Ack! Some of my favorites are on your lists. It was little knives piercing my heart to read the Tolkien and Austin hate.
I picked up The Corrections years ago I think even before it was an Oprah pick. Got through a few chapters and realized I didn't care one whit about any of the characters in it. Put it down and that was it. My mother also hated what little of it she read. Lent it to a friend, yup, she hated it to and tried to give it back. Told her to keep it!
Bridges of Madison County - blech. And I only read an excerpt.
You guys have also listed some of my favorites (Old Man and the Sea! Tolkien! Gatsby!). I was an English Lit major and am an all-around book lover, yet I still have always hated:
Steinbeck. I think I never forgave him for writing The Red Pony, which freaked me out as a kid, after my dad gave it to me to read. If I'm going to pick an incredibly depressing male American author, I choose Hemingway.
Love in the Time of Cholera, By Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Could not finish it. I just could not relate to anything in the book. I know it's supposed to be wonderful.
For some reason, I thought Atonement was really over-rated. I didn't HATE it, but I didn't see what the fuss what about.
I also hate Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I dislike all the characters, and therefore the book.
I can read and enjoy light books, knowing they are supposed to be mindless (helloooo Charlaine Harris). But I hate reading a classic expecting it to be wonderful, and just feeling disappointed.
"I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh
Lone Wolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote my "hate" book too. 100 years of solitude, I felt like it took me a hundred years to read it! It was confusing trying to keep all the characters straight, since more than half of them had the same name :/
A lot of the books listed here are some of my favorites too, but also I see some that I agree with and I'm glad I'm not alone in popular book hating
I don't hate it but I am battling through Game of Thrones. Too... many... characters with similar names... long... long narrations...
I was also an English major, LOVE LOVE and ADORE Joyce. Think McCarthy is the greatest living writer (including Blood Meridian which was a tough but wonderful read). I can make it through dense quality writing but get really bogged down in dense pulp fiction. I don't care much for the genre of fantasy either. Just not my thing.
Oh, goodness. it drives me nuts when I don't finish a book, so I have dragged myself through War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, Life of Pi, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Iliad, and there others that are not coming to me right now. I finished every one, even enjoyed a few ( War and Peace was tedious, but once I sort of got everyone straight, I didn't mind it).
The only book I absolutely, 100% could not finish was Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. I tried, and tried, and tried. Never got past halfway through the book before I realized I hated all the characters, hated the storyline, hated the setting, hated the words on the page, hated the ink itself that composed the damnable letters. It's the only book on my shelf where the marks on the binding stop at halfway through.
I'm quite sad by some of these! Anna Karenina (I know... but I actually enjoyed it) and The Lord of the Flies were two of my favorite required reading books in high school. I also rather liked The Great Gatsby Of Mice and Men.
I found the Lord of the Rings and The hobbit books to be extremely dull 80% of the books. The not-dull parts were great, but I don't think I ever finished the 8000 pages of Frodo walking across... nothing. I skipped to the end. Really a shame, I loved the movies!
The all time, worst book ever written is Great Expectations. I have NEVER not been able to get through a book, especially if it's required reading. But that book was actually painful to read, it was a complete waste of paper. I HATED every word of the first 1/3 of the book I read. I spark noted the rest of it. The only saving grace was watching the southpark episode at the end.
Totally forgot about how much I hated Love in The time of Cholera until I read lonewolf's post. Oh my gosh, the main character was a stalking pervert--and when he was, what, in his 70s or 80s he was having sex with a 15-year-old girl that he was supposed to be a guardian to. Blech!
I also majored in English and am a voracious reader and have seen some of my faves on this list. I guess we all just have our own specific tastes. But I seems like some novels are hated across the board!
I love Tolkien and Austen; I didn't mind Great Expectations - even liked the powerful images - and I didn't and still don't get The Great Gatsby. I will, however, pile on the hate for The Red Pony. Images from that book haunt me. Gah.
One of the few books I really, truly hate, with a vicious sort of poison dripping from my fangs, is Candide. I don't care if it's satire. I HATE the characters. Hate them. Would throw them onto bonfires if I could. What insipid boneheads. Ugh! Ptui!
