Mayoral Candidates Answer: What Book Can't You Finish?

When I was a high school senior, I had a girlfriend who was in college. She studied philosophy and was also a fiend for literature. I was so impressed with my overachieving little brainiac self. Then she gave me a copy of James Joyce's Ulysses to read. Oh, how I looked forward to the discussions we'd have over what I was already convinced would be Joyce's utter brilliance.

Except, I couldn't finish it. In fact I could barely even start it. In four or five attempts, I never made it past page 35.

Since then I've learned I'm far from alone on this one. I've encountered more than one fabulously well-read person who nonetheless describes Joyce's impenetrable method as “stream of unconsciousness” (and I've had my doubts about whether anyone — including my high-school girlfriend — has read it cover to cover). I've also since learned that every person, lit-head or not, probably has at least one book that resists all attempts at completion.

The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library recently asked all the city's mayoral candidates what books they couldn't finish and posted a video of their responses on its blog, The Readers Review. Watch it below — some of the answers might surprise you.

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