Classics you haven't read......or couldn't get through
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:02 AM
I've never been able to get all the way through Tom Jones. It's a great book and I enjoy it, up to a point. It just doesn't hold my interest all the way through.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:11 AM
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:11 AM
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:30 AM
Then there are books that I could only get through on my second (or more attempt). This includes Jane Eyre and Ivanhoe. I really enjoyed both, in the end.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:33 AM
So glad you brought this up, because this I just keep forgetting to do. Someone please recomend one ASAP, while I still have it on my mind.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:37 AM
I had a few books I out and out refused to read, almost all from the same period. Clarissa and Pamela top that list. It took me about 10 attempts to get past the first chapter of Silas Marner. I actually gave up on Middlemarch in complete exhaustion 50 pages before the end.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:48 AM
Oh, "Divine Comedy." I tried. I really did.
The biggest heresy though is "Diary of Anne Frank." We had to read it in school and I admit after awhile I just used the Cliff Notes.
On the other hand there are "classics" that I breezed through. Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn, and Great Gatsby are good examples.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 12:11 PM
I love Tom Jones, I guess I'm the only one here who did!
Hated Anna Karenina though--we read it in HS, and I was just screaming "kill yourself already!!" by the end of it.
That, Crime and Punishment and (shudder) Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man were the books I read in school that if I wasn't a neurotic overachiever, I *never* would have finished.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 12:49 PM
Posted 28 July 2008 - 01:07 PM
Finnegan's Wake was my all-time most excruciating act of penance. David Copperfield.
Scarlet Letter (has anyone actually liked this; the little known Marble Faun is much more enjoyable).
Beowolf, even in a recent free translation. Norse and Germanic sagas, generally.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 04:53 PM
Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:05 PM
I didn't finish "Madame Bovary" (I still must) but I did read the short and perfect "A Simple Heart" and "Sentimental Education" instead. Nor did I finish the "Golden Bowl" but did read the easier "Ambassadors" and the incredible "Portrait of a Lady" (version 1). And the short Tolsoi "Family Happiness"--about very slow changes of heart in a perfect relationship--and "Childhood, Boyhood & Youth" will have to do for "War and Peace," at least for a while.
"Remembrance of Things Past" was an avoidance of Joyce.
And like Dale and Patrick I read only part of "Vanity Fair," though there are such great characters. With Thackery it's more that you have to push your way through, rather than be pulled along by its currents--there's a sort of missing booky eros.
Yes, this is a good confessional booth.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:44 PM
Many of these books are very high in the entertainment quotient, I'd suggest, and also they are not too long, with one obvious exception. (I note that many of the books under discussion here tend to be longer rather than shorter.)
Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:04 PM
You mention some reasons which certainly are true of me: looking for something easier, shorter, more humane.
The idea of avoidance (eg., reading Proust to justify skipping Joyce) is brilliant. Some of us DO want to avoid a monumental work but don't want to sink too far from the level of "classic."
Some of the monuments have had their day. I remember as a child finding around the house a book entitled something like The Hundred Greatest Novels. Eaach was summarized in quite some detail. Most were long and turgid books from the 19th century. Flaubert's Salammbo was one I remember. Another was Eugene Sue's Wandering Jew. I doubt that many of them are considered great by experts today.
Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:01 AM
I often wonder whether anyone ever enjoys some of Henry James's novels such as The Golden Bowl and The Wings of the Dove. I find them almost unreadable, and I tried hard because I really love many of his works(Portrait of a Lady, The Europeans, Washington Square), and I feel like I am missing out...
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