I Don't CARE if It's a Classic, I LOATHE It!

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On one of my mailing lists, we were talking about classic books that we either hated or never read. I hate Lord of the Rings with every fiber of my being, that and The Tin Drum. And I read every damn word.

What noble work of literature do you despise?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), August 16, 2000


Oh, without question The Brothers Karamazov, a dreadful novel made into a bad movie with Yul Brynner, Clare Bloom, and William Shatner (!), among others. I'm also rather annoyed with the Hunchback of Notre Dame and one of the ten most boring classics listed in the Book of Lists, Pilgrim's Progress.


-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), August 16, 2000.

Oh, thank goodness I'm not the only one not slobbering with love over Lord of the Rings. I have never figured out why everyone seems to think it's the cat's pyjamas.

I was also bored as a... well, board, by Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I think it was all the talk of vegetable imagery that definitively killed it for me. Perhaps I should say I was bored as a gourd?

Don't blame me, it's the heat. Really. I still hated that book.

-- Dawn (amgraffiti@superplin.com), August 16, 2000.

the great gatsby. for no good reason. i love everything else fitzgerald has written, but i hate that one with a passion. bleh. overrated, i say.

-- aggie (aggiedonkar@yahoo.com), August 16, 2000.

Catcher In The Rye.

It's the only Sallinger story I cannot stand. Halfway through I hurled the book as far from me as I could because I wanted to climb into the narrative and beat the living shit out of that whiney-ass Holden Caufield.

-- Roger Bixby (rbix@earthlink.net), August 16, 2000.

Oh, thank the gods, I can finally confess my lack of love for Catcher in the Rye. I don't hate it or anything, but it sure didn't change my life.

I got Lord of the Rings for my birthday because Jeremy was horrified that I hadn't read it. Liking it so far, so stop spoiling my fun, you evil woman.

-- Beth (beth@xeney.com), August 16, 2000.

Moby Dick and Huck Finn, both ruined for me for all eternity by teachers of (at least) dubious skill.

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), August 16, 2000.

Dubliners, by James Joyce. Ditto Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I'm surrounded by Joyce fans in college, and I just can't see why, as I really don't like his stuff.

I don't loathe The Great Gatsby. I think it's okay. I don't see anything great about it, though.

On the other hand, add Woman in the Nineteenth Century, by Margaret Fuller, and A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf, both of which I've read several times. The arguments in both are way too messy for my taste.

And Macbeth, although I've gotten to the point where I can at least tolerate the Scottish play, and even spend a quarter-hour arguing over whether Lady Macbeth had any children. So maybe that one can be taken off the list.

And anything by Douglas Coupland. I own Microserfs and Life After God, and they both suck. And...but, no, I'd better stop here. I could go on all day. Good topic.

-- Shmuel (shmuel@nycmail.com), August 16, 2000.

My sixth grade teacher nearly destroyed Steinbeck and Hemingway for me. I'm still no great fan of Hemingway, but at least I can decide that for myself.

I find that I tend to like authors' lesser-known works better than the ones they are famous for. Nothing wrong with _Of Human Bondage_, but give me _The Moon and Sixpence_ any day of the year.

Couldn't get through _The Hunchback of Notre Dame_ either.

_Moby-Dick_ is an incredible book; please give it another chance!

-- Dorothy Rothschild (dorothyr@spies.com), August 16, 2000.

For a slightly Canadian slant, we were forced to read The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence in Grade 11. What a great expanse of snoring that turned out to be. I loathed that book, though it did provide an opportunity to nap during English.

-- Ron Collings (collings@crescentschool.org), August 16, 2000.

The Sword of Shanarra. My wife loves the series. I don't get it. See, there's this dark-haired human, and a blond human, and a dwarf. They get together. They find out that they need to go find the Sword of Shanarra or civilization as they know it will be destroyed. They, specifically, have to go do it, because they're the ones in the prophecy. They decide not to go. Sorry. Fifty pages later, they decide, well, okay.

Now, the cover of the book has a dark-haired human, and a blond human, and a dwarf, who just opened a door; they're looking at a glowing sword in a stone, with the words over their heads for those of us who are dim about this sort of thing, "The Sword of Shanarra." How stupid does this author think we are?

