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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.

Mhw02 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:43:33

Anything by Thomas Hardy - studied his books for CSYS English and they were utter bilge. The characters were all dull, wet, plodders, victims or a combination of the above.

Anything by Charles Dickens (except A Christmas Carol which is, for Dickens, surprisingly readable). I read them and I just see one word after another, I cannot process them as stories.

The Master and Margarita - it's meant to be a masterpiece, personally I thought it was badly written with style-less prose. I'm willing to accept it may just have been a poor translation I read though?

I completely agree with DameDeepRedRuby though - it's definitely damaging to give children books before they're ready for them. I'm not entirely sure my hatred of Dickens doesn't stem from the fact I was handed "Oliver Twist" to read when I was eleven.

I also think the way plays are taught in school can be quite damaging. A bunch of bored teenagers reading a couple of pages each in a relentless monotone; no characters being assigned, no acting, no historical context? It's no wonder I hated Shakespeare at school. However, I went to see a number of Shakespeare plays at the Globe in London in my early twenties and was completely blown away.

AliceAirhead Wed 22-Jan-14 12:49:07

Agree with all those who've said Jane Austin. Loathe her and her turgid, poncy, manner-ridden yawn-fests. I'll take the Brontes any day - they were real women

Xenadog Tue 11-Feb-14 17:08:51

Most American literature is dog shit on a stick so please never make me read it - the one exception being Steinbeck. I LOATHE Wuthering Heights and Wolf Hall. Cloud Atlas was turgid and self indulgent and Hardy is beyond dull.

I love Jane Eyre though and enjoy some Dickens and really like The French Lieutenant's Woman. George Elliot is another author I like but the one book I hate with a passion is "The Curious Incident." I get it but I bloody hate it! Grrrr.

There's too many great books out there to be read without wasting time on bilge.

3mum Wed 26-Feb-14 12:52:10

Agree with those who said the Great Gatsby. Awful contrived writing.

Have never really understood the appeal of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera either - just why?

And don't even get me started on the ego-fest which is Paolo Coelho's Aleph.

nutcasenan Tue 04-Mar-14 01:32:14

I've got to speak up for Wuthering Heights. I loved this as a teenager; cried over it . Dickens works were serialised so each edition and the no of them was carefully worked out. His characters are wonderful and his descriptions of a London are so important. Don't forget the general public here and in America loved his books. The language is old fashioned and takes time to get used to. Great Expectations is the best one to read if you only give him another chance.

nutcasenan Tue 04-Mar-14 01:35:38

By the way have to agree about Cloud Atlas. Starts reasonably well but by the time the reader is subjected to pages of characters speaking in another language I gave up.

Essiebee Tue 04-Mar-14 15:50:30

Any novel by Thomas Hardy, but like his poetry. Loved Jane Austen, apart from Emma, and like Dickens, but have a lot left to go.

freerangeeggs Sun 23-Mar-14 23:25:31

Jude the Obscure. I absolutely HATED that book. I like Hardy's poetry but will give the rest of his prose a by after that.

Jane Austen. I don't get it. She's witty but my God those books are boring. I liked the version with zombies.

I'm an English teacher so probably should not say such things

freerangeeggs Sun 23-Mar-14 23:25:56

lol snap Essiebee smile

Foosyerdoos Tue 25-Mar-14 21:40:31

Anything by Thomas Hardy.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 26-Mar-14 06:34:47

Ulysses by James Joyce, load of crap, I didn't even get past the first chapter it was such hard work and very very boring.
In fact anything by bastard James Joyce, studying Dubliners for A level English lit was a year of my life ill never get back.

bobblypop Thu 27-Mar-14 19:17:32

Dickens - all of!
agree about Cloud Atlas and The Great Gatsby
Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Do like Austen though - some more than others and also like Hardy and George Elliot.
Tending more towards contemporary fiction these days though

bobblypop Thu 27-Mar-14 19:25:42

oh yes and The Bell Jar...couldn't get on with that at all

SolidGoldBrass Thu 27-Mar-14 22:17:35

Another Tolkien hater here. Twee farty academic tedium with no women.
And Catcher in the Rye - give that kid a kick in the cock and tell him to go and do the washing up.
And Wuthering Heights. Got sent out of class for howling with laughter at the bit where Heathcliff spends a night in the garden headbutting trees and barking at the moon.
And Steinbeck. Who cares about all these thick petty crimnals shambling along a dusty road to nowhere, forever, grunting at one another?

Most modern 'classics' I simply haven't bothered with in the first place as I know I won't like them. Middle aged, middle class white men wanking about nothing, mostly. Or people contemplating divorce, forever. Or stuff that's 'spiritual' ie wank.

BlueChampagne Sat 29-Mar-14 22:51:34

Love Elliot but Maggie Tulliver gets no sympathy from me. Emma gets under my skin too.

BlueChampagne Sat 29-Mar-14 22:53:11

Agree on withering Heights and Catcher in the Rye solidgoldbrass

BlueChampagne Sat 29-Mar-14 22:53:53

I'll leave the typo

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Sat 29-Mar-14 22:59:13

Yep to Jane Eyre and WH.when will something happen?
I had a teacher determined to kill all love for Jane Austen when we did Emma with an essay on the use of the semi colon in chapter 23. ODFOD.

Thinkofanumber Sat 29-Mar-14 23:11:44

I love Wuthering Heights and will read pretty much anything but the two books I have failed to get to grips with are Tess of the D'Urbevilles and The Da Vinci Code. I really enjoyed Name of the Rose, although that took some perseverance, I haven't read any more books by Umberto Eco though.

Even DH, who rarely reads a book, has read The Da Vinci Code.

Marcelinewhyareyousomean Fri 18-Apr-14 22:04:27

Brave New World was shite - love Issac Asimov etc.

Tolkien is meh.

Love, love, love, Catch 22

hollyisalovelyname Sat 19-Apr-14 09:56:29

Moby Dick
Charles Diickens books.

NinetyNinePercentTroll Sat 19-Apr-14 10:24:36

Oh I loved The Bell Jar & I love Dickens & Wuthering Heights.

Agree with those preferring Brontë over Austen.

I didn't hate Catcher in the Rye but it was instantly forgettable, for me. Zero impression left.

I am trying with War & Peace but it is sooo long and winding that I can't stick with it. Tbh I'm finding it a chore and am having to read it in chunks between other books.

Wolf Hall is on my Kindle, I read the 1st chapter, found it overly chewy and put it back for another day.

Wasn't keen on Tender is the night by Fitzgerald, but liked Gatsby.

NinetyNinePercentTroll Sat 19-Apr-14 10:25:46

Sorry, Brontës

holmessweetholmes Sat 19-Apr-14 14:06:38

Jane Austen - yawn. John Fowles' 'The Magus' - unbelievably pretentious.

WitchWay Sun 20-Apr-14 09:27:31

Little Women - urgh, much too overly sentimental

The French Lieutenant's Woman - took me at least six goes to read it & don't know why I bothered

Birdsong - all that to-ing & fro-ing between past & present drove me nuts

Wolf Hall - haven't tried it yet but I haven't enjoyed anything else by Hilary Mantel

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