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Josh Hurst

Classic novels that I don't like.

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Okay, I confess...

As much as I respect the experimental writing style of James Joyce, I think his work is boring beyond all reason. I can't for the life of me figure out why most critics consider Ulysses to be a superior book to, say, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, or Ethan Frome.

The only Hemingway work that I've ever read and enjoyed is The Old Man and the Sea. The Sun Also Rises just doesn't do much for me.

And I would rather have a root canal than read anything by Charles Dickens.

Okay, those are my confessions. Anyone else?

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: The only Hemingway work that I've ever read and enjoyed is The Old

: Man and the Sea.

Alas, The Boring Old Man and His Boring Sea is the only of the five Hemingways I've read that I didn't like.

: And I would rather have a root canal than read anything by Charles

: Dickens.

Dude, that is totally messed up. Dickens rawks.

And I'd rather read works by any of the books and authors you've listed (expect perhaps Joyce's most obtuse works) than read or re-read any of Shakespeare's dramatic plays; Willy's works just die on the page, much more so than, say, Shaw, Checkov, Wilder, or even Beckett.

Dale

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I agree with you, Dale: Dickens is the man! It's been years, but I enjoyed David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, and Great Expectations. I especially appreciated DC, with its rich characterizations (Micawber, Heep!, among others) and its evocation of true love.

On the other hand, I've had no desire to return to Melville or Hemingway, since they were forced upon me in high school.

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This is a fun thread.

Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Couldn't make it all the way through. Stream-of-consciousness writing just doesn't do it for me.

Middlemarch by George Eliot. Finished only because I had to. Loved The Mill on the Floss though.

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty. Again, the stream-of-consciousness thing.

And William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying made me feel like *I* was.

I've gotta agree with Dale and share the love of Dickens (although I can't extend that sentiment to all his novels

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I have begun several books by Dickens but have never finished one. The man was clearly being paid by the word. He needed an editor. Give the man "story" credit, by all means -- colourful characters and interesting plot outlines and all that -- but let someone else write the "screenplay", if you know what I mean.

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: The only Hemingway work that I've ever read and enjoyed is The Old

: Man and the Sea.

Alas, The Boring Old Man and His Boring Sea is the only of the five Hemingways I've read that I didn't like.

All Hemingway leaves me cold. Also, most Steinbeck, though Of Mice and Men finally got to me...or was it The Grapes of Wrath? It's been so long since I read either one that they tend to blur together, though I do remember that Grapes is about the Joads and Mice is about Lennie and Squiggy...er... tongue.gif The Steinbeck novel that I really hated was The Pearl, which for some reason I had to read in 8th grade...scarred me for life.

I survived Henry James by taking my professor's advice to try reading his novels 15 minutes at a time.

Virginia Woolf. I want a t-shirt with "I survived Mrs. Dalloway" on the front, and on the back, "I survived The Hours" :wink:

OTOH, I think she makes a lot of very good points in "A Room of One's Own."

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Josh, do you find Joyce's short stories boring, too? I think "The Dead" is a great one.

His short fiction is much better than his novels, in my opinion. I don't remember much about "The Dead," though I know I liked it more than I did Portrait of the Artist.

The man was clearly being paid by the word. He needed an editor. Give the man "story" credit, by all means -- colourful characters and interesting plot outlines and all that -- but let someone else write the "screenplay", if you know what I mean.

Exactly.

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I've never read a novel I didn't like.

As soon as I know I don't like it, I stop reading.

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I've never read a novel I didn't like.

As soon as I know I don't like it, I stop reading.

Good plan. But even in class? Though it worked for my husband. He read about 1/3 of the works in his 20th c. lit class (and got a good grade).

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I don't know how "classic" Ayn Rand is considered, but I gave up Atlas Shrugged about 3/4s of the way through. It's the only book (fiction) I've ever stopped reading. It was ugly, disturbing and full of so much distasteful rhetoric it made me ill.

I like Dickens a lot. And Hemingway. But I feel Faulkner is over-rated.

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I did an independent study on Ulysses last year. My most difficult read ever. Very rewarding however. Joyce said that he wanted it to take as long for someone to read his books as he took to write them tongue.gif I could have easily spent another semester on it.

Only Dickens I've read was Christmas Carol and A Sale of Two.... err, a Tale of Two Cities. I really enjoyed both.

Heny James can totally bite me. Portrait of a Lady is one of the most boring books I've ever had to slog through. My Antonia, by Willa Cather, is another book that has put me right to sleep on multiple occasions.

I'm currently taking classes on Shakespeare and Chaucer, and thanks to great profs, these authors who used to annoy the everliving crap out of me are becoming quite a joy.

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I finally thought of a novel I read but didn't like: Jurassic Park. Not exactly a classic, though. Can't think of any classics from which I didn't derive at least some enjoyment or fascination, but then I've never really tried reading Faulkner or Joyce. Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Crime and Punishment are not fun books but they are spellbinding. The first time I thought about suicide was in high school, after I finished Tess.

I liked the first two Frank Peretti books when I read them, but later on it occurred to me that I'd been had.

One of my freelance jobs entails editing books for a Christian vanity press. (Try and get your head around that phrase.) The books are varying degrees of dismal, but fortunately there have been few novels. However, I can now tell you why Vladimir Putin is the antichrist...

