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Source: (consider it) Thread: "Great" books we hate
la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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This weekend I was commiserating with a poor unfortunate teenager who is undergoing the cruel and unusual punishment of being forced to read Madame Bovary at school.

For some reason, this tome is considered one of the great masterpieces of the French canon. Neither he nor I can understand why, because it Sucks™.

Synopsis: Nothing happens. For 500 extremely long pages. Finally it picks up a bit when the stupid bint does us all a favour by killing herself. There you go. I have just saved you hours of your life.

Any more candidates for the suckiest sucky books in the history of suckdom?

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Sipech
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# 16870

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Definitely. Often the higher-praised they are, the harder they fall. I've developed almost an aversion to Booker Prize winners and others shortlisted for it.

One of my most hated books is Midnight's Children. It was supposed to be so good, but it's just pages and pages of turgid nothingness. Afterwards, I was told by someone that you can't possibly hope to appreciate it unless you've first read the complete works of Rudyard Kipling, but I've no appetite for doing such preparatory reading for a single novel.

Another of the worst books ever written is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. It's multiple plots are ambitious, but each is derivative, dull and poorly executed.

And of course, there's Moon Tiger, where the central character is underdeveloped and recounts her life story in a cold, heartless manner and which is almost instantly forgettable.

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Kitten
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# 1179

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I absolutely detested 'Testament of Youth'

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Jane R
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# 331

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My father-in-law always referred to D H Lawrence as 'The man who made sex boring'. I got as far as the second paragraph of Women in Love once before deciding that life was too short to bother reading the rest.
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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Emma by Jane Austen.

By the time I'd finished it, I wanted to reach into the Kindle and punch her in the face. OTH, Austen did say she was going to write a book with a heroine that no one would like!

Tubbs

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Pigwidgeon

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# 10192

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The Old Man and the Sea just goes on and on and on about that stupid fish.

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~Tortuf

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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I'm currently reading James Wood's 'How Fiction Works', and he claims that 'Madame Bovary' (and similar works) has been highly influential on the generations of novelists who came afterwards. That's an important aspect of a classic novel's greatness, although not terribly inspiring if you're studying it as a young person and haven't read very widely yet.

I admit that like many others I didn't finish 'Midnight's Children', but I'm loathe to say that I 'hated' a book just because I didn't finish it. The problem could lie with me, not the book! And my feelings might change; one day I'll give 'MC' another try.

Having said that, I was obliged to study Congreve's 'The Way of the World' for my A Levels, and despite not remembering any of the plot I can honestly say I'll be quite happy never to read a restoration comedy ever again. Not my cup of tea.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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I'm with you on Madame Bovery. Pretty much sums up my feelings on Anna Karenina, too.

When you read a book and you keep mouthing "just die already" at the protagonist, you know that you're not enjoying it.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I can't abide Moby Dick. Dull! And War & Peace is clearly not put together right. The entire thing (the 'war' part) is about the battle of Borodino, right? So where -is- the battle of Borodino? Why do we never see it or go there or get anything but the fringes?

However. Literature evolves, just like everything else. What the readers demanded in 1800 is not what we want now. The long LONG descriptions in older novels date back to the time when there was no photography, no Google, no Wikipedia. If you wanted to know what a whale was like, Herman Melville had to describe it for you because there was no other way for you to know.

But I still think the battle of Borodino would have been better with some SFX. Explosions!

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The long LONG descriptions in older novels date back to the time when there was no photography, no Google, no Wikipedia. If you wanted to know what a whale was like, Herman Melville had to describe it for you because there was no other way for you to know.

Most coastal populations would have seen a whale (which were far more plentiful in the 19th C), and whales were (and still are) seen in the Thames as far up as London (example here from the 1840s). Newspapers often used lithographs to illustrate their stories - often fancifully - and since whaling was a major activity across the world, paintings and prints of whalers and whales were common.

I just happen to think long descriptive passages fell out of vogue because they're startling tedious. And yes, Thomas Hardy, I'm looking at you...

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Forward the New Republic

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Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
# 619

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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
Emma by Jane Austen.

By the time I'd finished it, I wanted to reach into the Kindle and punch her in the face. OTH, Austen did say she was going to write a book with a heroine that no one would like!

I think that was Fanny Price - who is, as Molesworth would say, uterly wet.

