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Thread: What are you NOT reading?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    After having read some dostoyevsky i felt inclined to think that his popularity was only because of the same reasons you stated above. Especialy after having read pushkin lermontov tolstoy and turgenev before i could not understand how in a century and country which produced those great 4 how dostoyevsky could not only be ver popular but even manage to obscure the others.
    An opinion-Dostoyevsky was a great writer, why wouldn't he be popular? I have no idea why he was recognized more than Tolstoy or some of the others, I don't really pay attention to that, and I have not read them. But I have read some Pushkin and loved it.
    Last edited by KCurtis; 04-14-2012 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #17
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seasider View Post
    Between the Acts. I am a big fan of Virginia Woolf but I have tried and tried with this and I cant get into it.
    I really quite like that novel, more than any of her other novels you get a feel for Woolf's sense of humour that comes out in her essays.

    Edit: I don't think Dostoyevsky is a bad writer, but it is fair to say that he is perhaps over-rated. I personally read him religiously when I was 14, and there was something in it, but when I go back to him these days I'm much less enthralled by it all.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 04-14-2012 at 06:36 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
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  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    Daisy Miller. I really like Henry James, and this story was in a collection of his that I had, but I just couldn't get through the first quarter of it - it is so bad.

    Another one is Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I quit this one as a result of sheer non-understanding, but I do hope to return to it someday.

    Portrait of an Artist does tend to turn a lot of people off. The people who really like it, and what you may have been searching for JW, is the stream of consciousness. People who like SoC absolutely love it, and people who don't tend to hate it.

    Personally, I read Portrait after Ulysses, so I already had a liking for Stephen Dedalus and so wanted to read more about him. I also love SoC
    Where's a good place to start with Henry James? I own Portrait of a Lady, but I worry that'll be a bad place to start...

    I started Eco's Name of the Rose, but I got bored quickly and was already reading like five other novels, so I put it back. I plan to pick it up again, tho... I dunno i just hate these sort of snobby novels. but I guess I should try it anyways...

    Well the main reason I liked Portrait of the Artist was because of my identification with Stephen's suffocating in Dublin. I actually didn't really notice much SoC... where did you guys see it?
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  4. #19
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    If you're looking for an introduction to James you can't really go wrong with his two major novellas: The Aspern Papers or The Turn of the Screw.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

  5. #20
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    ^ I second this
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  6. #21
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    As for Portrait of the Artist, it is a well crafted book, and a short one. You may not like it, but it is still a good book - granted that it is not Ulysses. The book really has a lot more in it than people think, which is what gives it its appeal - even Dubliners was designed for people to need to either have been there, or to overthink what is actually going on. Joyce's fiction seems designed by a need to investigate - to see the missing key to everything.
    Actually I kind of suspected that that was what was going on after I finished Portrait of the Artist. I read Dubliners, and one day I actually spent a lot of time "overthinking" Araby, until suddenly things started clicking into place. After I was done Portrait of the Artist and I was left with that empty feeling I started to suspect that "overthinking" is how you're supposed to read Joyce.

    Still, I think it'll be a few years before I give it another go.
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  7. #22
    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I've heard this from many people before and I've come to the conclusion that people approach this book with a certain expectation and find that it's completely nothing like they've read before, or thought it would be.
    Speaking for myself, the only thing I think I expected from a Pulitzer-winning comedy was that it would be funny, which it wasn't remotely IMO. I started reading it, then skimming, then gave up entirely. One of my co-workers brought it to work soon after, and when she was finished with it I asked her if I had missed out on anything, and she said I hadn't.

    Could you be more specific about the expectations people told you they brought and what you think we were missing?
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  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf View Post
    Actually I kind of suspected that that was what was going on after I finished Portrait of the Artist. I read Dubliners, and one day I actually spent a lot of time "overthinking" Araby, until suddenly things started clicking into place. After I was done Portrait of the Artist and I was left with that empty feeling I started to suspect that "overthinking" is how you're supposed to read Joyce.

