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Old 02-08-2022, 02:04 PM   #61
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I will admit to not reading classics. Every one I have tried gets abandoned very soon after starting. I guess it must be the older writing style that turns me off. I recently enjoyed watching the movie The Count of Monte Cristo (with Jim Caviezel). So I thought I would try reading the book. That endeavor lasted about three pages. I am embarrassed to say that the only classics that I have finished have been the ones I was forced to - by school assignment. Why anybody would want to read The Canterbury Tales is beyond me, but it was required in one of my college courses. It was in Olde English with translations off to the side. But to each their own - someone may enjoy that kind of reading ... just not me. I remember (vaguely) reading Beowulf in high school. I don't remember it being bad. The fact that I even remember it must have meant it was at least OK. But when I tried that one as an adult, I made it for about the same three pages that I did with the Dumas book.

Someday, I do plan to attempt The Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island. I have seen movies of these and liked them. But I fear the books may turn me off as other classics have. But I want to try anyway.

In the Hey!! Let's get some action going thread, there was recently mention of Anne of Green Gables. People seemed to like that one. I've never read it. But I did read most of the "Look Inside" teaser on Amazon after seeing the mention in the thread and I will admit, I liked it at least a little bit. Not my normal type of reading for sure, but I did keep reading that teaser for quite some time. I may try that one as well, especially since it's public domain now and you can get it free off of Gutenberg.

But I still think that if I ever finish more than a dozen classics in my entire life, that will be a miracle. I've only finished about six of them so far. I don't consider things like 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, etc. to be classics although in some sense I guess they are - just more modern classics. Those, I don't mind reading.

In any case, I would never consider any book so bad that nobody would want to read it (the subject of this thread). I know people have a wide variety of different tastes. I see this even in the Let's get some action going thread. There are many posted there that I just say to myself "No. Hard no." But then I will be surprised and find a different suggestion (from the same "Hard no" poster) that sounds appealing to me. You can just never tell what may flip somebodies switch at any given time. I can't tell you how many times I started and abandoned Clan of the Cave Bear. After years of trying, it finally clicked and I ate it up. Then devoured the next two in the series. Then stalled on the fourth. One of these years I hope to devour the fourth and finish the series. Even though I've been stalled on the fourth for a long long time now. I remember trying to read it during some of my kids T-Ball games in elementary school. My kids are in their 30's now...
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Old 02-10-2022, 02:12 AM   #62
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The Trial
Wait... Kafka? I loved that book! Yeah, it dragged here and there, but overall I really enjoyed it!

...and I hate long dragging books. I barely managed Moby Dick, and only did that by "reading" the audiobook version.
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Old 02-10-2022, 02:16 AM   #63
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I really enjoyed our class read of Romeo and Juliet. It helped me to get past what felt like archaic language.
Maybe not what you meant, but I *HATED* when teachers used to make us go around the classroom and read one sentence or paragraph each. I could not follow along listening to everybody struggle to read their part with the constant changes in intonation, speed, pronunciations, etc.

...but I will also readily admit to having difficulty reading out loud. For some reason I find it to be much harder than it should be, even though I've been an avid reader for my whole life.
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Old 02-10-2022, 07:27 AM   #64
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Does “mostly” leave room for an exception for Dubliners? Because I take your point, but Dubliners strikes me as accessible. “The Dead” is a masterpiece.
Dubliners is the most readable, but I didn't finish it. IMO still garbage. Though I only visited Dublin in 1960s & 1970s and lived there in a "Western Britain" suburb in the later 1980s, but my job was in the City Centre.

One of the most over-rated Irish authors.
The more recent Angela's Ashes set in the past annoys me too as I've lived in or near Limerick for nearly 40 years. Being poor anywhere in 1930s (Brooklyn) or 1940s (Limerick) with an alcoholic father from Norn Iron isn't going to be nice. It's a biased voyeuristic book & I can't see the point of it any more than the Dubliners. I'm sceptical too that a lot isn't fictional.

Most of the world is poor and living in unpleasant circumstances.
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Old 02-10-2022, 07:40 AM   #65
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The more recent Angela's Ashes set in the past annoys me too as I've lived in or near Limerick for nearly 40 years. Being poor anywhere in 1930s (Brooklyn) or 1940s (Limerick) with an alcoholic father from Norn Iron isn't going to be nice. It's a biased voyeuristic book & I can't see the point of it any more than the Dubliners. I'm sceptical too that a lot isn't fictional.
I liked Angel’s Ashes, but I didn’t care for his subsequent two memoirs. I think Evelyn Waugh said to Diana Cooper (my memory of their correspondence could be faulty) that everyone had one book about their childhood in them, but no subsequent memoirs of worth. While I don’t think that’s the exact truth; it’s more that many have no more than one book about their childhood in them, it’s an insight that’s stayed with me. Maya Angelou is another example; Caged Bird was great, the rest not so much.