Kind of like Phantom Menace, in all those action sequences where Obi Wan and Anikin are in danger. I was watching all these fight scenes, thinking, "I bet they survive. Just a hunch..."

-- Colin (ethilrist@prodigy.net), August 16, 2000.

Word on Lord of the Rings, which I put myself through in high school. The Humphrey Carpenter bio of Tolkien almost convinced me to try rereading it, though it does say that contemporary reviewers also found The Two Towers plodding.

Also not crazy about Catcher in the Rye but I understand that teenage boys love it because they have a fantasy of spending three days knocking around New York doing whatever they want.

Can't get through Virginia Woolf's novels (came closest with Mrs. Dalloway) but her diaries, letters, etc. are excellent. Can't stick any of those 17th-19th century novels about Fallen Women.

Here are some more: Catch-22, and anything else that relies on small-scope wordplay. Gravity's Rainbow. I think you have to have a penis to get that one. Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and the rest of their angsty married-boy ilk. Doris Lessing, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, etc. The jacket blurbs sound brilliant, how come I can't read more than a page?

And ... (prepares to duck and run) Jane Austen! I think Jane Austen's a pussy for not coming out and saying the social system sucks, the way Charlotte Bronte did. She was getting close in the last, unfinished books, but the famous ones are so tame and subtle and well-mannered I can't stand them. Yes, I know, it was early, she was so brave to be writing novels at all, but still, you can have her.

Since you're all already convinced I'm a Philistine, I think I'll let someone else do the "I don't really like Shakespeare all that much, unless it's packaged as a Kenneth Branagh movie" post.

-- Diana (diana@alum.mit.edu), August 16, 2000.

Another Canadian: anything by W. O. Mitchell, but specically, "Who Has Seen The Wind"- and of course you all know that ALL of the covers of that school book were defaced to read, "Who has Broken Wind?", right?

And (hanging head in shame) all of Hemingway. I have never finished anything written by Hemingway. It is like valium to me - I open the book and fall right to sleep.

-- Kristin Thomas (kristin@sperare.com), August 16, 2000.

The thing I didn't like about Tess of the D'Ubervilles was Hardy's insistence that Tess should bow to her fate. I just wanted to shake him and her until they Did Something, rather than bowing to the inevitable.

I read Steinbeck in High School and haaated it. Deadly dull bo-ooooring. I should give that one another chance, maybe it'd be like capsicums. Hated them then, like them now. Of course, it might well be like Brussel Sprouts.

If I could find my copy, Kymm, I'd put in here Helen Hanff's description of the first "reader" of Lord of the Rings!"

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), August 16, 2000.

Anything by Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, or John Dos Passos. I'm not sure these count, since everyone I know hates them except my friend Nancy who's doing her dissertation on James, and I don't have to hide my secret shame like some of you.

Moby-Dick is a popular one to hate as well, and I second Dorothy--please give it a shot. I was as ready to hate it as I was to hate Hemingway, and I loved it. Also I listened to it, narrated by the sexy-voiced Frank Muller for Recorded Books Inc., which helped. It's also how I got through Catch-22 for the first time. I can listen to a lot that I can't read.

How old were you when you read LOTR, Kymm? In my experience it's a rare person (you go, Beth!) who enjoys them when discovering them for the first time as an adult.

As for books we're supposed to love, but don't, like Catcher, and unlike Hemingway, whom women generally expect to despise and then, surprise, do, hmm....Little Men and other classic children's books like At the Back of the North Wind and The Waterbabies. Of Human Bondage (point, please? why? and The Moon and Sixpence, which led me to hate Gauguin's artistic work as well as him personally, since I'm rational like that.

Aha! Here's one I'm suppose to have loved (but is it noble?) and didn't didn't didn't: The World According to Garp. Tillie Olesen's Tell Me a Riddle: I wanted to slit my throat. The Bonfire of the Vanities, which just isn't noble by any measure. And, if I ever finish it, probably Anna Karenina.

-- Lisa Houlihan (lisa@penguindust.com), August 16, 2000.