    Still, I think it'll be a few years before I give it another go.
    LOL we read Araby in my non-honors English 11 class and nobody understood it (other than me). When it comes to Portrait of the Artist, it really depends on which section, cause I don't really see much point in read the sections about him being obsessed with religion as anything other than simple satire. XD

    On another note, I read that Nabokov made his students chart where things were occurring on a map of Dublin when he had them read Joyce. And then, of course, there's Bloomsday. So it may be a good idea to go there at some point before or while reading Ulysses or Dubliners.
    Last edited by dysfunctional-h; 04-15-2012 at 08:10 PM. Reason: clarity
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  9. #24
    I usually don't give up on books with a reputation for being classics. However, I did quit The Last of the Mohicans because it was terribly dry and stilted. Also, I couldn't make it through Blood Meridian. It was excellently written, but the violence and wickedness of the characters were too much for me.
    “Yesterday's rose endures in its name, we hold empty names.”
    ― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

  10. #25
    Registered User hawthorns's Avatar
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    I've gotten better about giving a book/author a fair shake before giving up. But there have been a few that felt like real drudgery:

    Wuthering Heights--uugggg (although I love Charlotte and Anne's works)
    Ulysses--Too young when I attempted it. Will revisit...
    Atlas Shrugged--somebody shoot me...
    Lord of the Flies--School assignment. I think I used Cliffsnotes.
    The Great Gatsby
    1984
    Pride & Prejudice / N. Abbey
    The Da Vinci Code

  11. #26
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    I do this with all kinds of books, not just boring or confusing ones. A lot of the time I stop only because I feel that I don't want to read it at that point in time and I'm in the mood for something else and maybe I'll come back to it at some other time. That's why I like to own books and not check them out of the library.

    Waiting for Godot is not that long, though, and plays are never that hard to get through. I love Beckett and absurdist plays.

    I've done this recently with Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. I've also tried reading the Sound and the Fury and had even less success with that. I may give Faulkner another chance years from now or something but for now his style causes me too much mental strain.

  12. #27
    Registered User Insane4Twain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venerable Bede View Post
    I usually don't give up on books with a reputation for being classics. However, I did quit The Last of the Mohicans because it was terribly dry and stilted.
    I guess you already know Twain's opinion of that author.

  13. #28
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawthorns View Post
    1984
    We often see the other novels on your list given as examples of classics that people found tedious, but I think you're the first one I've seen to whom 1984 "felt like real drudgery." I've seen people who didn't like it (a bit too sensationalist for some), but no one who was bored by it.

    I'm surprised no one has said Moby Dick yet. That damn whale breeds chapter...
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    -Pi


  14. #29
    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    I forgot about Moby-Dick...I've given up on that one a couple of times. It's an objectively great novel, but the first 200 pages (which, incidentally, is about as far as I ever got) are painful.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Insane4twain View Post
    I guess you already know Twain's opinion of that author.
    Yeah, I discovered his rant against Cooper after I had quit Last of the Mohicans and I had a good laugh. It's hard to beat Twain's sarcastic humour.

    Quote Originally Posted by hawthorns View Post
    I've gotten better about giving a book/author a fair shake before giving up. But there have been a few that felt like real drudgery:

    Wuthering Heights--uugggg (although I love Charlotte and Anne's works)
    Ulysses--Too young when I attempted it. Will revisit...
    Atlas Shrugged--somebody shoot me...
    Lord of the Flies--School assignment. I think I used Cliffsnotes.
    The Great Gatsby
    1984
    Pride & Prejudice / N. Abbey
    The Da Vinci Code
    I'm surprised to see The Great Gatsby on this list. Its short enough and written simply enough that it should be easy to push through even if you don't like it very much. Also, I almost quit Wuthering Heights too when I started because I thought it was written terribly. Then it picked up, and by the end I actually kind of liked it. It's probably worth giving it another shot; just stick it through till it picks up.
    “Yesterday's rose endures in its name, we hold empty names.”
    ― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

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