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October 23, 2014, 09:05:57 AM
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Author Topic: most hated literary works  (Read 3709 times)
FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 08:29:43 PM »

I've had to read "The Great Gatsby" three freakin' times in my scholastic life - once in high school, once in college, and a 3rd time when I took some extra credit courses at a local community college. Never again!!

Back when Metallica was causing much whoop-de-doo with their video for the song "One," which incorporated footage from the film version of "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo, I found a copy of the book at the library and read it... wished I hadn't. Good Lord, what drawn-out, depressing-as-hell book that was.

More recently (and I'm not even sure if this would qualify as "literature" but what the hell) I read Steven Tyler's "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?" about a month ago and it was a really tough slog. Unfortunately Steven writes the way he talks - i.e., lots of stream-of-consciousness rambling, going off topic for pages at a time, etc., etc. -- which after a while started to remind me of the homeless people I'd see babbling to themselves in the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Also, by the end of Tyler's book you'll feel like you should have earned a degree in Pharmacology. In addition to all the, ahem, "usual suspects" (i.e. cocaine, weed, speed, etc.) that dude used drugs I'd never even heard of, and lots of'em, and goes into great detail about each and every one of'em!!
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WildHoosier09
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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2011, 09:21:37 PM »

I've got second "the great gatsby". Gatsby was not great. If Gatsby had a lick of intelligence he would have ditched that numbnutted broad Daisy to the curb and went out and found a woman worth a damn.  Come on Gatsby, lots of fish in the sea there buddy.

I would also vote for most works by Hemmingway, before you condemn understand by highschool Lit teacher had a crush on Hemmingway and our class suffered for it. In my book anyone as obsessed with being manly as Hemmingway was has to be gay. A few of his short stories have redeeming qualities though such as good pacing etc.
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Zapranoth
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2011, 10:52:55 PM »

Hemingway is highly annoying to read, for sure.   But if you google "best of bad Hemingway" and read what you find therein... that, that is good reading, take my word for it.

Most hated works?  Hmm.  Yeah.  Most everything I read in Literary Theory class in college was 100% pure mental masturbation, and was as hateful and obnoxious as some of the lit theory grad students in that class.  _Hamletmachine_ reigns supreme in that regard... it's pure twaddle.

_Ulysses_ seems fairly hated though I have never read it.

I thought _Catcher in the Rye_ was a really annoying book, although I can't use the word "hate" for my reaction to it. 
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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2011, 10:54:47 PM »

And you have to admit, Michael Moorcock's writing style is really obnoxious too.  A crucifix piledriver to the next person who says "insouciant!"
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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2011, 11:30:35 PM »

Tess of the D'urbervilles, I could never get into it and had to read it for a class. 

I also hated Dracula it is far more boring then movies would have you believe. 

Sometimes, I like verbose Victorian literature but at times I can't relate and have trouble getting into the feel. 

Allow me to say I found Mary Shelley far more entertaining than Bram Stoker. 
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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2011, 08:16:47 PM »

I generally loathe poetry and I hated it in school.  Especially the ridiculous amount of time we spent in class trying to figure out what two roads in the woods symbolize.  To me poetry is a fancy term for fragmented sentences. 
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2011, 08:44:07 PM »

There was a book I was forced to read in school, Hatchet, about a kid who gets lost in the woods and is forced to survive. It was the most boring thing I'd ever read. Also Stephen King's The Girl who loved Tom Gordon, which had basically the same plot.

Also, any school summer reading assignment, including Steinbeck's The Pearl, Black Beauty, The adventures of Tom Sawyer (god awful) and anything else im not thinking of. Granted, most of it was read in the last two weeks before school started, so its not like I really got much out of it anyway, but the fact that I was being forced to read it, and the fact that it was something i never would have picked up on my own, poisoned whatever positive qualities they may have had.
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2011, 08:46:53 PM »

I generally loathe poetry and I hated it in school.  Especially the ridiculous amount of time we spent in class trying to figure out what two roads in the woods symbolize.  To me poetry is a fancy term for fragmented sentences. 

Right on!  Poetry is always the most uninteresting subject for me in school (My Creative Writing course will be hitting soon.  Ugh.).  The most WTF poem I ever read was this:

Quote
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

What the hell did I just read?!

There was a book I was forced to read in school, Hatchet, about a kid who gets lost in the woods and is forced to survive. It was the most boring thing I'd ever read.

Hey!  I think I read that one too.  Man, it was so forgettable I just rememeber after nearly a decade that I actually read it.  Damn that's bad when A Taste of Blackberries was far more memorable for me.
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« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2011, 03:39:14 AM »

Man, you guys are hitting some stuff which is great.

For example, Ulysses and Moby D**k (gotta' love that filter). I'll agree that those are difficult works, but if you're willing to put the work in they are incredibly rewarding. Why should literature be easy? Then again, this is from the guy who thinks Gravity's Rainbow is one of the best things he's ever read.

But I'm befuddled you found Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies underwhelming. Those are the books you need to read as a teenager, because you'll never find them as effective at any other point in life. (Well, maybe you were smarter than I was a kid.) It's like that Japanese movie "Battle Royale." If I would have watched that when I was fifteen I probably would have thought it was brilliant.

I will agree that Slaughterhouse-5 is underwhelming. But that's because I'm familiar with the rest of Vonnegut's catalog, and I don't think that book is among his best, even if others say it is so. So it goes.

For classics I was forced to read, I will say that I think "The Scarlet Letter" deserves none of the accolades it gets. Boring book with less to say than people think it does.

Maybe you guys are right. I read a lot of books that people think are fantastic because I think I should, and a lot of them are garbage.

