Classic Books

classics

Being handed a classic book strikes fear into many. As if the author’s hand is stretching from as far back as the 18th century, daring you not to like it. And ofcourse the person giving it to you states with careless ease that it’s absolutely impossible not to love this book, infact they are surprised that someone who loves books as much as you do has managed to live without it so far. No pressure then.

The problem with this books-that-must-be-read thing is that despite reading thousands of different books, all different genres, despite reading some classics and enjoying them; it is the ones that I couldn’t get through, the ones that I couldn’t make myself like, despite trying to read them multiple times: these are the ones that stay in my head and scream failure at me.

Well no longer.

I am purging the main culprits. I am putting them in print and shouting out loud: these book are just not for me! They are being rounded up and sent to the nearest charity shop and I am finally going to move on with my life.

Middlemarch
Oh my; this book is top of my list. I plodded and trudged, slogged and toiled my way through to the halfway point in this book. Then I gently replaced the bookmark and set the book back on the bookshelf where it has sat from that day forward, collecting dust like Miss Haversham, who sits in a more exalted position being involved in a classic that I love. There is only one word to describe Middlemarch concisely: dense.

Vanity Fair
Becky Sharp comes up as a favourite heroine in poll after poll. I would personally go a long way to avoid her. No chance of getting through this book with her involved.

Ulysses
I have a theory about this book and it is that it is not meant to be read cover to cover. I believe it is meant to be dipped into whenever you want to immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful prose ever written. It is truly magnificent but wholly unreadable as a story, although maybe you know better.

The 20th Century has its own classics.

Catch 22
This is a book that I really expected to enjoy. To say I hated it is an understatement. I just didn’t have a clue what was going on, I didn’t find it funny and I certainly didn’t find it entertaining.

Underworld
I wanted to love this book so much. The short time I was reading it I would walk around with it under my arm or casually drop it onto the coffee table (being careful not to crack it) so everyone could see what a well-read person I am. Hmmm…so much for that, I barely made it past the baseball scene. Wordy does not even begin to cover this book. However it is still on my shelf so people may still think I am well-read.:-)

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
I don’t know if this book has classic status but it is spoken of in revered terms and many a celebrity has declared they couldn’t possibly be friends with someone who doesn’t like this book: so be it.
Slow, ponderous, slow, ponderous. Need I say anymore?

These are the main culprits that have plagued me for years, but now I am getting them off my back. It doesn’t make them bad books, it doesn’t mean no-one else can like them (many obviously do) it just means I am moving forward, there are too many good books in the world to keep re-reading ones that you’ll never get on with.
Now I’m re-reading Frankenstein: that’s what I call a classic.

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