I have to disagree with those who didn't like "Catcher in the Rye". Not only was I able to get through that one, it was one of those few books that I read in school in which the protagonist had a distinctive voice and who was somewhat REAL.

Now I can agree with those who didn't like Jane Austen. I could never get into anything she wrote. What a lame pretensious bore.


-- Vena (ladyv_39@yahoo.com), August 16, 2000.

Charles Dickens' anything. That man's writing leaves me so disinterested even time spent thinking of unfavorable criticizims about him and/or his work feels like a waste. I realized I feel this way not during the A Tale of Two Cities unit in high school English Lit. but rather the day I realized the only bits I ever liked of any adaptation of A Christmas Carol I've ever seen were embellishments not in the original story. And on that tangent, my very favouritest adaptation is the 1/2 hour animated Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. The song A Hand for Each Hand brings tears to my eyes. The song that gave me my anti- Dickensian insight.
A hand for each hand was planned for the world;
why don't my fingers reach?
Millions of grains of sand in the world;
why such a lonely beach?

Where is a voice to answer mine back? Where are two shoes that click to my clack?

I'm all a-lone/
in the world.
I don't know who wrote that, but it gets me every damn time.

-- Michael (mwalsh@lynx.neu.edu), August 16, 2000.

I loathe Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse but her letters, diaries, etc. are pretty good. And, adding to the Moby Dick discussion, I LOVE Moby Dick. Please give it a chance. English teachers have been destroying a wonderful book for too many years. Give Moby Dick a chance!

-- Janet Egan (jegan@world.std.com), August 16, 2000.

I don't think I can make it clearly enough exactly how much I hate Lord of the Rings.

I think I started at the age of thirteen to try and read The Hobbit, getting partway through chapter one several times before it would fall from my lifeless grasp as I fell into the coma it invariably put me in.

When I was 18 or 19 I decided that, dammit, I was going to read the series, and because at that time I had a very stringent rule in my head that once I read the first page of The Hobbit, I had to, had to read every single word up till the last page of whatever the hell the last book is called.

I was at the verge of suicide innumerable times during that hellish week or weeks. I have never loathed anything more in my life. There were just all of these characters and they had no personalities, and I would have to keep flipping back to figure out who they were, even though I didn't care.

God, I'm re-living the whole horror again. And I remember what Helene Hanff said, and I agreed heartily.

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

That's true about the narrator of Catcher having a human voice. I didn't hate the book, just didn't identify with it all that much, even the parts about everyone else being phonies.

Dickens I found manipulative. He is the precursor of Very Special Waltons Episodes and Tales of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things And Becoming Better For It.

With The Scarlet Letter, I can now see that Hawthorne was sympathetic to Hester, but my high school teachers weren't, and so I had nightmares about waking up to discover that a baby had suddenly appeared next to me and I had to spend the rest of my life indoors taking care of it. The Massachusetts public schools are non- parochial in name only.

-- Diana (diana@alum.mit.edu), August 17, 2000.

The Old Man and the Sea. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! At least it's short.

Anything by Faulkner. In high school, a teacher told me that I wouldn't appreciate Faulkner until I was "old enough." Twenty years later, I still haven't reached that magical age.

-- Catherine (catcoicrit@earthlink.net), August 17, 2000.

I really, really tried to like The Fountainhead, but it put me straight to sleep every time I tried to read it. I absolutely loathed it whenever I did manage to stay awake for more than a page or two.

-- Mary Ellen (sarcasticah@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.


Was a worse author ever born?

I also hate, hate, hate The Sound and the Fury. And Charles Dickens. And a lot of Steinbeck.

(I do, however, adore The Lord of the Rings--but The Two Towers is boring--and The Great Gatsby and Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist.)

For cheeringly funny abbreviated versions of books we love to loathe, go here:


An example:

The Old Man and the Sea By Ernest Hemingway Ultra-Condensed by David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard An old man catches a fish that's too big for his boat. The fish gets eaten by sharks. Then he goes home and DIES. THE END

-- Melissa (centerbeth@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Most of the books I hate, I haven't read.