The worst example is this book, Auto-da-Fe by Elias Canetti. I read this boring book, which is four hundred odd pages of the most one-sided characters you've ever been exposed to. The only reason this book exists is to prove to its author, Canetti, that all people are vain and venal fools, who above all care only about money and are unable to truly communicate with their fellow humans.

I thought it was garbage with nothing to say, unless you already agree with the idea that everybody you meet is nothing less than human filth with nothing to say. Just garbage. But here's the kicker about that book: Every discussion I see about it online thinks its genius. Pessimistic garbage, but lauded for its brilliance. I don't agree that the only thing humanity can be is one-sided, stupid, and shallow. If you agree, you might think its great. If you agree, you're lazy and not somebody I want to know.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 06:50:20 PM by Mofo Rising » Logged

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FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2011, 07:38:06 AM »

I majored in English in college and therefore was required to take a Poetry class one semester, which was torture for me. Not only because I'm not terribly fond of poetry (unless you're talking dirty limericks), but also because I was surrounded by a room full of the most pretentious motherF'ers on campus for half a year.

By the end of that course I particularly hated e.e. cummings, who was a favorite of our professor. If that guy wasn't already dead I swear I would've hunted him down and killed him myself for his crimes against punctuation.
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Jim H
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« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2011, 02:41:07 PM »

Quote
But I'm befuddled you found Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies underwhelming. Those are the books you need to read as a teenager, because you'll never find them as effective at any other point in life.

I haven't read Lord of the Flies, but Heart of Darkness is my least favorite book I have finished.  It is as if it was written to be as difficult to understand as possible.  I mean, a DOUBLE first person perspective?  REALLY?  Page long paragraphs?  REALLY?   Hatred

Oh, and it's racist. 

Did not like one thing about it.
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Zarcal-TB
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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 03:49:06 PM »

I going with Joyce -- Portrait of an artist, one of only a hanful of books i just couldnt finish.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2011, 05:52:15 PM »

I've had to read "The Great Gatsby" three freakin' times in my scholastic life - once in high school, once in college, and a 3rd time when I took some extra credit courses at a local community college. Never again!!...
My favorite book, which I've probably read 6 or 7 times (I just reread it last year). 

I've got second "the great gatsby". Gatsby was not great. If Gatsby had a lick of intelligence he would have ditched that numbnutted broad Daisy to the curb and went out and found a woman worth a damn.  Come on Gatsby, lots of fish in the sea there buddy.

I would also vote for most works by Hemmingway, before you condemn understand by highschool Lit teacher had a crush on Hemmingway and our class suffered for it. In my book anyone as obsessed with being manly as Hemmingway was has to be gay. A few of his short stories have redeeming qualities though such as good pacing etc.

Lookingup

...Right on!  Poetry is always the most uninteresting subject for me in school (My Creative Writing course will be hitting soon.  Ugh.).  The most WTF poem I ever read was this:

Quote
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens
.

What the hell did I just read?!...
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
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FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2011, 08:24:02 PM »

I've had to read "The Great Gatsby" three freakin' times in my scholastic life - once in high school, once in college, and a 3rd time when I took some extra credit courses at a local community college. Never again!!...
My favorite book, which I've probably read 6 or 7 times (I just reread it last year

"Gatsby" isn't a bad book in and of itself, but three times was more than enough for me, thanx. TeddyR
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2011, 09:57:19 PM »

Okay, I'll chime in here. I have my M.A. in Creative Writing and Literature, so I've taken a lot of lit courses. Not that taking those courses gives me lots of authority, but it is supposed to be my area of expertise.

Some of the comments made here, I can understand: Steinbeck is too bleak for my taste, and Melville's tale of Captain Ahab and company (I'll avoid the filters) would have been much more readable without the middle 100 chapters, which were simply lessons on whaling. I would disagree with Circus' comments about Slaughterhouse 5.  I didn't care for it the first time I read it, but I gave it another chance later on and loved it. I will agree with Mofo Rising, though, that it is not Vonnegut's best work. Hemingway is indeed depressing, but he is an excellent writer who can convey multiple levels of emotion and characterization with very few words. He wrote my very favorite short story, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," which packs more characterization into three pages than many novels. The Great Gatsby didn't really do much for me. A better alternative along the same lines is Nathanael West's Day of the Locust. West's novel just works better on more levels, portraying the same type of bleak outlook while maintaining a fuller sense of humanity than Gatsby manages. Oh, and I love Withering Heights. And Lord of the Flies remains the scariest book I have ever read, and one of the scariest movies as well.

For all you poetry haters: I'm sorry your teachers killed a wonderful thing for you. In my experience, people that hate poetry do so mostly because their teachers have told them that poems have "secret meanings" and must be "interpreted" correctly in order to appreciate them. Horse hockey. A good poem is one that can be enjoyed on the first reading and again and again on every subsequent reading, often sparking thoughts that deepen with enjoyment. The Williams poem that was quoted, "The Red Wheelbarrow," is NOT an example of a good poem. I don't really consider it a poem, but I know many that love it. I don't know why. Frost is probably my favorite poet overall: He manages to include poetic rhythms so subtly and naturally that you don't realize he is writing in meter until you go back and count syllables. And his images are generally vivid and meaningful. He's an example of a consummate poet.

As for my own most hated work of Classic Literature: Almost any novel by Faulkner. I acknowledge him as a fine and innovative writer. I just find all of his characters to be despicable and unlikable. And his outlook on humanity is terribly depressing. Plus I generally hate stream of consciousness.

Sorry for the long post. This is, I guess, my thing. I'm not the most well read person on the planet, but I do love thought-provoking, well-written books.
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