Author Topic: "Classics" you haven't read  (Read 7867 times)

"Classics" you haven't read
« on: January 12, 2009, 09:03:29 pm »
You know what I mean - those thick tomes and improving books which people say you need to read and which you haven't, won't or don't want to read.

I'll nominate On the Road by Jack Kerouac - I tried to read it when I was about 20, and I couldn't.  A cheerless parade of tedious, drugged-up tossers trudging from miserable place to miserable destination, with added gimcrack philosophy.  And it was more dated than the flat earth theory. 

I haven't read Finnegan's Wake, either, but I'm doubtful that anyone has.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 09:32:45 pm »
A long list.

Anything by Dickens
The Catcher In The Rye
Catch-22
Any corseted chick lit by George Eliot/the Brontes/Jane Austen
Ulysses, obviously (because no-one has - they just buy it and it sits on the shelf until they die)
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Jezza

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 09:46:04 pm »
Dostoyevsky. Repeated attempts, but it's no use - I just switch off.

Iris Murdoch. Maybe I'll appreciate it more when I'm older. 

Oddly enough, I have actually read Ulysses - every single goddamn page of it. It was the only book I had with me on a safari in Malawi, and the enforced lack of any other reading material is probably the only way anyone's ever going to finish it. 

Bluebottle

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 09:50:02 pm »
Aye.  I too have read Ulysses.  Ironically it took me a day less than a year.  My syntax has been irrevocably ruined and I now want to insert umpteen commas, hyphens and assorted colons in every sentence to compensate.

Never read Dickens or Brontë.  No desire to either.

I want to read the Canterbury Tales but suspect it will be a while before I manage it.
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FGG #5465

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 09:51:26 pm »
Catch-22 also.
Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake also.
War and Peace
A Tale of Two Cities - I usually romp through Dickens but got mired with this one.
Capt Corelli's Mandolin - does that count?

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 09:51:36 pm »
I've read Ulysses - and one summer I ploughed my way through the whole of Proust.

I can't really recommend it. I just ended up with a hearty loathing of self-centred hypochondriacs.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 09:54:37 pm »
Catch-22

I actually enjoyed that.
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Any corseted chick lit

Mmm, corsets  :)
But otherwise no intention of reading my wife's large collection of Austen.

War and Peace holds no appeal either.

citoyen

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 09:58:24 pm »
Agreed on Jack Kerouac (self-absorbed drivel) and Dostoyevsky (the very definition of tedium).

But Roger, you are doing yourself a disservice - most of what you mention is actually fantastic reading. You're also wholly misguided to describe George Eliot as "chick lit" - give Middlemarch a try, it's awesome.

I've not read Ulysses in its entirety, but I have read passages of that and others of his, and from what I've read, I think I rather like Joyce's style. It's a damn sight more digestible than Kerouac, at least.

Jezza, I've also been contemplating giving Iris Murdoch a go lately. Let me know how you get on.

d.

clarion

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 10:06:30 pm »
Nonono, you've missed the point of Dostoyevsky.  I read the murder passage from C&P to a class of fifteen year olds, and they were so entranced that they didn't want to go when the bell rang - they asked for more.  And it wasn't my reading that was gripping them.
Getting there...

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2009, 10:53:56 pm »
I did read War and Peace as a young teenager and avid reader, but afterwards I still wasn't sure of the story line. It was just so complicated, with so much happening for so long, that the words sort of went in and then straight out again :-\

Basil

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2009, 10:55:47 pm »
Moby Dick.  Keep meaning to.
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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2009, 11:12:49 pm »
Not read anything by Proust or Joyce. In both cases, started, but decided being able to say I'd read 'em wasn't worth the unutterable tedium of actually doing it. Ariadne summed 'em up nicely. Ditto Kerouac. Joyce had little nuggets of purely linguistic pleasure, but there was too much wading through verbal sludge to get to 'em.

Never read anything by any Bronte except some of the poetry. Tried Eliot in my book-devouring youth, but couldn't take to her. I did manage some Dostoyevsky, & even Sholokov, from my grandmothers bookshelves. I think the imagery & exoticism made them palatable, even at the age of 12. Ditto with Tolstoy.