Ahem. What I mean by that is, I rebelled against the canon throughout high school and my limited college career. I survived high school because my English teacher knew I could write and read critically and let me work with books I was willing to read. This is why I have never read such hoary old favorites as The Catcher In The Rye - I simply avoided them all compulsively.

I am willing to concede that this may have had bad consequences (like actually missing something good), but on the whole I believe I am happier for it.

I have been forced to read some Russian writers at gunpoint - and we're not just talking Dostoyevski, but also some modern Russian literature and even SF - and as far as I can tell there is something in their natural character which induces monotony and snail-like pacing. I have never read a Russian work I could enjoy.

I hated Moby Dick in high school. I reread it last year and I have since eaten my words about seventy-five percent. It still drags a bit, but on the whole, I believe the problem is that I was too young for it before. I was probably also too young for Huckleberry Finn.

(I really do believe that books have a correct age of reader, and it has nothing to do with your command of the language, it has to do with what situations you have learned to appreciate. I believe that King Lear cannot be truly appreciated by anyone under retirement age, for example. I sure as hell don't appreciate it now.)

The correct way to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy is to read almost all of The Fellowship of the Ring and the last few chapters of The Return Of The King, thereby omitting approximately two books' worth. This will not, of course, satiate diehards like Kymm, but it salvages the books for the rest of it. All you miss are a lot of battles, a few thousand minor characters, and those damned Ents.

Okay, okay, in all seriousness: Tolkien had a few compelling ideas and used them well. The sequence in the mines of Moria can still give me creeps, years later. But those ideas are buried in a lot of other debris.

It's fun to see the variance in tastes here. (If I were less tactful, I'd say, "Gee, it's fun to see all the people who are so wrong!") For example I think Microserfs is the only good thing Douglas Coupland ever wrote ... on most of the other items here, though, I am in agreement. I will not read Dickens, the Brontes, Austen, or any other manufacturers of bad potboilers (and don't lobby me; better people than you have been trying for nigh-on fifteen years to get me to read Sense and Sensibility, and it hasn't happened yet). My father was the one who lobbied me to read Hemingway; the only one of the several Hemingway books he bought me which has interested me is A Moveable Feast, which is not fiction, it's autobiography and gossip. Thomas Pynchon is probably brilliant, and Debby has read his entire lot and adores him, but I can't enjoy anything I have to work that hard for. Atlas Shrugged is the one interesting Ayn Rant book and only if you follow my directions for cutting out the political tirades and just enjoy it as a romance.

James Joyce is a special case. I did several high school theses on Joyce and I consider him fascinating, but I'm not sure I consider him literature, and I wouldn't read his books just for the pleasure of the story. He's in his own category.

Whew. Sorry. Can you tell I've been wanting to write a literary rant in my journal for simply ages?

-- Columbine (columbine@inu.org), August 17, 2000.

"For the rest of it" should be "for the rest of us." I think "Ayn Rant" was probably a Freudian slip.

-- Columbine (columbine@inu.org), August 17, 2000.

Perhaps Reader's Digest could be convinced to produce an abridgement of LOTR along the lines described above.

Re Brontes, I couldn't get through Wuthering Heights more than once either, though I liked the theme song, or even Jane Eyre, but I wouldn't dismiss Villette and The Professor (actually the same story from two different angles). They're all about the lot of the global nomadic knowledge worker: moving workplaces to avoid boredom, establishing credibility, selling little pieces of your mind, avoiding panoptical surveillance by bosses, hiding personal mail, enduring stomach-churning office crushes, dreaming of telling them to kiss your freckled ass etc. and going off to start your own business. Microserfs should resonate sympathetically with it.

-- Diana (diana@alum.mit.edu), August 17, 2000.

I'm not retirement age, and yet King Lear is one of my very favorite Shakespeare plays (with Hamlet and Much Ado and Twelfth Night).

However, I read it in AP English my senior year of high school, and I was the only person in my class to understand it (with the exception of the teacher). On the AP exam's major essay, I even chose it to defend my position on whatever the topic was. Most of the class chose The Glass Menagerie, a play a four year old could understand.

