The Book That Took Me 17 Years to Read

Ah, squiders. Have you ever had a book that you picked up, read part of, and then put down, through no fault of the book itself?

You told yourself you’d get back to it. But then time stretched on and on, and you forgot what happened in the part you read, and the book got stuffed some place random and you’re not sure where it is, or it was due back to the library, and for some reason it’s too much work to request it again, etc.

I had a book like that. I started it as an extra credit assignment during AP history my sophomore year of high school. I liked what I read for the assignment, and so figured I would read the whole book.

And didn’t.

Except now I have! Finally.

That book is Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaardner, with the appropriate subtitle of “A Novel About the History of Philosophy,” to which I would also add “Somewhat obsessed with meta-commentary on books and life in general.”

It has sat on my bookcase since sophomore history, staring at me, but I finally cracked it open and read the whole thing. And I wish I had read it as a teenager, honestly. I think I would have appreciated it more then. As an adult, I enjoyed the philosophy parts fine, but felt disconnected from the characters and somewhat underwhelmed with the meta take the book goes on starting about halfway through.

All that time just to not particularly like the book.

Is there a lesson to be taken away from this, squiders? Maybe. Something like: just finish the dang book within a reasonable time.

Ever had a book that took you forever to get through? Thoughts on Sophie’s World in general?

2 responses to this post.

  1. It took me all of college and then some to read Crime & Punishment (the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.) I read Anna Karenina in my first semester (which I really enjoyed, and which continues to fascinate me) and, also prodded by a Harlan Ellison short story where he extols the existential angst inherent to them, decided I should take on the other Russian classics. I’ve not progressed further with that goal.


  2. […] I hate to start a book I don’t finish, squiders. You guys know that, if you’ve been here a while, since I once posted about a book I started in high school and finished quite a bit later. […]


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