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When did you put the book down? (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
So I was wondering, which books did you start to read but then just stopped? What made you decide that it just wasn't worth finishing?

For me, there was this Robert Heinlein book. I can't remember the title. It started kinda interesting, but then ended up with a man, the woman he just married, the man's daughter, and the man she just married, all naked together in a secret hideaway house. Like the story was supposed to be about them being chased by some mysterious group, but the plot goes way out of its way to get these people to a safe enough place so that they can all hang out and be naked. Literally the night after their marriages, too. That was a big nope from me.

My mom told me later that Heinlein was really gross, and a lot of his stories were meant to groom young women to put out. Like his whole concept of "perpetual innocence" or something like that, where a girl could be pure despite having all the sex. Hearing that really destroyed my desire to read anything else by Heinlein, though he has written some interesting stuff in the past.

Oh, and there was this Starcraft novel, Heaven's Devils, where the characters end up at this strip club. The narrative then proceeded to describe the stripper in the most boring, sterile narrative possible. I'm not into that kind of thing at the best of times, but the bad writing was just special. At that point I had to question what I was doing with my life and move on. All the Starcraft novels are pretty terrible, unfortunately, but that one was the one that just plain stopped me in my tracks.


Friends of WF
which books did you start to read but then just stopped?
The Heinlein book you are referencing is "Time Enough for Love" 1973. Not for everyone. But I wouldn't go so far as to say he was "grooming young women." Because young women weren't his reading audience. He might have influenced a lot of young men's expectations about their young women partners, but I am sure their partners set them straight.

My most memorable non-finisher was Stephen King's "Joyland."

I stopped reading just before the final conflict between Devin and the killer. Stopped on the line,

"Instead, I left her where she was. That’s not the world we live in, she’d said, and how right she was."

I left her where she was. It was perfect. I didn't want to leave the scene, didn't need to finish the book. I didn't care how it all wrapped up. I wanted to stay where we were, on edge of two worlds. That was enough.

So. I stopped reading because the rest of the book didn't matter anymore.

I love the book. It doesn't end.

[2021-08-20 0022]


Senior Member
Speaking of Heinlein, I closed Friday not too many pages in after the third reference to body odor. I had loved all of his early work, but figured he had lost a step before his later stuff.


Staff member
Actually Robert, he's thinking of "The Number of the Beast".

Turnbull, your mom is entitled to her opinion, but she's dead wrong. There is no "grooming" in Heinlein, and no young girls having sex. Occasionally there are young women, and I can't think of a single thing in ANY of his books that forwards the idea that anyone is innocent after sex. It's simply not there. In some of his later books he explores some alternate lifestyles (like line marriages). However, it's possible she read "Stranger in a Strange Land", which has a very 60s treatment of sex with no guilt. Your mom may have confused the idea of sex being an innocent act with the idea of the participants being innocent afterward. In any case, I seriously doubt any teenagers ever needed cover from Heinlein to excuse losing their virginity. It had been happening for a LONG time before that book was published, and happens with a LOT of teens who've never heard his name.

"Stranger" is an odd duck in the Heinlein bibliography. It was a cross-over. Even among dedicated fans it causes some controversy. Some adore it, and others have it near the bottom of the list to read again.

"The Number of the Beast" was a narrative experiment Heinlein had in mind for at least twenty years before he wrote it, with the idea of writing from with four different first-person narrators. I like the book, but I like the alternate version of it "Pursuit of the Pankera" better, because the Mars segment has a Burroughs Mars rather than a steampunk Mars, and a more solid Lensman segment. For some reason Robert and Ginny didn't like the Pankera version, so he rewrote the last two-thirds of the book, and the original manuscript was buried until a few years ago.

A lot of big-time Heinlein fans started out young, and reading the "Juveniles", a series of mid-grade titles from the 50s. "Starman Jones", "Red Planet", "Tunnel in the Sky", "The Rolling Stones", "Have Spacesuit will Travel", "Citizen of the Galaxy" (which inspired me to write a sequel since I'd wanted one forever and that was the only way I was every going to get it LOL) ... among a few others ... all outstanding reads.

By the way, in "The Number of the Beast", the action didn't start "the day after they got married". The life-threatening action started first, and the two couples married because they weren't sure how much longer they'd live! Not an uncommon trope in literature, or real life.


Senior Member
Hah. I was going to bring up Friday...

I guess I'll bring up Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber, then. I put it down after about twenty pages of the narrator refusing to speak in plain English at any point.


WF Veterans
Reminded me of the Dorothy Parker review of a book - "This book should not be set aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force."

In answer to yoour question Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, I kept waiting for her to get to the point...


I am not a Stephen King fan but I thought I'd give Under the Dome on audiobook a try (Yes, I know it was turned into a TV series, haven't seen it). What sold me in the sample of the book was the premise and the woodchuck. However, once I started going through all of the various terrible experiences of the characters caused by the dome's sudden appearance, I started to feel depressed and hammered by the unending stream of horrible/sad situations. It seemed like King was reveling in this and rather than holding a knife-edge of suspense it was just dreary and depressing. About the time that a character was dragging herself along a road on her elbows because her legs were gone I realized that this probably wasn't going to get any better and noped out of it.

I know King is a horror writer more than a suspense writer so this probably wasn't very surprising but it was a little like oysters. I know I hate them but every now and then I've given them a try again just to see if my dislike is valid. Unfortunately, it really is.


Friends of WF
Faust. Some absolute gems, but it's also like chewing through a massive, 2 inch thick, overcooked steak - especially Part II. I stopped and started it probably four times before I forced myself to finish it, and once the ordeal was over I rather wished that I hadn't gone to the trouble.


Senior Member
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea: Now, I'm aware this is a classic and I like Jules Verne. Journey To The Center Of The Earth, is a favorite. But I loathe Captain Nemo. The guy is a kidnapping madman, completely deranged. I got agita reading it, just had to put it down. One day I'll finish it, but today is not that day.

I have read the first three books of the Hitchiker's Guide To the Galaxy, but I can't bring myself to finish. I love it so much, I don't want it to end. Would be bittersweet.