I don't know what the point of this story was. :-)

-- Melissa (centerbeth@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Although disliking Hemingway is supposed to be a natural female reaction, I don't know if that has much to do with my utter loathing of the man and his work. I like plenty of other excessively masculine writers such as John Cheever, Sinclair Lewis, and Philip Roth; I just hate stripped-down, adjective- and adverb-free fiction, so Hemingway makes me yawn. Same with Cormac McCarthy. In his personal life, Hemingway was terribly unkind to my homegirls Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker -- but I didn't find this out until after struggling to stay awake through the Nick Adams stories and _The Sun Also Rises_ and the dead-fish book, so again, I didn't arrive at his books laden with anti-Papa sentiments. Some critics say that Hemingway's flat style is more "respectful" to the reader, since he presents only the bare story and permits the observer to draw her own inferences rather than telling her what to think, but it just strikes me as lazy and unimaginative.

Kafka writes like an adolescent in terror of grown-ups and if you've read one you've read 'em all.

I absolutely could not concentrate on _The Sheltering Sky_. It was as if every page were coated with oil; my mind would just slide right off of the text and go do its own thing, which never happens when I read fiction, even the baddest of bad fiction. I forced myself to finish it (that is, let my eyes slip over every word on every page) but have almost no memory of the story whatsoever. The main character's name was Kit, and her husband dies while they're in Africa. That's about it.

_Moby-Dick_ might have been interesting if it weren't for all the whaling stuff. I tend to black out after several pages of flensing. There might have just been lots of really heavy allegory going on that I am just too dense to understand.

Dickens was paid by the installment and it shows. If I were a better human being I would devote myself to editing out all the ridiculous subplots, anecdotal minor characters, and ultimately circular plot twists that mar otherwise good books such as _Great Expectations_, and thus producing editions that people would actually enjoy.

Finally: I didn't understand _Infinite Jest_ at all. After attempting to read it for several weeks I was still only through the first sixty pages (plus endnotes). A friend told me I ought to try _The Girl With Curious Hair_ instead, and I picked up a copy a couple of years ago, but haven't opened it yet because I'm a little afraid that I will be too stupid to get it, either. On the Xeney boards a few months back someone said in a Coupland thread that Doug was okay, but he was no David Foster Wallace, and all I could think was Thank God For That.

-- Kim Rollins (kimrollins@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Ahem. What I mean by that is, I rebelled against the canon throughout high school and my limited college career. I survived high school because my English teacher knew I could write and read critically and let me work with books I was willing to read. This is why I have never read such hoary old favorites as The Catcher In The Rye - I simply avoided them all compulsively.

I read that paragraph above, and thought "Well, that must be Columbine!"

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

I am one of those females who expected to hate Hemingway, but he turned out to be one of my favorite American writers. I like the whole get-right-to-the-point-and-quit-making-me-wade-through-hundreds- of-pages-of-garbage approach to writing.

One book that I tried desperately hard to enjoy was Watership Down. But I couldn't make it past the first chapter. I'm not sure why, but I just could not for the life of me get into that book.

We had to read The Hobbit for school in the 6th grade, but I couldn't get into that one either. My inability to read this book had a profoundly negative effect on my grade that quarter.

There are some books which I read, but did not enjoy at all, like As I Lay Dying (Faulkner) and Tortilla Flat (Steinbeck).

And there are some books which I did not appreciate when I was in high school that I have since learned to enjoy. The best of example of this is not actually a book, but rather a short story - Henry James's The Beast in the Jungle.

-- Kelly (kmontgomery@erols.com), August 17, 2000.

_Catcher_ is many things, but hoary is not one of them. The book has aged incredibly well -- I first read it some forty years after it was written and I didn't realize, as a teenager, that it was nearly so old (if I had, I probably would have been shocked that people were already writing "fuck you" in stairwells the year my mother was born.)

-- Kim Rollins (kimrollins@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

I adore Watership Down, it is one of my most favourite books in all the land ever ever ever. My father was reading it when I was nine or ten, the year it came out, and he would read it at night, and then when he picked me up at school the next day, he would tell me the story of what he had read so far. As soon as he finished, I read it myself, and have read it once a year or so ever since.