I read one George Meredith - which completely cured me of ever wanting to read another. I read 3 Conrad because I had to - but the grave will close over me before I read a 4th. And I have wasted as much of my life as I want to on Lawrence. I agree that 'Call me Ishmael' is all you need to read of Moby Dick . And to save you even opening The Scarlet Letter - she was bonking the Minister. And the best thing Arnold Bennett ever did was his omelette.

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Sipech
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# 16870

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I just happen to think long descriptive passages fell out of vogue because they're startling tedious. And yes, Thomas Hardy, I'm looking at you...

[Paranoid] Careful, now. No dissing the greatest novelist in the English language!

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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I'd rather pluck my eyes out than read Hardy again. Curiously, the adaptations on R4 are decent fare, probably because he's decent at dialogue.

I do enjoy some books from the period (Wilkie Collins especially, and The Woman in White is massive), but not Hardy, I'm afraid...

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Forward the New Republic

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Nearly everything anyone's ever told me is a classic, to be honest.

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Heavenly Anarchist
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# 13313

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Another one here who just wanted to give Fanny Price a good hard shake and tell her to get a grip. I can just about cope with Hardy though, as long as I skip a few pages during those tediously long descriptions.
Dickens is another matter. I was supposed to have studied Hard Times as part of my degree foundation but had to rely on the study notes book as I just couldn't bear to read it. It was parodied mercilessly at our summer school.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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I can't get on with Hardy's novels, but then I was forced to read him for GCSE. Or during my GCSE years anyway. Making someone read something for GCSE is a great way to spoil it for them for life.

Now Austen I discovered for myself when I was twenty. Nobody had ever told me she was funny.

You don't read Moby Dick for the plot. You read it for the tangents. Even Victor Hugo and Sterne don't do tangents as well. (You don't read Les Miserables for the plot. The plot's rubbish: it's about the level of a standard-issue musical.)

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Ariel
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# 58

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Jane Austen, Trollope, and Russian authors in translation, also anything by Terry Pratchett. There are more, but those are first to come to mind.

William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" was one that left an indelible mark on my memory. One reading of this repulsive book (inflicted on us at school) was one too many.

quote:
I've developed almost an aversion to Booker Prize winners and others shortlisted for it.
Yes, likewise.
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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:


I just happen to think long descriptive passages fell out of vogue because they're startling tedious. And yes, Thomas Hardy, I'm looking at you...

It isn't a Great Book (although it is a great big book) but LOTR is stuffed with long boring descriptions too.

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Lyda*Rose

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# 4544

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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
Emma by Jane Austen.

By the time I'd finished it, I wanted to reach into the Kindle and punch her in the face. OTH, Austen did say she was going to write a book with a heroine that no one would like!

Tubbs

I couldn't finish Emma so I watched Clueless instead. [Cool]

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I'd rather pluck my eyes out than read Hardy again. Curiously, the adaptations on R4 are decent fare, probably because he's decent at dialogue.

I do enjoy some books from the period (Wilkie Collins especially, and The Woman in White is massive), but not Hardy, I'm afraid...

Every time I've tried (and always failed) to read Hardy I've come away with the impression that everyone and everything in the 19th century was the colour of mud.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Angloid
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# 159

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I love Hardy, despite (or because of?) having to read Return of the Native for A level. We had a good teacher which helped, but for one whose novels were mostly set in a rather earlier age than the time of writing, he is greatly in advance of his time. Strong women. Ambitious but weak men. The impact of technology and social/geographical mobility due to the industrial revolution. And his descriptive passages are brilliant; Egdon Heath is another character in itself, or the chalk fields of Tess's Flintcombe-Ash.
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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I just happen to think long descriptive passages fell out of vogue because they're startling tedious. And yes, Thomas Hardy, I'm looking at you...

[Paranoid] Careful, now. No dissing the greatest novelist in the English language!
Hardy the greatest novelist in the English language! It's just doom and gloom in the odour of sheepshit, isn't it?
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Sipech
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# 16870

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Making someone read something for GCSE is a great way to spoil it for them for life.

This is why I nominate Pride and Prejudice. Have been put off anything by Jane Austen for life.

I never discovered Hardy until I was in my 20s. A lot of people in my school had to study Silas Marner for their GCSEs and hated it. I only read it last month and rather liked it, though the middle third was bit lacking.

