Name that difficult book

Discussion in 'Daily Living' started by Scorsese86, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Mar 24, 2009 #1

    Scorsese86

    Scorsese86

    Scorsese86

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    you've always intended to read... but never come around to do it... and why.

    All right, I have two:

    Ulysses - I've read some James Joyce, and really liked it. But this one, his masterpiece, his magnum opus, I have yet to read. The book weighs twice as much as me, and has really small letters in it... it looks like a real challenge...

    War and Peace - everybody says it's such a classic and so great. At least people on the net. I've never met a person in real life who could look me into my eyes and say, honestly, they've read the whole thing. And the film based on the book is like 7 hours. Not a good indication.
     
  2. Mar 24, 2009 #2

    PamelaLois

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    I have actually read War & Peace, had to write a paper on it in high school, and it pretty much sucked, long, boring, and not memorable. The book I recently had to stop reading was Vanity Fair by Thackery. It was just too confusing, he changes POV too many times, sometimes it's in third person, sometimes first, sometimes he speaks directly to the reader. The early 19th century English didn't bother me, I love Austen, but this book made me nervous.
     
  3. Mar 24, 2009 #3

    Scorsese86

    Scorsese86

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    :eek:


    It looks boring. But then again, everyone says it so great. I like great works. But not at six million pages... that's a lifetime.

    Thackery used to get drunk and ride his horse around the woods in the night. No wonder his book was so hard to understand.
     
  4. Mar 24, 2009 #4

    Wild Zero

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    I remember my cousin started reading it for his sophomore English class in mid-December 2007 even though he was moving to England over winter break. Despite my insistence that I'd made it through high school and college without even thinking about the book and that he'd never have to do the report on it since he was moving the monster seemed surgically attached to his hand.

    The Tale of Genji is my great big wtf book. I understand it's supposedly the first novel and can appreciate it as a historical artifact, but reading the thing (at least the roughly 40% of it I've grudgingly read for various classes) makes me wonder how subsequent writers saw any potential for the form. Old stuff is great and I can appreciate historical innovations that paved the way for modern life, but I wouldn't want to rock wooden dentures or post to Dims via Teletype. And I don't want to read the rest of Genji's tale.
     
  5. Mar 24, 2009 #5

    olwen

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    Good thread. I have a long list of books I've never finished, not because they are difficult but because some of them are boring and most are well over 500 pages and who wants to carry around a 500 page tome even as a paperback? I've been thinking I should save up the money for a Kindle so I could read a few of these.

    1. Ulysses - no matter how many times I start this, I can never seem to pass page 7.
    2. Finnegan's Wake - same
    3. War and Peace - same
    4. Anna Karenina - I actually got into this, but it's just so heavy. I might finish it next month actually.
    5. Atlas Shrugged - I started this and about 7 pages in I was ready to hurl the thing across the room. I really should finish it tho.
    6. Tractatus Logico Philisophicus - It's not thick but it is complicated and I can never seem to get past section 3.5.
    7. Anything by Alexander Solzhinitzen
    8. Thus Spake Zarathustra - not thick, but boring
    9. The Inferno - again, not thick but I can never seem to finish it.
    10. Moby Dick - I remember reading sections in high school, but I found it tedious, so I never finished it.
    11. The Federalist Papers - it's actually really interesting, but it's the kind of book you have to take notes with. I got sick of carrying around a seperate notebook for it but found I couldn't finish it without the notebook. One day I will finish it.
    12. Le Mort d'Author - read it in high school and it was kinda juicy, but we rushed thru it and I don't remember all the relationships between the characters. I've wanted to read it again all this time, but I feel like I'd have to reread Marion Zimmer Bradley's version right after and that just feels like too much King Aurthur all at once.
     
  6. Mar 24, 2009 #6

    olwen

    olwen

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    I've always wanted to read the Tale of Genji...
     
  7. Mar 25, 2009 #7

    PamelaLois

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    Saying you want to read that book is like saying "I've always wanted to shove an icepick in my ear".

    A painful brain death is the result of either action
     
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  8. Mar 25, 2009 #8

    olwen

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    Oh no. Can it really be that bad?
     
  9. Mar 25, 2009 #9

    PamelaLois

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    The only thing worse that I was forced to read against my will was a book called Winesburg Ohio. That's when I first contemplated the icepick/ear idea

    Also, if anyone anywhere attempts to make me read the short stories "To Build A Fire", "Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge", "Mask of the Red Death", or "The Lottery" ever again, their ears will be in serious danger of receiving the icepick treatment.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2009 #10

    Wild Zero

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    Longfellow's Evangeline: Or how I spent two months of 8th grade English refusing to read the material, scribbling nonsensical gibberish on the exams and still managed to pull a B at the end of the year. Although at this point I don't think I'm in the territory of "Difficult books I always wanted to read but never found the time for"

    So I'll throw out The Second Sex which I've wanted to read ever since a professor I adored broke off from our discussion of The Yellow Wallpaper and went on an hour-long tangent about the book.
     
