General Question

absolutely's avatar

How do I become interested in a book that's so easy to put down?

Asked by absolutely (126points) January 28th, 2008

I’ve been trying to read Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” for months now. I’ve gotten through maybe 3 chapters so far, and I can’t seem to convince myself to keep reading it. The writing is beautiful, and I want to read it for that, but it’s just not exciting. It doesn’t keep my interest. What to do?

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7 Answers

Patlutz's avatar

One suggestion is to buy an audio version of the book (perhaps on iTunes or a similar online store) and listen to it, which might keep your interest more than the book does. If you don’t feel up to investing money into buying an audio version of the book, check if your local public library has any in stock.

boydieshere's avatar

I don’t think the writing justifies the story…if you’re not interested, you’re not interested. I love Lord of the Rings, but I’ve never read a book because I can’t stand the way Tolkien writes. It’s completely honorable to say you respect and like his writing, but that the story didn’t do anything for you. I don’t think it’s worth putting yourself through the boredom.

gailcalled's avatar

Miller’s Tropics (Cancer and Capricorn) are not well-written, IMHO. We read them years ago because he wrote more dirty parts than we had seen, as teen-agers, in print. Don’t spoil your love of reading by torturing yourself. He repeats himself – check out the DIARIES OF ANAIS NIN; she was one of his lovers. She is an equally boring writer, however.

Some wonderful books suggested on Fluther:



christybird's avatar

@gailcalled; I have to agree; I’ve never been a big fan of HM.

@absolutely, If you are resolute in wanting to read this, you could try reading it aloud with a lover or friend. One of you can either do all the reading, or you can take turns. Add wine or snacks and it becomes an event. This technique helped me get through “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard, another beautifully-written but difficult-to-get-though book. Another aspect of reading aloud is that you end up being much more conscious of the language as you actually say the words, which can be good, or potentially embarrassing, if you are reading a smutty part.

finkelitis's avatar

Good call on reading aloud, christybird. That helped me get through Ulysses. Though that’s more of a read aloud book anyway.

@absolutely: sometimes a good essay on the book can help, by putting in context why people thought the book was worth reading. Orwell has an essay on Tropic of Cancer called Inside the Whale, which is very readable. I never read ToC, but reading the Orwell piece made me want to.

gailcalled's avatar

Finkelitis; stick w. Orwell, any or all of his writings. ToC and ToCap are huge yawns.

I will check out Inside the Whale, however, since I am an Orwell fan.

Spargett's avatar


If that isnt good enough, if
you read the whole thing you’ll never have to worry if you missed out on a great book. But seriously, it isn’t ‘Love and War’. We’re only talking a few hundred pages, very low investment.

For the record: I loved that book.

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