Books you 'should' read, but can't.

#1
I am an avid reader, and on holidays, or other times when there will be reading time, I take many books. One week is about ten to twelve inches of new paperback, plus a few standards, GMF, Pratchett, etc. Now the thing is I try to read some of the books that one should read, but some of the classics I can't even begin on, Dickens, I find turgid, likewise Hemingway, I tried 'For whom the bells toll' Spanish civil war, a period that interests me, shortish book, good starting point I thought. Couldn't get interested at all.

Are there some standard books/famous authors that leave you wondering what all the fuss is about?
 
#2
The wife gets the arrse if I take the bumpber edition of readers wifes (the triple laminated edition) on holiday with me. Well they do say picture pains a thousand words.
 
#3
I have re-discovered Dickens in the last 2 years, having struggled with him at school. I have to admit to becoming addicted and have now completed all the main novels and am moving on to his more obscure works. I would recommend The Old Curiosity Shop, Little Dorrit and Martin Chuzzlewit - I become so absorbed that I had to find out what happened next, even at the expense of enough sleep...

I have just started 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' by Nietzsche, as I feel I 'ought' to read more philosophy. I am struggling to get through his sister's introduction - I hope he is better than she is!
 
#4
I am an avid reader, and on holidays, or other times when there will be reading time, I take many books. One week is about ten to twelve inches of new paperback, plus a few standards, GMF, Pratchett, etc. Now the thing is I try to read some of the books that one should read, but some of the classics I can't even begin on, Dickens, I find turgid, likewise Hemingway, I tried 'For whom the bells toll' Spanish civil war, a period that interests me, shortish book, good starting point I thought. Couldn't get interested at all.

Are there some standard books/famous authors that leave you wondering what all the fuss is about?
The Book of Mormon, I scan read it a few years ago and thought "what the f**k" I've never seen so much bollocks in all my life.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#7
I tried reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, I got a couple of chapters in but jsut couldn't stick with it and gave up. I also found the Silmarilion unreadable.
 
#9
Tolkien. Dull and plodding.
Well said.

Somebody will mention Finnegan's Wake eventually and with good reason.

To be honest any book ever put on a Booker Prize shortlist is likely to be a bag of bollocks as well.

And I can't stand Jane Austen's books. She must the most overrated author in the history of English Literature.
 
#11
Not so much as I don't get it But I just cannot read I am legend by Richard Matheson. Not a horror reader as it is just not my thing, however I liked the dramatization on radio 7 even though it gave me the willies. Book is the same but even more so, especially if you are reading it on a winters night in an old house five miles from town, on your own, in a gale after a wee dram. Jebus!
 
#12
It took me a long time to the The Lord of The Rings trilogy, even with skipping all the poems and songs.
That's the one. Bag O shite. Waste of a forrest for printing.
 
#13
Dickens I've struggled with and may one day give him another go.

Homers Odyssey I have read and found it ok going. The Iliad I couldn't read though.

Don Quixote is another I've tried to read a few times.
 
#14
Just can't get into Seven pillars of wisdom by T E Lawrence
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
From time to time I read books from Ancient Greece, Rome, etc. It depends entirely on the quality of the translation. If books are translated too literally, they are a boring read. If the translator tries to catch the spirit of the writer and doesn't translate too rigidly, they can be a damned good read.

So I've read Arrian's "Campaigns of Alexander" in two different translations; one crap, one that kept me up late into the night finishing it.

Wordsmith
 
#17
Anybody tried reading "Clockwork Orange"? Bloody great film, but the book is written using the same slang as the movie and you need a translator.

Also, "On the Road", by Jack Kerouac, am buggered if I could get into it.
 
#19
Anything by Shakespeare. I just can't understand his version of the English language. Dickens and the Brontes don't do anything for me either.

I did enoy Sartre's Roads to freedom trilogy though, particularly the first volume. Thoroughly enjoyed Melville's "Moby Dick" and Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".

Rodney2q
 
#20
Just can't get into Seven pillars of wisdom by T E Lawrence
I was going to agree it was a bit impenetrable.

But then realised it sounded a bit inappropriate and for once I don't mean to be. It is difficult to read, and even from memory the style is a bit odd.

But the simple opening sweep is so wonderful, I still quote the dedication when drunk and looking at the stars by myself:

I loved you, so I drew these tides of
Men into my hands
And wrote my will across the
Sky and stars
To earn you freedom, the seven
Pillared worthy house,
That your eyes might be
Shining for me
When we came
Whether written for Selim Ahmed (a friend on one of his first archeological digs) or not, it is so beautiful. Even the sadness of savagery is epic. Well worth sticking with, for all it flaws (and Lawrence's for that matter)

I suppose it was sort of spoilt for me as reading it after seeing Peter O'Toole it forever stamped him in my mind. Perhaps eclipsing the man who lived at Cloud's Hill.
 

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