murakami’s After The Quake, short stories.

    So I guess we aren’t reading Franny and Zooey?

  2. Chris says:

    Mneh, I’ll wait for Murikami’s new jam to come out in English. It’s supposed to be his best.

    Hell yes we’re reading Franny and Zooey. Each one of these books that I fail to finish is like a tiny screw boring away at my brain. Each book a sharp reminder of my laziness and inability to complete things I set out to do. I want to read that one not only cause it’s supposed to be good, but also to alleviate my own guilt. Ulterior motives much?

Leave a Reply