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What's good about these books?

(88 Posts)
ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 13:38:02

Following on from the overrated books thread, I realised there are some books that I really want to like, but can't help thinking they are a bit shite really. Am I being fick? If you like them please help me see the light.

Explanations of why I am spectacularly missing the point, or contributions of other seemingly shite books welcome.


Villette - seems to be about a woman dripping around in France, pointlessly.

Metamorphosis - man turns into a beetle and gets pissed off then dies.

What am I missing?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 14:29:12

Oh yes - A Prayer for Owen Meany. Couldn't finish it, was bored stiff. Why is it supposed to be so good?

Hullygully Wed 10-Nov-10 14:30:43

Agree with those three. Villette interesting because of Unreliable Narrator and self-hatred of Charlotte Bronte at that point in her life etc etc etc, but other than that, dire. That awful Belgian man.

Francagoestohollywood Wed 10-Nov-10 14:32:41

Which awful beglian man?

Hullygully Wed 10-Nov-10 14:33:42

The fussy little Beglian, M Paul (or was he French? In real life he was Belgian and let poor Charlotte down sumfink chronic)

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Nov-10 14:36:18

I enjoyed Villette until the ending which enfuriated me. Not going to say why as I don't like spoilers but ARGGGHHH why did CB do that? I can't remember now why I liked the book though! Can't envisage re-reading (unlike Jane Eyre, which unless I missed it was one of the few 'classics' which notably escaped the overrated list)

Francagoestohollywood Wed 10-Nov-10 14:37:31

Oh I see blush! I've never read Villette.

Francagoestohollywood Wed 10-Nov-10 14:38:00

Jane Eyre is excellent.

Hullygully Wed 10-Nov-10 14:40:39

JE is top.

<None of this is really helping Elephants who despite her fabulous name lacks discrimination in her reading matter>

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 14:40:48

You're not supposed to be agreeing with me, you're supposed to be telling me I'm a philistine and why. Damn yer eyes.

Quite like Jane Eyre but loathed Wide Sargasson Sea.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Nov-10 14:42:15

I think you're being unfair on M Paul - don't remember him as 'fussy', think you're conflating him with Hercule Poirot as the only other Belgian in fiction grin

Francagoestohollywood Wed 10-Nov-10 14:44:18

grin Hercule Poirot. Bless him!

Elephants, you haven't yet listed anything I actually liked (or read) and would fight for grin

Hullygully Wed 10-Nov-10 14:45:35

He was ridiculous - he took her to meet that weird woman and fussed all over the place

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 14:52:42

Sargasso FFS.

Thankyou, Hully. <strokes hully with trunk>

So Birdsong: I quite liked it, but seemed to be two books put together. One good one about war. And one rubbish one about oral sex with French women.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 15:10:25

Oh come on someone else must have books they just don't "get"

<pushes dunces cap further down on head>

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Nov-10 15:42:42

I didn't get MiddleMarch - maybe I tried it too young. Planning to re-read next year when I'm 50.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 15:49:27

Oooh now you're talking, I loved Middlemarch, although it was a bit slow to get in to. So reasons you should like it:

1) really good exploration of the frustrations of being a smart/ambitious woman in the 19th century, having to realise your ambitions through marrying a man who shared them.

2) believable well rounded characters especially Fred Vincy and Mary Garth and her parents

3) a few loathsome characters to keep you going. Never have I shouted "noooo!" so loudly at a book as when Dorothea married that dreary old twat Casaubon.

Er, that's it

BalloonSlayer Wed 10-Nov-10 15:57:45

Well can someone tell me what's so good about Frankenstein.

Man makes a creature who thinks on him as a Father. Decides he finds it revolting and rejects it heartlessly. Spends the next 500 pages speechless with outrage, bewilderment and betrayal that the creature is rather upset at all this and reacting angrily.

Or how about Ulysses? What the fuck?

Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders, anyone? Nothing happens. Although I think someone might have had her hair cut.

Jux Wed 10-Nov-10 16:15:10

gringringrin at BalloonSlayer "someone might have had her hair cut". Brilliant.

Jux Wed 10-Nov-10 16:17:43

Can't stand Villette or really any of the Brontes' work except JE.

Ulysses; self-indulgent claptrap, but some people rate it and I hope one of them will come on here and tell me why it's so great.

Metamorphosis was an interesting allegory about individual's powerlessness within the state. Hope someone else will expound on that.

sieglinde Wed 10-Nov-10 16:21:58

Reasons to like Wuthering Heights

1. Emily Bronte KNOWS the characters are horrible, but wants to show that horrible people are MADE that way by cruelty

2. Passion and love on that scale are always going to amke you a bit abnormal.

3. Unreliable narrators... Double plots... ghosts... graves... undying love

4. The landscape.

and besides some people who didn't like it sounded just like the Victorian clergy who dissed it for being immoral.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 16:22:13

Thanks Jux. Was it? My teacher was a massive perve who told us it was all about sex. hmm

Mm, yes - Life of Pi? Have only read a bit but I saw the play based on it and ...what? animals on a raft? is there a point?

KurriKurri Wed 10-Nov-10 16:25:09

I like The Woodlanders, even thought the female protagonist is incredibly irritating.

Also quite like Frankenstein, although it goes on a bit too long.

Metamorphosis - man turns into a giant beetle, what's not to like?

There's a lot of awful Russian classics out there - people weeping and wailing and examining the nature of existence because they've put the wrong hat on.

Jux Wed 10-Nov-10 16:26:35

Well, elephants, it could easily have been about sex too. No idea grin Hope an english lit lecturer will come on and tell us.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 10-Nov-10 16:27:06

Wuthering Heights: I always read it as a satire of the dark side of overblown romance. Showing that people who are dark and brooding and romantic are actually just plain nasty.

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