  11. Mar 25, 2009 #11

    tonynyc

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    Don't you wish you had Classic Comics :D

    I enjoyed Moby Dick because my High School English Teacher stressed that we take the time to view that great Movie with Gregory Peck and then read the book.

    Oh and add "Beowulf" to the list of boring books.
     
  12. Mar 25, 2009 #12

    PamelaLois

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    What drove me nuts in school was "interpreting" the stories, finding the symbolism, divining what the author "meant" when he wrote about a tree or a fire or a freaking drop of water. :confused: I hated that crap, seriously, who the hell really knows what they meant when they wrote the stories. A tree could just be a friggin tree, for all we know. The authors are dead and long gone. I used to make up a ton of crap when I wrote my papers about my interpretation of the story, and my idiot poetry teacher bought into the crapola I spewed. She used to read bits of my papers to the class, saying that this particular student "was really moved by" the story and was able to find deeper meanings. :doh: I finally had to stay after class one day to tell her it was all bullcrap that I was pulling out of my ass. She never read a bit of my paper again, but I still got an A.
     
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  13. Mar 25, 2009 #13

    TotallyReal

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    Ulysses is a good book....not! For real: it 's just a bunch of gibberish. I tried to read it in college because all the brown-nosers in my lit. elective were talking about it, pretentiously. Tell you what egghead so-called "authors," if you want to tell me what your talking about, here's a hint: COME RIGHT OUT AND FREAKING SAY IT!!! $@*!$%$# Sorry to freak out, but I feel the same way.....a book is over 600 pages? Written in undecypherable bits and chuns? Who freaking cares. Get over yourselves, so-called "literary geniuses."

    Same thing for War and Peace. There's nothing that any of these books that Alan Moore's sublime The Watchmen doesn't cover just as well, but because it's a "graphic novel" it is automatically excluded from so-called "academic discussion." Think a book can't have illustrations? What if I told you that the manga was a perfectly acceptable form of art in Japanese culture? Hmmm?

    That being said, I have a few lengthlier books that I've always meant to take a shining to, and perchance I will soon. First on that list is Stephen King's "The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass." I've read all the other part's of the series, but just can't seem to plow through this one.

    Another book is 1984. I know, gasp, haven't read it. What I've read of it is fine, but I lose interest about halfway through without fail.
     
  14. Mar 25, 2009 #14

    Littleghost

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    Oh, Frickenstein.

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    Really? I liked all of them, except the Occurance at Owl Creek, which I never read. Guess I've got a more macabre taste than I thought. :confused:
     
  15. Mar 25, 2009 #15

    Wild Zero

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    Haha, not what I went for with gibberish but still funny. Basically I would preface each exam essay with something like "I liked reading Fahrenheit 451 way more than this book that I stopped reading after the first assignment. So I'm just going to write more about Fahrenheit 451 and replace Montag, Clarisse and Faber's names with the names from Evangeline you wanted me to match to their quotes (this is the only reason I know the names)"

    Plot point related questions were also fun
    Q:Where did Evangeline finally reunite with Gabriel?
    A: At the end of the book.
     
  16. Mar 25, 2009 #16

    Littleghost

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    Oh, Frickenstein.

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    Blurg.

    I tried to start this at 14/15, not a good idea. Kept getting tripped up on the language. I've since begun on his stuff in chronological order, haven't gotten back this one yet.

    I tried it, but I gave up after I realized that the first chapter seems devoted to describing a room. My composition teacher wasn't kidding when he said back then writers got paid by the word and wrote like it.

    I suppose my unfinished book to add would have to be Paradise Lost, I really liked it, but I guess I got distracted and I keep forgetting to pick it up again. I will say that the book I wish I hadn't finished was Chrome Yellow. I thought it would be as enjoyable as Brave New World, but it was largely unremarkable. (except for the random mention of a baby in a jar)
     
  17. Mar 25, 2009 #17

    Wild Zero

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    this is a double post
     
  18. Mar 25, 2009 #18

    Wild Zero

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    Speaking of Huxley, I spent an entire summer in high school tracking down a copy of Beyond the Mexique Bay I could actually take out of Boston Public Library system. At the time there were four copies in the entire system, three were part of the BPL's rare books collection and the one you could take out was three months overdue. Finally got my hands on it in late-August, went on a family road trip, left Mexique Bay on my bed and returned it when I got home three weeks later without ever cracking it open. :doh:
     
  19. Mar 25, 2009 #19

    Littleghost

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    Oh, Frickenstein.

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    Looking for book symbolism in English class always drove me nuts. I was fine while actually reading the books. But then come the test, I'd neurotically read into every question, looking for trick questions and over analyzing them. I'd wind up shooting myself in the foot over the simplest questions every time. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Mar 25, 2009 #20

    PamelaLois

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    The first time you read the stories, they are quite good, all of them. But, when you have to read and discuss and interpret them every freaking year in every freaking reading class you take, they just get old and annoying. I think that, from 6th grade through 12th grade, I had to read and write about those 4 stories, and some others that I can't remember, at least 6 of the 7 years. I had a succession of teachers with absolutely no imagination.

    Oh, and the movie for Occurance as Owl Creek Bridge is even more annoying than the story.
     

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