The one that bucks the trend is To Kill A Mockingbird which just about everyone has had to study at somepoint, though I've yet to find anyone who resents it.

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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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As far as Jane Austen goes, Emma didn’t get up my nose nearly so much as Mansfield Park. Fanny Price is a very annoying protagonist. She should have just married the rich dude.

I agree about Moby Dick (which starts out alright for the first few chapters and quickly joins the series of ‘nothing happens for a LOT of pages’).

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
This weekend I was commiserating with a poor unfortunate teenager who is undergoing the cruel and unusual punishment of being forced to read Madame Bovary at school.

For some reason, this tome is considered one of the great masterpieces of the French canon. Neither he nor I can understand why, because it Sucks™.

Oh, it's far worse than that. Every word drips with despair and ennui (enfin ils arrivèrent, ces fameux comices!*). The cumulative effect is enough to make you want to throw yourself into the Seine, preferably from a bridge in Rouen.

==

*"At long last the day of the legendary provincial agricultural show dawned"

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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JoannaP
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# 4493

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The book I read at school and hated, hated, hated was Jane Eyre. The next year we read Wuthering Heights [Disappointed] , which was not good but not as sucky as Jane Eyre.

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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1984 and Brave New World. Both remind me of those dreadful nightmares which are the more terrifying because of their pure boredom.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Figbash

The Doubtful Guest
# 9048

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:


The one that bucks the trend is To Kill A Mockingbird which just about everyone has had to study at somepoint, though I've yet to find anyone who resents it.

I had to study it. I loathe it. It's just so smarmy. Atticus Finch is less believable than a Frank Capra hero, and the whole Boo Radley thing is simply stupid. But the bit I resented most was being very clearly ordered (with the author's least subtle signposting, and, as she is not an expert in the use of the English language, that is very unsubtle indeed) to revere that foul snurge of an elder brother who is clearly meant to be some kind of White Trash Messiah in the making, but awoke in me a desire only to get my kicking boots out.

To continue, I think the book I hate most in the whole wide world (yes, even more than moron-fodder like Twilight, 50 Shades and The Hunger Games) is Tess of the d'Urbevilles. I kept myself going through the second half of that by composing hymns of hate to Angel Clare and, in the latter stages, developing a scenario for a Dadaist take on the whole thing, which involved a lot of scenes of him being attacked by Lancaster Bombers. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him.

As far as inability to finish goes, I have been reading Hard Times since 1983, and still have about 200 pages to go.

But Fanny Price is ace. If I met her I would quite happily commit adultery till the cows came home if she signified a desire to do so... [Yipee]

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chive

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# 208

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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Jane Austen, Trollope, and Russian authors in translation, also anything by Terry Pratchett. There are more, but those are first to come to mind.

I so agree with you about Trollope. Many many months ago I decided I was going to read my way through all of Trollope's books on my kindle during my commute to and from work. Many many months later I've only read 15 and they all have the same storyline. Rich woman/poor woman falls in love with poor man/rich man or vice versa. Various dull things involving politics or farming or incredibly uninteresting business. Because of the rich/poor divide they cannot possibly marry but in the last chapter someone gets an inheritance and everyone lives happily ever after. In endless excessive prose.

I started reading them one after another, then with a book in between for a break, then with two books in between and now I'd happily read the phone book then something by Trollope. But being a stubborn type I'll keep going until they're done or I am. I think the latter may happen first.

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'Edward was the kind of man who thought there was no such thing as a lesbian, just a woman who hadn't done one-to-one Bible study with him.' Catherine Fox, Love to the Lost

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Um, yes. Like Harold Macmillan, I believe that sometimes just the thing you need is an hour or two on your bed with a Trollope: but you are basically right about the standard plot that he over-uses. That said, The Warden and Barchester Towers (both quite early works IIRC) are are much better than that (and Barchester Towers is in places very funny); The Eustace Diamonds is, for me, outstanding among the political novels, as a crime story; and The Way We Live Now is a wonderfully angry and scathing picture of society decadence. On the whole, Trollope is much better when- as in all these novels, to some extent- his dander is up. He did an awful lot of more or less hack work.

Now Wilkie Collins also did a lot of hack work, but I find him excellent, for his ability to handle a plot, to create and inhabit different and very memorable characters (Lydia Gwilt, the villainess of Armadale must be the most dangerously attractive Wicked Redhead in all literature), and the general flow of his writing.