Are the works of Iris Murdoch considered classics now? If so. they're on my "not read" list.

What else? I've never read Pamela, but didn't need to to appreciate Fieldings piss-take of it. Which reminds me - there are still Fielding novels I haven't read. Yet. And of Elizabeth Gaskell, I've only read Mary Barton.

What about classics read, but since regretted?
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

tonycollinet

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2009, 11:32:59 pm »
I want to read "Rebecca"

I keep hearing that opening line - and it calls to me.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 08:43:51 am »
These two have been  sitting in my 'to read' stack for over three years!

1) Machiavelli's - The Prince

2) Conrad - Nostromo

Other books keep barging in front though, I will try and read them soon.


bikenerd

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 09:34:12 am »
Moby Dick.  Keep meaning to.
I've started it twice and not managed to get past page 200.  It is good, though, I just get distracted by other books.

Lord of the Rings: didn't manage to get past the first chapter.  Dull dull dull!

citoyen

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2009, 09:43:11 am »
I read the murder passage...

I admit I gave up before I got that far. Perhaps I'll give it another go one day. Or perhaps I won't. I know which is more likely.

d.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2009, 09:47:23 am »
I've been about 12 pages into The Count of Monte Cristo for a year now.

The language is so flowery its best read aloud...

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2009, 09:48:39 am »
Lord of the Rings: didn't manage to get past the first chapter.  Dull dull dull!
Read it when you're 11 or 12. I did (found The Hobbit in my primary school library, read it, then went looking for more by the same author), & loved it. I still have the 3 volume hardback edition I was given for Christmas around then.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2009, 10:00:51 am »
My mum used to rave about Heidi. I should sit down and read that one day.

Moby Dick, our little book club tried reading it, but bad things kept happening to people, car crashes, lost luggage etc. So it was declared a cursed book, and we vowed never to try read it again.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2009, 10:03:34 am »
I have read War and Peace (on my second time through at present) it's good.
Haven't read any Dickins, Brionte or to my shame any Hardy.
Have had a stab at "The Prince" but failed to finish it.
Have read Catch 22 - Brilliant
On the Road - OK when your 16 a nit silly when your 40 but describes a period well.
Have bought but not yet read Canterbury Tales and Pilgrims Progress.
Gibbons "Decline and Fall" is on the pile waiting to be read as is one volume of Churchill's "History of the English Speaking Peoples".
Shakespeare I don't bother with at all, I love him but don't like reading plays.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2009, 10:05:06 am »
I read the murder passage...

I admit I gave up before I got that far. Perhaps I'll give it another go one day. Or perhaps I won't. I know which is more likely.

d.


Crime and Punishment is by far my favourite book. If you can read it intensively enough, you really become drawn in. I was "Raskolnikov" and I was terrified of being discovered.
I don't think it works if youonly dip into it from time to time.

Mr Larrington

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2009, 10:10:28 am »
If it was written before 1900, chances are I haven't read it.  Books written before 1900 rarely have explosions, helicopters or film adaptations starring Bruce Willis.
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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2009, 10:40:47 am »

Any corseted chick lit by George Eliot/the Brontes/Jane Austen



Eliot and Austen only turn into chick lit when transcribed to television, because the brilliance and (particularly in Austen's case) wit of the writing are lost. Probably most of the complexity of Eliot's sub-plots are also lost on screen.

If you want a readable Bronte, try Charlotte's 'Shirley'. The story of an independent woman who was christened with a boys' name.

Salvatore

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2009, 10:55:37 am »
I never read Goethe's Faust during the time I was studying German. We were told it was unthinkable to study for a degree in German without reading it, but I managed.

Never read any Hardy, Bronte, Eliot or Austen.

I'm with torussa on Crime and Punishment - I couldn't put it down. I've got several other Dostoyevskis lined up.

I've also read most Dickens (but could never get into Pickwick Papers).
Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Really Ancien

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2009, 11:51:19 am »
I had a brief desire to read some Conrad, I went down to the library and found neither hide nor hair.

Damon.