I have managed to get through high school and college without ever being required to read a word of Hemingway or Fitzgerald, but I was in a play about them, so I have a soft spot for the whole Paris-in- the-20's crew.

I love Shakespeare with all of me heart, reading it, watching it, whatever, my fave rave being Othello, I have probably one of the very few Shakespearian tattoos around, a heart with the name "Iago" in it.

I read and loved Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre when I was in college, but have never felt the need to re-read them.

I love movies and plays made out of Dickens' work--I'm a total whore for Nicholas Nickelby, and there are large portions of A Christmas Carol that I can recite by heart, but I can't bear to read it.

This thread is, however, making me want to read and re-read some of these books! There are too many classics that I haven't read because I'd rather read Anne of Green Gables or Dune again.

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

I have never been able to finish a novel by Henry James, and unless I'm forced to read one for a college class I probably never will. I find him unbearable. On the other hand, I reread Jane Austen's novels regularly, and find new insights as I get older. For what it's worth, Charlotte Bronte thought Austen was a pussy, too.

-- Lucy Huntzinger (huntzinger@mindspring.com), August 17, 2000.

Just thought of something else. I don't know if this book would qualify for this thread since it isn't 100 years old but I just had to mention it since it is now considered a classic. I could never, never, ever get into "Beloved" by Toni Morrison. I tried on three different occassions to read it and could never get past page 20. None of the details stuck in my head after reading anything. I never understood how it ever could have won the Pulitzer Prize.


-- Vena (ladyv_39@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

At least two of you will shoot me, but I tried to reread the Anne of Green Gables series last year. Adored the first book. The second book was all right. The third book pissed me off so much that I flung it up against the wall and refused to read any more in the series. (spoiler here) It's all set up for Anne to be independent and cool, and then she gets scared of being alone and flees into the arms of Gilbert Blythe. I was so mad ... that's just poor writing.

Columbine, Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen's least witty novel, and the ending of that book is somewhat depressing, too. I wouldn't recommend it at all, especially since you're so gunshy of the poor author. If you were to read any of her books, I'd recommend you try Emma. It's very Philadelphia Story-like. (My favorite is Persuasion, personally.)

I finally read Catcher in the Rye last year and I didn't see what all the fuss was about. On the other hand, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was a big favorite of mine for years.

I love finding out what people like and don't like.

-- Jette (jette@rootaction.net), August 18, 2000.

Ohhh, I loved Anne of the Island exactly because she's cool and independent for most of the book. I've reread it a lot, I just skip the last few chapters and imagine she stays in Kingsport and becomes a city girl. In the next one, Anne of Windy Poplars, she defers marriage for a year and goes off to be a schoolteacher in a different town where she doesn't know anyone. (Spoiler:) There's at least one very spirited character, another schoolteacher who's stuck paying off debts to her monstrous family and plans to quit her job and travel the world the minute she's finished. You can see that Montgomery doesn't quite want to let Anne settle down. I never read any further in the series - Anne is wonderful, but Anne/Gilbert is not one of the great romances of literature.

-- Diana (diana@alum.mit.edu), August 18, 2000.

I love all of the Anne books. Actually, the best one, besides the first one, is the last one, Rilla of Ingleside, because it's about a part of history of which I was unaware, the war at home during WWI. Growing up during wartime and boys going away and maybe not coming back. Not everyone lives, and of course it's romanticized, but it's also much more realistic than one would expect. And Little Dog Monday makes me weep like you wouldn't believe.

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

I would believe, Kymm, because I weep and weep at the Little Dog Monday bit at the end every single time. There, and Walter's letter to Rilla.

-- Melissa (centerbeth@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

Moby Dick is one of my very favorite books. The whaling instructions get a little overdone, true, but it's an amazing book. I love it.

What do I loathe? Absalom, Absalom, though I do enjoy most of Faulkner (As I Lay Dying being his best, in my opinion.) Also The Naked and The Dead.

You know, at first I thought this topic was going to be about music. Go figure.

-- Jackie (jackie@jackie.nu), August 21, 2000.

A tremendous amount of Heinlein. I can manage the early books that have no women in them, but after that, man. When I was very young I liked _Friday_. It had a really tough female hero who got to do everything, and I just ignored all the sex.