Oh, the other plot device which Trollope overuses is people backing bills for friends which then land them with huge debts. Every time a character is about to do this I want to scream at them 'What's wrong with you? Don't you know this always ends badly? Haven't you ever read a novel yourself?'

[ 26. November 2014, 16:24: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Jengie jon

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# 273

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There are three sorts of "hate" when it comes to literature.

  1. The hate because you think the writing is in some ways bad e.g. overly descriptive, poor characterisation.
  2. The hate because the book creates an emotional response so strong you throw it across the room despite being able to see the writing is decent.
  3. the hate in the "love to hate" sense, when there is something about the plot you dislike yet for that reason it grips you.

For me:
  • Any Bertie Wooster and Jeeves book comes into this category. No, I do not find them funny and do not see why anyone else would.
  • Wuthering Heights falls into this group. I have officially read it from cover to cover, but I kept having to have breaks from it. I simply loathed it. The week before I had read Jane Eyre in a single evening.
  • I honestly cannot think of one for this, but have it a bit with horror stories

Jengie

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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For the legions of suffering humanity who loathe Hardy, I draw your attention to Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. It takes every single one of the Hardy tropes, plus a shovelful of Mary Webb, and whizzes them in a blender with gin. Served in a cocktail glass garnished with a brandied cherry, just delightful!

And the despisers of Fanny Price should have a look at Murder in Mansfield Park, one of the surpassingly few Austen sequels which is worth the trees that died to print them. You knew that Fanny actually was the passive-aggressive source of all the trouble in the house, didn't you? And that somebody would take a brick to her one day.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Oh, and if Trollope frosts you? Pick up Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. It won the World Fantasy Award. You will never see Trollope in the same way again.

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Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

Now Austen I discovered for myself when I was twenty. Nobody had ever told me she was funny.

Northanger Abbey I heard a fragment on the radio, and knew what she was parodying. Similarly the Junvenile stuff.
The other stuff a variant of Poe's law applies.

Two cities I had to read from the outside in to finish. But saw two Christmas Carol's with the same funniest bits, and at that point saw the humour in that story.

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HCH
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# 14313

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Why has no one mentioned Dickens?
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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:


(re Madame Bovary) Oh, it's far worse than that. Every word drips with despair and ennui (enfin ils arrivèrent, ces fameux comices!*). The cumulative effect is enough to make you want to throw yourself into the Seine, preferably from a bridge in Rouen.

==

*"At long last the day of the legendary provincial agricultural show dawned"

Provided you can get to the bloody bridge. This summer we tried to cross the Seine at Rouen. That was an hour and a half wasted. Clearly a preview of the book. Thanks for the warning.

eta: We haven't mentioned Dickens because it isn't Christmas yet.

[ 26. November 2014, 17:53: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

Posts: 24276 | From: Newport, Wales | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M.
Ship's Spare Part
# 3291

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Crime and Punishment. The crime was the author's, the punishment the reader's. That is all.

M.

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Oh, and if Trollope frosts you? Pick up Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. It won the World Fantasy Award. You will never see Trollope in the same way again.

The wonderful thing about Tooth and Claw is that it's a piss take of whatever classic 19th Century novels you're most familiar with!

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Sipech
Shipmate
# 16870

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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
Why has no one mentioned Dickens?

I started, but fell [Snore] [Snore] [Snore]

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
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Scots lass
Shipmate
# 2699

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
And the despisers of Fanny Price should have a look at Murder in Mansfield Park, one of the surpassingly few Austen sequels which is worth the trees that died to print them. You knew that Fanny actually was the passive-aggressive source of all the trouble in the house, didn't you? And that somebody would take a brick to her one day.

It was me, I got so sick of her being utterly pathetic.

For similar reasons, I took a loathing to A Tale of Two Cities - the golden haired angel has no character and I fail to see why Sidney Carton would do anything for her benefit. I struggled through the tedium in order to stop my friend being horrified that I'd never read any Dickens, and I have no intention of reading any more. Lengthy, unnecessary descriptions and women who are either caricature or paper thin ideal. I do love a good TV adaptation though - Bleak House was great.

Wuthering Heights I loved when I was 16. I tried re-reading it in my mid-20s and couldn't get more than a third of the way through, awful. I liked Jane Eyre much more, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is good.