Ahem. I also found Atonement really detached, sort of vapid. I wanted to like it, but I couldn't get past the hazy feel of the writing and the odious little girl.
Last edited by ReveilleandRinsie; Nov. 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM.
Reason: Forgot some
Heart of Darkness... no matter how many times I try, I cannot pay attention through this book. I try to read it because it's "important" and a work of literature or whatever, but my experience is usually "boring boring boring, yes, I get it, it's DARK and everything is BROODING DARKNESS boring boring nothing happening, something about screws and generators and DARKNESS LOOMING and wait a second, guns and cannibals? When did something start happening? <flips back 5-6 pages and tries again> boring boring wait how did I get ahead 20 pages without knowing anything happened? boring boring racism boring boring sexism THE HORROR THE HORROR *the end*
I'm clearly stupid because I never understood what the horror was. It's that black people are in Africa? That's it?
The Stranger I could never really grow to like. I read it in high school and in college and I never enjoyed it.
Ah, but there is a very clever joke in it that you horsers alone will get.
So the loser who says he's going to write a novel so good that people say "Hat's Off!" about it can't get started. Why? Because he can't get the first sentence right. It describes horses pulling a carriage down a main street. He wants the rhythm of the words to match the cadence of the horses' gaits.... and then confuses the trot and canter.
And here is a bit of heresy for ya: I LOATHE Jane Austen. I feel like I was born without some educated woman gene but I cannot lie.
Austen gets credit for being the first (credible and British) feminist author. The huge fat problem, however, is that it worked: No modern women builds her life around waiting for a letter or marriage proposal from this guy or the other. So I think she's wildly overrated, too. The only thing worse is a Jane Austen movie.
You guys have also listed some of my favorites (Old Man and the Sea! Tolkien! Gatsby!).
OK I just read through the whole thread, and listed my hated books before seeing them here. I'm not sure that anyone said they hated the Old Man and the Sea (apologies if they did), but I'll willingly be the first!!
Others not yet mentioned: Who Has Seen the Wind (if you think a description of wind whistling across the prairies is boring, try a whole book!), The Bell Jar (depressing, depressing, was there a point? depressing), Animal Farm. Any high school book I had to read that I didn't like was always made worse by having to answer questions about upcoming chapters (as if I hadn't read the whole thing already) and then tediously dissecting every aspect of the book.
As with many others, also hated Lord of the Flies, The Horse Whisperer, Life of Pi.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
And no matter how many times I have tried to read "the greatest book of all time" Ulysses by James Joyce, I never get very far--guess I'm just not smart enough!
Stupidity is not the cause of your problem. Besides being a particular form of stream of consciousness, the book is one massive inside joke, limited to the people who knew a buttload of Irish, British and Western European history. The only way to read that book is with the companion thing that annotates it. It's still a PITA to read the two together. Best done in a class or hardcore book group.
And another thing! (On stream of consciousness)
It's a quality feature of novels. It can only be done there, just as only movies can do multiple reality tricks and messing with time tricks, as in Memento. You couldn't do that, or Being John Malkovich in text.
But those forms are culturally-specific because the point is to use language in a way that is so densely experiential that the only way you can be in the plot (understand it, at a minimum) is to accept the way that the author would have reality presented to you.
So Faulker makes you do what he thinks the decaying post-Civil War South did. Stories about people known to all aren't given with proper introductions of those distant family members because, hell, were you a character, you'd already know who they were. But you would get further secrets revealed as life went on, just as happens in real life. The cruelty, stupidity, dry humor and desperation he can present more with dialogue than descriptive explanation is impressive.
Garcia Whatever Marquez? That weird South American blending of fantasy and reality? Does nothing for me. I don't get it or the culture it came from and why that writing adds to it. Similarly, the movie, Like Water For Chocolate looks self-indulgent and not much else to me.
I had forgotten about The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - never manged to wade through those either. The huge fuss made over the movies was enough to get me to try watching the first Lord of the Rings, only to find it was just as tedious as the books
Lame and overrated. But they had their 15 minutes which was contemporary with Dungeons and Dragons.