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One of my freelance jobs entails editing books for a Christian vanity press. (Try and get your head around that phrase.)

But, I thought all was vanity.... I'm glad to know there is at least a role for editting at such places.

The books are varying degrees of dismal, but fortunately there have been few novels. However, I can now tell you why Vladimir Putin is the antichrist...

Only Putin? Things have settled down a bit since I stopped reading that stuff long ago.

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One of our assignments in my 10th grade lit. class was to write our own version of a Hemingway story. A couple of my friends and I hated reading Hemingway and saw this as a chance for sweet revenge. Thankfully, our professor had a great sense of humor because we wrote some pretty scathing parodies. I remember being especially proud of mine, and still consider it one of my greatest academic achievements in high school.

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In a similar assignment, I wrote a parody of The Sun Also Rises called "The Drink Also Rises," or something like that.

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Can't resist posting this. What if Hemingway had written Lord of the Rings?

It was very late and everyone had left the hall except an old man who sat in the shadows the leaves of the old Mallorn made against the moonlight. The two elves inside the hall knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he usually was quiet and kept to himself they knew that if he became too drunk he would start setting things on fire, so they kept watch on him.

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indeed...after years of trying to put off that i am really a deep person...i have failed...so many works of lit make me want to curl up and die...

The Old Man and the Sea

The Red Badge of Courage a person should be given a medal of honor of suffering through that mess...and i had to do it 3 times...each time hoping it would get better...each time it didn't...

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I just love to hate:

ANYTHING by George Eliot!

Well, that's not fair. But I was forced through Middlemarch <shuddler> and that horrendous trio of confused, Victorian femininity, Scenes of Clerical Life.

Nothing against femininity, of course.

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(...said she didn't care for certain modern American and British novels...)

http://artsandfaith.com/style_images/3/fol...ages/italic.gif

Beth:

At least they are in...you know..ENGLISH!

Not like that Chaucer that somebody's been known to assign.

...

P.S. Probably the classic novel I liked the least was, um, Left Behind...or maybe Tribulation Force.

1. :D

2. Wow, you really do have time on your hands if you can dig up a post from 2003. Would you like to help me organize my office? ;)

3. I can't think why I've never read Left Behind or Tribulation Force. If they're in ENGLISH they might be better than Chaucer! But probably not better than Langland!

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I trudged through Portrait of a Lady for school, didn't mind it, but I didn't enjoy it either.

I think C.S. Lewis once said that War And Peace was the greatest novel ever written. As much as I love Lewis, I'm still trying to find the logic in that statement. As a matter of fact, I haven't enjoyed any Tolstoy I've read so far. That man had no concept of brevity. Besides, in terms of Russian literature, Dostoevsky had a far greater grasp on life ideals written in literature.

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I think C.S. Lewis once said that War And Peace was the greatest novel ever written. As much as I love Lewis, I'm still trying to find the logic in that statement. As a matter of fact, I haven't enjoyed any Tolstoy I've read so far. That man had no concept of brevity. Besides, in terms of Russian literature, Dostoevsky had a far greater grasp on life ideals written in literature.

Granted that Tolstoy is long-winded, but it's for a good purpose. He had an eerie understanding of the workings of the human mind. For instance, how he could see into Anna Karenina's mind so well. Brilliant.

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Have you read any of Tolstoy's short stories? They might change your overall view of his work.

I think I borrowed a book with some of his short stories from the library once. I might have enjoyed one, but don't remember what it was about.

In the end, I accidentally forgot about the book, and it ended up costing me a hefty fine. Hmph. Perhaps that's the reason for the negative feelings!

Granted that Tolstoy is long-winded, but it's for a good purpose. He had an eerie understanding of the workings of the human mind. For instance, how he could see into Anna Karenina's mind so well. Brilliant.

Maybe I just need to give him a second chance.

I think my main thing with Tolstoy is not that he isn't a good writer; it's that I appreciate Dostoevsky so much more. I know that seems random, but in reality, they were contemporary writers who both were writing about similar things, and when I put them side by side, Dostoevsky's writing appeals to me more.

When you compare the lives of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, it's obvious that Dostoevsky endured many horrors of his society that Tolstoy only had to read about in the newspaper. Tolstoy lived a relative life of ease compared to Dostoevsky. I think that as a concequence of the hardships Dostoevsky dealt with, and how the grace of God came through for him, he was able to grasp the meaning of the human condition in a more poignant way. That understanding of life seems to be communicated more succinctly in his writing than in Tolstoy's body of work. But then again, I've never read Anna Karenina, so maybe I should try that instead!

BTW, Annelise, I noticed the quote in your signature, by Solzenitzn. Yet another brilliant Russian writer. I'm reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich right now. It's very good.

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BTW, Annelise, I noticed the quote in your signature, by Solzenitzn. Yet another brilliant Russian writer. I'm reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich right now. It's very good.

I recommend Solzenitz's Cancer Ward. Powerful, powerful stuff.

And to get this thread back on track, I couldn't stand Grapes of Wrath. Rambling, pretentious, funny-accented prattle interspersed with desert tortoises. Never want to read another page of Steinbeck again in my life.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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