I think he should have gone on writing all-male rip-roaring adventure stories. I'd be happier. It's not that they bored me, it's that they made me furious.

-- Jessie (blue@avocation.org), August 22, 2000.

It's my first time posting here and this probably isn't going to make me popular, but I cannot express to you just how much I abhor A Prayer for Owen Meany. ("This is SYMBOLISM! No arms, see? It's a SYMBOL! And in case you're too dumb to figure it out on your own, here's a short essay on what it stands for...") Moby-Dick and The Scarlet Letter both suck pond water too, but that's been adequately covered already.

On the other hand, I adore The Brothers Karamazov, Shakespeare (including King Lear, despite my not being anywhere near retirement age), Huck Finn, The Great Gatsby and Watership Down. Apparently I have rather strange tastes.

-- Tara (tarac@purpleturtle.com), August 24, 2000.

u arents critics. who the hell u think u are criticizing favorites.u all can suck u know what.

-- phuck u all (phuckuall@dude.com), January 15, 2001.

And on the subject of the Anne of Green Gables books, has anybody noticed what a rough deal Gilbert gets? His parents don't even go to the wedding (Anne's House of Dreams) - or if they do, they don't say a word. When Anne has a flirtation with Roy Gardner, she invites his mother and sisters to visit, but no mention is ever made of any visit by Gilbert's family. Apart from James, named after a mutual friend, all Anne's children are named after her adoptive parents, her real parents, herself, her best friend and her maiden name- no namesakes for Gilbert's family. She invites everbody she knows to come and stay- ex-pupils, even the maid of the house she once lodged in- but she makes fun of Gilbert's best friend, Cahrlie Sloane, and he never seems to come to visit- and when Gilbert tries to socialise with his old friend Christine, Anne throws a jealous fit. Poor old Gilbert, you sometimes wonder if all those nighttime calls really were for his services as a Doctor!

-- Deborah Coates (Deborah@gremlins.fsbusiness.co.uk), December 21, 2001.

I HATED Catcher in the Rye! It was a waste of time, written to take up the time of High School life. There is absolutely no reason to read a book about nothing if you don't want to. And although I loved Tess, I too could have done without the landscape discription.

-- Natalie Whittingham (boonabanks@yahoo.com), January 02, 2002.

How can anyone hate "The World According to Garp"? Okay, I can see how, but I love it. I like Irving's work (but I also like Vonnegut....!) However, you can take Updike, the man's writing sucked. I can't stand him, even now.

-- Stacy Vega (sane_enough72@37.com), May 27, 2002.

I think Hemingway is popular because he's easy to understand by the masses (ie., morons). Barf-o-rama. I can't believe how must the LOTR movie sucked... I too tried to read the Hobbit at some point in my youth, only to fall asleep, drooling like a 90-year old. Ugh.

-- Keith (keith@squirm.net), May 28, 2002.

Tess of the D'ubervilles, we are being forced at basic gun point to read it. It is the most in humane thing to do. Please send help, or at least kill me so that I don't suffer so!!!!!

-- lennon (cabalacity@hotmail.com), May 04, 2003.

it fucken suxs dick hard and its bullshit

-- mick hunt (i_hate_catcherintherye@hotmail.com), May 21, 2003.

i don't know what all the fuss is about with oliver twist. i mean?? well the musical was waaaay betta. I agree that Catcher in the Rye sucks. The teacher had to practically glue the damn book to my face to make me read it. ugh.

-- rebecca wilson (superbecks10@hotmail.com), June 23, 2003.

I learned to hate "classic literature" in high school. It has no practical value whatsoever. Shakespere be damned!

-- Craig Kopcho (kopchoc@bellsouth.net), November 11, 2003.

yeah, the hobbit is just awful . . . also Les Mis is the WORST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ! not only is it translated, but the copy that they teach is abridged. I did try to read the original and found that the only way to survive was to read spark notes . . . . it was completely unreadable garbage. the basic idea of the plot was good though, just OH MY GOD could they use more nonsensical rubbish????

-- Sarie (beepink630@aol.com), May 19, 2004.

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