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Old 02-07-2022, 04:40 PM   #31
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Oh and put down any book with a half naked man on the cover that's labeled romance. Those are really awful.
Especially when they don't even bother to show the guy's head. Just naked torso.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:42 PM   #32
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I did not like Dostoevsky's The Brother's Karamazov. While I liked Hyperion by Dan Simmons, I really disliked Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that it was based on.

Ulysses by James Joyce
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Ulysses by James Joyce Hard to read but Masterpiece
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace Masterpiece
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Hard to read but great book
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs I didn't read it
Dracula by Bram Stoker I like it, I don't know why it is in this list, may be that the Italian translation makes it easier to read?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald I didn't read it
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand I didn't read it
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen I didn't read it but I could read it to better read the zombies version
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky I didn't read it but after reading Demons I won't read it because I hated Demons
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Masterpiece
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon I didn't read it

I have read all books in Italian. And of course if You don't like a book You don't like it also if somebody else says that it is a masterpiece.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:45 PM   #33
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Oh and put down any book with a half naked man on the cover that's labeled romance. Those are really awful.
Topic! Please! Don’t make me ask again. You can’t really be suggesting that only lying poseurs like bodice rippers? We’re talking here only about the difficult and pretentious.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:48 PM   #34
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Dracula is in my list because it is very boring and it was not scary one bit. I had to force myself to finish it. The style of so many letters is something I dislike.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:52 PM   #35
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Dracula is in my list because it is very boring and it was not scary one bit. I had to force myself to finish it. The style of so many letters is something I dislike.
That I get. I don’t mind epistolary novels myself, but I see where they pose problems.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:56 PM   #36
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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Just no.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:02 PM   #37
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That I get. I don’t mind epistolary novels myself, but I see where they pose problems.
Epistolary novels are the literary equivalent of the found footage horror movie. I may have forgotten, but the only epistolary novel I remember reading was Carrie by Stephen King.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:03 PM   #38
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I did that with Steinbeck. There's a few I haven't yet read (Cup of Gold, The Short Reign of Pippin IV) and a notable one (The Pearl). But otherwise I went through everything I could find.

Much lesser extent, I enjoyed The Scarlet Letter enough that I quickly picked up House of the Seven Gables (which I liked more than Scarlet, actually).
Yeah, Steinbeck is quite Dreiser-like, in fact, except for the added luster of what Paul Krugman refers to as the Swedish thingie. Both Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden could be seen as qualifying for the poseur list.

I always thought that adolescence/high school were the years to read all those long classics. I’ve surprised myself in recent years by going back to Victorian novels with enormous enjoyment. Maybe it’s my second childhood!

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An American Tragedy and Look Homeward, Angel are both on my ever expanding TBR list along with Moby Dick and War and Peace.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:04 PM   #39
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Dracula is in my list because it is very boring and it was not scary one bit. I had to force myself to finish it. The style of so many letters is something I dislike.
Looking at your list, Dracula and The Great Gatsby just don't seem like they fit. Both are fairly popular classics and are widely read outside of classroom settings.

I haven't yet read Dracula, but really enjoyed Gatsby.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:14 PM   #40
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Both Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden could be seen as qualifying for the poseur list.
There I disagree. I can't find the article now, but I remember something about Steinbeck being the author on the required reading list that is actually enjoyable. They used funnier terms, but that was the point.

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I always thought that adolescence/high school were the years to read all those long classics. I’ve surprised myself in recent years by going back to Victorian novels with enormous enjoyment. Maybe it’s my second childhood!
I couldn't get into David Copperfield, but I really enjoyed String of Pearls, the book that became Sweeney Todd. I've looked for other penny dreadfuls to try.

I also really enjoyed George Eliot's Silas Marner and have been meaning to try other books of hers.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:14 PM   #41
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So what’s on your list of great books not even an author’s mother could wade through?
At least half of the books on the St. John's College list, including almost all the math and science:

https://www.sjc.edu/academic-program...s-reading-list

I have an acquaintance who went there, and when I asked about the problem of having to read dull books, he said that he can read anything. I have great admiration for this man, mostly for other reasons.

(And he also reads genre crime books.)

(And he is not a lying poseur.)

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Old 02-07-2022, 05:20 PM   #42
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And Ladies of the Club

While I never finished it, and remember nothing about the 100 pages of so I did read, I do remember being bored out of my skull. This book was very popular about 25 years ago, and some of my friends raved about it. It was 1,100 pages of yawns.
I remember this. I think one reason it was so popular was the buzz, that it was the life’s work of a woman who was about 110 years old (maybe a little less). But it was pretty typical sweeping historical family saga type stuff, IIRC, with a parade of characters and nothing interesting to say about them or the times.

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Gone With the Wind

Hated every single page of this book except the last. I did finish it, it's my sister's favorite book. Had serious trouble with the slave dialogue, had to read it out loud to understand what was being said.
I loved this when I was a girl, but I couldn’t read it now for the racism. Nor for the abusive relationship that was supposed to be so romantic.

And yeah, doorstoppers the pair of them.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:45 PM   #43
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I loved this when I was a girl, but I couldn’t read it now for the racism. Nor for the abusive relationship that was supposed to be so romantic.
I started it once and couldn’t get far, but it wouldn’t have had anything to do with moral values.

Just checked again, and the first two paragraphs already are unbelievable nonsense to me:

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The dress set off to perfection the seventeen-inch waist, the smallest in three counties
Which three counties?

Set off to perfection? Wouldn’t the dressmaker try to hide something so extreme?
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:46 PM   #44
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A few comments in another thread, specifically mentioning War and Peace and Moby Dick, got me thinking about books that people don’t really believe anyone could like, and if someone does say they liked it or think it’s good, much less great, they’re clearly both lying and pretentious.

I enjoyed both weighty tomes mentioned myself, but I grant that I see the argument. It seems to me that books that qualify share the characteristics of being lengthy, difficult, boring and (dare I say it?) classic. I’m trying to come up with my own list. Finnegan’s Wake is probably on it; I’ve never really tried to read it and I did like Ulysses, but when I think of reading FW for pleasure my mind just can’t go there.

So what’s on your list of great books not even an author’s mother could wade through?
This is how some folk treat Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (Remembrance of Things Past). Wonderful book but mention it and you risk setting off a poseur alert (the set response seems to be “Ah but have you read it in French?” which seems to be the sovereign remedy for Proust poseurs). The text is demanding but not “difficult” in the same way as Ulysses. He often uses long complex sentences but only when he has complex realities to capture, such as subtleties of feeling. The response was frustrating because I would have loved to talk to people who shared my excitement about this masterwork.

Moby Dick is truly great (I’ll always remember the mattress stuffed with “corn cobs or broken crockery”) but novels were different then, the author felt the liberty to digress, each chapter novella-length in today’s world.

Here Comes Everybody by Anthony Burgess is a great way into Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
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Old 02-07-2022, 06:28 PM   #45
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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Just no.
This book made me question whether I would read anything post-apocalyptic again I don't know how anyone likes the book
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