Great/classic novels you just don't like

(201 Posts)
Thurlow Tue 19-Nov-13 12:32:43

Cloud Atlas (what prompted me to start this thread) - lesser than the sum of its part. It's all very clever and a very impressive exercise in writing and authorial(sp?) skill, but none of that makes for an enjoyable read. Too stop start, didn't like some of the stories, didn't feel the stories connected enough to make it feel like they deserved to be all wrapped up together. Emporer's New Clothes.

The Great Gatsby - too deliberate, too studied. I felt like Fitzgerald had written and rewritten and rewritten again every single word on the page, and so the story lost any sense of urgency or liveliness. It left me feeling very cold, which did annoy me as the bones of the story were really interesting.

Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist and The Life of Pi - couldn't read more than 2 pages of either of them, just hated them on sight.

Anything by Dickens - I just can't get into him blush. Ditto anything by DH Lawrence.

Weegiemum Tue 19-Nov-13 13:52:03

I've never understood why people like Jane Austen to much, it just reads like a bunch of tedious simpering to me, sorry.

Dickens! Aaaargh. Never was a novel more accurately named than "Hard Times".

Peetle Tue 19-Nov-13 13:58:24

I've read Ulysses so you don't have to. Really hard work, a different style every five minutes (I know this is supposed to be the point, but I found it irritating) and for quite long sections I had no idea what was going on. Don't let the first chapter or so fool you, that's the only "normal" bit.

I love Jane Austen, I always have.
Dislike Hardy
Don't like Tolkien
Catcher in the Rye is also rubbish

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 19-Nov-13 14:07:52

Wuthering Heights and the French Lieutenant's Woman (which can fuck off with it's ridiculous multiple endings)

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 19-Nov-13 14:08:54

Oh yes, and War and Peace, which for a novel makes a surprisingly good door stop.

LimburgseVlaai Tue 19-Nov-13 14:09:15

I really enjoy Jane Austen, George Eliot, Dostoevsky but I loathe Dickens. What was that line about having to have a heart of stone not to laugh out loud when little Dorritt dies?

I have found that my taste has changed over the years: I am much less able to cope with 'difficult' literature. Having said that, I still can't bear writers like Grisham, Dan Brown etc.

Andcake Tue 19-Nov-13 14:09:25

off the top of my head
Jane Eyre - boring woman , dull and drab book
Most Dickens - too didactic and worthy
talk about Kevin - guessed the twist - skim read for a book club - just not worth the effort

CaptainSweatPants Tue 19-Nov-13 14:12:49

Middlemarch - the film is so much better

kotinka Tue 19-Nov-13 14:15:20

war and peace, just found it dull.

Crime and punishment.

I am also not that keen on Jane Austin.

Oh yes, and the whole Lord of the Rings thingy.

Thurlow Tue 19-Nov-13 14:19:14

Is the French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles? I read The Magus, which was, frankly, shite. It's one thing to leave the reader with some questions, but another thing to come across as if you don't know yourself what happened.

I love Jane Austen, though I'll admit I tend to like the books more after I've seen an adaptation. I never found Sense & Sensibility funny until I'd seen the recent BBC adaptation.

I remember reading Jane Eyre for GCSE and hating it. Then I read it again as an adult and loved quite a lot of it, bar the beginning and ending. I think my adult perception made me realise quite how much sex she manages to pack into Rochester, never noticed it when I was young.

PatriciaHolm Tue 19-Nov-13 14:20:13

To the lighthouse - oh my word, boring. One of the very very few books I actually gave up on.

Seconding Anything by Jane Austen and George Eliot

And Cloud Atlas

TheHeadlessLadyofCannock Tue 19-Nov-13 14:31:04

Agree with loads of these.

I can't stand Virginia Woolf.

Also Cloud Atlas and anything by David Mitchell, in fact.
Eliot, Dickens, Proust, Thackeray...

However, I quite like Thomas Hardy and love Jude the Obscure.

Like Jane Eyre. Like Catcher in the Rye. LOVE Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

I don't get Philip Roth, apart from American Pastoral and most of Portnoy's Complaint, which I think is a work of genius until about the last sixth (I read it years ago, so my memory is hazy).

AuldAlliance Tue 19-Nov-13 14:40:56

Virginia Woolf. Boring, boring, boring.
I wish I could like her books, because I know they are so important (I teach literature and have to mention their great significance every now and then), but I just can't stand them.

Catcher in the Rye as well.

I like Dickens, though. You have to have a lot of time on your hands, admittedly.

mrsWast Tue 19-Nov-13 14:52:07

i loved We Need to Talk About Kevin. it wasn't a pleasant read by any means, but i'm glad i persevered.

dickens? dickens can fuck off. ugh.

american psycho - i love the satire and the psychopathy, but it's too graphic for me to stomach. i've tried it twice and got further the second time, but it's an incredibly difficult read.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 19-Nov-13 15:08:48

"Is the French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles? I read The Magus, which was, frankly, shite. It's one thing to leave the reader with some questions, but another thing to come across as if you don't know yourself what happened."

Yes, it is by John Fowles. I didn't know he did the same thing with other books, but it doesn't surprise me. About the best thing I can say about him is that aspiring writers should read his work, it will give them hope because if he can get published anyone can grin

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 19-Nov-13 15:30:18

War and peace. I want to slap Natasha.

On the other hand, I love love love dickens. And Jane Austen.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 19-Nov-13 15:31:12

Oh yes, and Virginia Woolf. All of her character have a serious case of first world problems.

EldritchCleavage Tue 19-Nov-13 15:36:55

Can't read Rachel Cusk. At all.
Bleak House-I've tried 3 times. (Also not a massive Dickens fan, but I do like A Tale of Two Cities and Barnaby Rudge).
Armadale by Wilkie Collins. 5000 pages in and the plot hadn't got going yet.
I got through Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco once, heaven knows how. I'm fairly good with words but I had to look up about 5 on each page, and yes, I was reading the English translation.
I started reading My Phantom Husband by Marie Darrieusseq when I was very depressed and had to stop because it was freaking me out. I must try again one day.
The Don Flows Home to the Sea by Alexander Sholokov. Turgid story of turgid Russian peasant life. Mud. Cold. Rotten potatoes. Turgid.

growltigersontheloose Tue 19-Nov-13 16:00:12

The Giving tree by Shel Silverstein. I don't 'get' it. I don't see how it is a lovely tale. It just made me feel sad.

BigBoPeep Wed 20-Nov-13 02:39:53

The more I think about it the more I realise I pretty much hate everything grin

top of the list is wuthering heights. it LOOKED like a great, gruesome love story...was actually strange in a dull way. massive disappointment.

jane eyre also meh

catcher in the rye......what?

dickens - no thank you

have yet to tackle pride and prejudice and the great gatsby. GG just looks so booooooring, but everyone raves about it...

Hooray other people find Wuthering Tiresome Heights shit.
OTOH Tess of the D'urbervilles and Great Expectations I like. The rest of Hardy and Dickens, nah.

NoComet Wed 20-Nov-13 03:38:47

Lord of the Flies
From page one you know nothing nice is going to happen.

By the end you are just left thinking WG must have been a very sick person to spend hours of his life writing such an unpleasant predictable pile of nastiness.

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