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Badger Lady
Shipmate
# 13453

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Hardy. Dear God Hardy.

One short story I read under duress at school involved [IIRC(*)] a man was very very worried about a tree outside his window. So worried he took to his bed and was dying. His son arranged for tree to be cut down. Over many pages. Man wakes up, sees tree has gone. And dies of shock.

I hate Hardy. I've tried Tess and Jude but to no avail. I *like* Trollope; I can stomach Fanny Price; and, Dickens is great for loong train rides. But Hardy. [Mad]


(*) I may not recall correctly. It was some time ago.

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Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
The one that bucks the trend is To Kill A Mockingbird which just about everyone has had to study at somepoint, though I've yet to find anyone who resents it.

I don't like it. It's all about how white liberals are more wonderful than anybody else, with a special subplot to show that if black people don't wait for white liberals to sort it out for them they'll get shot. (I exaggerate. A bit.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Badger Lady
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# 13453

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quote:
Originally posted by Scots lass:

Wuthering Heights I loved when I was 16. I tried re-reading it in my mid-20s and couldn't get more than a third of the way through, awful. I liked Jane Eyre much more, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is good. [/QB]

I had a very similar experience with Anna Karenina. I loved it when I read it in my late teens and thought it all terribly romantic. I re-read it a few years ago and got very frustrated with Anna's selfishness and failure to consider the devastating impact of her actions on her son.
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Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

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Haven't read TKAM for, I should think, about 30 years, and IIRC I quite enjoyed it when I did. But I hate its canonical status. It pushes all the 'right-thinking' buttons, with simple goodies and baddies and oppressed virtuous people- a sort of C20 Uncle Tom's Cabin (which, BTW, I've never read). So it's the kind of thing that liberal English teachers love- it goes (nowadays) which the obligatory copy of Nelson Mandela's autobiography (which I've also never read) on prominent display in the school library.

It's just all so bloody pi [Projectile] .

[ 26. November 2014, 19:04: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Al Eluia

Inquisitor
# 864

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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I found the prose style tedious and saw nothing compelling about any of the characters.
Posts: 1157 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ariel
Shipmate
# 58

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quote:
Originally posted by Badger Lady:
quote:
Originally posted by Scots lass:

Wuthering Heights I loved when I was 16. I tried re-reading it in my mid-20s and couldn't get more than a third of the way through, awful. I liked Jane Eyre much more, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is good.

I had a very similar experience with Anna Karenina. I loved it when I read it in my late teens and thought it all terribly romantic. I re-read it a few years ago and got very frustrated with Anna's selfishness and failure to consider the devastating impact of her actions on her son.
Some literature is like that - best read at a particular age. I discovered George Macdonald's "Phantastes" in my 20s and thought it wonderful, re-read it recently and loathed it - naive, twee and full of long boring poems. I like poetry as a rule, but not when it maunders on like that.
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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. A gross distortion of what would happen if commerce were required by law to behave fairly and humanely, plus a completely unreadable extended defense of objectivism.

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"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

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jedijudy

Organist of the Jedi Temple
# 333

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Sometimes friends and other people will tell me I should read this or that book. Like Uncle Tom's Cabin. I tried, I really did. Several times. It was so-o-o-o boring. Boring. Boring.

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Jasmine, little cat with a big heart.

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Galloping Granny
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# 13814

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Does it help if you're a fast reader? I romped through a lot of Dickens and Austen as a teenager, without being forced to. The only 'set' book I remember having to read was Adam Bede, of which I remember zilch, but I read it in a day and then we discussed a chapter a week on Thursdays – that would kill any book.

I read much of Trollope in my youth and enjoyed it, but when I tried to renew the experience recently I got bogged down in the middle of the second book and went back to reading Icelandic murder mysteries.

Much of what's been slated above I enjoyed from choice all those years ago but wouldn't tackle again now.