I like memoirs, too much in truth, but I agree they’re problematic. Memory plays people false all the time. And what are the standards for reconstructing conversations? I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said to someone yesterday, much less decades ago.
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Old 02-10-2022, 08:57 AM   #66
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Maybe not what you meant, but I *HATED* when teachers used to make us go around the classroom and read one sentence or paragraph each. I could not follow along listening to everybody struggle to read their part with the constant changes in intonation, speed, pronunciations, etc.
No, we didn't do that. I don't remember now how we handled the actual reading of the play in class. I just remember we spent a week on it and watched two adaptations: the Franco Zeffirelli take and West Side Story and compared what made the cut in each and why.
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Old 02-10-2022, 09:00 AM   #67
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Dubliners is the most readable, but I didn't finish it. IMO still garbage...

One of the most over-rated Irish authors.
I remember having to read Portrait of the Artist as a Young man and hating it. Then checking out Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake and deciding Joyce just wasn't for me. Though we have the same birthday, so there's that.
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Old 02-10-2022, 10:29 AM   #68
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I actually liked Finnegan's Wake back when I read it (not from start to finish, but opening random pages and reading). I found it soothing somehow. But I do love the sound of language, words, certain phonemes, etc, so I don't mind a missing plot. Actually, I was a bit disappointed to find out it has one.

A book I just could not read is War and Peace. I don't read French and I'm not a fan of footnotes nor snobbish aristocracy unable to speak their mother tongue. If I ever find a version where all the french parts are translated within the text itself (maybe in italics or something), I will definitely give it a go.

Another genre I distrust, as well as all the self-proclaimed lovers of it, is modern poetry that doesn't rhyme.
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Old 02-10-2022, 11:42 AM   #69
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Though we have the same birthday, so there's that.
Probably you have close to 0.3% of everyone that ever lived.
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Old 02-10-2022, 11:49 AM   #70
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A book I just could not read is War and Peace. I don't read French and I'm not a fan of footnotes nor snobbish aristocracy unable to speak their mother tongue. If I ever find a version where all the french parts are translated within the text itself (maybe in italics or something), I will definitely give it a go.
Ah, but French replaced Latin as a universal language and all of the Noble Russians did speak it. Then later English replaced French.
I find the French-English on my Kobo a big help with the 18th & 19th British writers. I've not attempted War and Peace yet, but some older PD translation of it is in my Calibre library from Project Gutenberg. Along with other big old ones like Clarissa.

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Another genre I distrust, as well as all the self-proclaimed lovers of it, is modern poetry that doesn't rhyme.
I think the problem is more than lack of rhyme.
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Old 02-10-2022, 11:53 AM   #71
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Probably you have close to 0.3% of everyone that ever lived.

Is the percentage different if your birthday is Feb 29th?
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Old 02-10-2022, 12:05 PM   #72
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A book I just could not read is War and Peace. I don't read French and I'm not a fan of footnotes nor snobbish aristocracy unable to speak their mother tongue. If I ever find a version where all the french parts are translated within the text itself (maybe in italics or something), I will definitely give it a go.
I highly recommend the Ann Dunnigan translation. In effect she signals that a passage was originally in French by starting off with a word or two and then shifting to English. And aside from that, it’s a very smooth, readable version.

In fairness to Tolstoy, for someone with even limited French chops the French bits wouldn’t pose a difficulty, and they get fewer and fewer as the book progresses.
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Old 02-10-2022, 12:11 PM   #73
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I've not attempted War and Peace yet, but some older PD translation of it is in my Calibre library from Project Gutenberg.
I always think it’s worth it to spend the money on a more recent translation of 19th century (and earlier) classics rather than attempt the public domain translation. Not only are modern translations easier to read, they also tend to be more accurate and complete. War and Peace translations go on sale regularly, at least in the US. Well worth a few bucks or euro, as the case may be.
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Old 02-10-2022, 02:44 PM   #74
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I find some books with too much racism to be a no go. I know it's a sign of the times back then. But it's a real turn off.
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Old 02-10-2022, 02:55 PM   #75
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I find some books with too much racism to be a no go. I know it's a sign of the times back then. But it's a real turn off.
I don’t see how this fits the “lying poseur” element.
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