And NOT Great Books, but the school library in my teens consisted of books that people had donated, and I read D K Broster and Georgette Heyer and wallowed in them. I suspect that Broster wasn't so bad, but I picked up a Heyer one day recently, and managed to get through the first two chapters, one in the middle (to confirm what was obviously going to happen) and the last one. Ugh. All that Regency slang.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

Posts: 2629 | From: Matarangi | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Proust. A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. This is ONE SENTENCE, people:

quote:
Their honour precarious, their liberty provisional, lasting only until the discovery of their crime; their position unstable, like that of the poet who one day was feasted at every table, applauded in every theatre in London, and on the next was driven from every lodging, unable to find a pillow upon which to lay his head, turning the mill like Samson and saying like him: “The two sexes shall die, each in a place apart!”; excluded even, save on the days of general disaster when the majority rally round the victim as the Jews rallied round Dreyfus, from the sympathy — at times from the society — of their fellows, in whom they inspire only disgust at seeing themselves as they are, portrayed in a mirror which, ceasing to flatter them, accentuates every blemish that they have refused to observe in themselves, and makes them understand that what they have been calling their love (a thing to which, playing upon the word, they have by association annexed all that poetry, painting, music, chivalry, asceticism have contrived to add to love) springs not from an ideal of beauty which they have chosen but from an incurable malady; like the Jews again (save some who will associate only with others of their race and have always on their lips ritual words and consecrated pleasantries), shunning one another, seeking out those who are most directly their opposite, who do not desire their company, pardoning their rebuffs, moved to ecstasy by their condescension; but also brought into the company of their own kind by the ostracism that strikes them, the opprobrium under which they have fallen, having finally been invested, by a persecution similar to that of Israel, with the physical and moral characteristics of a race, sometimes beautiful, often hideous, finding (in spite of all the mockery with which he who, more closely blended with, better assimilated to the opposing race, is relatively, in appearance, the least inverted, heaps upon him who has remained more so) a relief in frequenting the society of their kind, and even some corroboration of their own life, so much so that, while steadfastly denying that they are a race (the name of which is the vilest of insults), those who succeed in concealing the fact that they belong to it they readily unmask, with a view less to injuring them, though they have no scruple about that, than to excusing themselves; and, going in search (as a doctor seeks cases of appendicitis) of cases of inversion in history, taking pleasure in recalling that Socrates was one of themselves, as the Israelites claim that Jesus was one of them, without reflecting that there were no abnormals when homosexuality was the norm, no anti-Christians before Christ, that the disgrace alone makes the crime because it has allowed to survive only those who remained obdurate to every warning, to every example, to every punishment, by virtue of an innate disposition so peculiar that it is more repugnant to other men (even though it may be accompanied by exalted moral qualities) than certain other vices which exclude those qualities, such as theft, cruelty, breach of faith, vices better understood and so more readily excused by the generality of men; forming a freemasonry far more extensive, more powerful and less suspected than that of the Lodges, for it rests upon an identity of tastes, needs, habits, dangers, apprenticeship, knowledge, traffic, glossary, and one in which the members themselves, who intend not to know one another, recognise one another immediately by natural or conventional, involuntary or deliberate signs which indicate one of his congeners to the beggar in the street, in the great nobleman whose carriage door he is shutting, to the father in the suitor for his daughter’s hand, to him who has sought healing, absolution, defence, in the doctor, the priest, the barrister to whom he has had recourse; all of them obliged to protect their own secret but having their part in a secret shared with the others, which the rest of humanity does not suspect and which means that to them the most wildly improbable tales of adventure seem true, for in this romantic, anachronistic life the ambassador is a bosom friend of the felon, the prince, with a certain independence of action with which his aristocratic breeding has furnished him, and which the trembling little cit would lack, on leaving the duchess’s party goes off to confer in private with the hooligan; a reprobate part of the human whole, but an important part, suspected where it does not exist, flaunting itself, insolent and unpunished, where its existence is never guessed; numbering its adherents everywhere, among the people, in the army, in the church, in the prison, on the throne; living, in short, at least to a great extent, in a playful and perilous intimacy with the men of the other race, provoking them, playing with them by speaking of its vice as of something alien to it; a game that is rendered easy by the blindness or duplicity of the others, a game that may be kept up for years until the day of the scandal, on which these lion-tamers are devoured; until then, obliged to make a secret of their lives, to turn away their eyes from the things on which they would naturally fasten them, to fasten them upon those from which they would naturally turn away, to change the gender of many of the words in their vocabulary, a social constraint, slight in comparison with the inward constraint which their vice, or what is improperly so called, imposes upon them with regard not so much now to others as to themselves, and in such a way that to themselves it does not appear a vice.
I hate it and yet I love it.

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این نیز بگذرد

Posts: 7574 | From: Natural Sources | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged



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