Classic or Popular Books You Can't Stand


Books

51 to 91 of 91 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I have to second Catcher in the Rye. I didn't have to read it in school, so to me it was an unknown quantity. Having heard it mentioned so frequently as an important novel, I figured it must be good. Everybody is wrong sometime.

I've not read anything by Steinbeck that I liked either. He's far too caught up in describing minute details of each scene for me to get into his writing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I've heard it argued that Watchmen, while important for its time, really doesn't hold up anymore. I tend to agree.

I like Watchmen a great deal, and probably always will, but Squadron Supreme was a better overall deconstruction.

Hell, Moore's own earlier work on Marvelman/Miracleman was both gutsier and more effective.

League is typical latter-day Moore, and really... it has its moments, but jumps the shark in a hurry. I actually prefer the second volume to the first, but that should definitely have been the end of it.

More sacred hamburger:

The Scarlet Letter. It's sad, because Hawthorne's introduction manages to be funny, acerbic, and on-point. All things the subsequent plodding narrative generally fumbles.

Heart of Darkness. Joseph Conrad's very real (and understandable) outrage at what he saw during his brief time in Leopold's Congo causes him,like Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath, to crank out a rather turgid mound of prose.

Huckleberry Finn. Ugh.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Can't stand Name of the Wind. Had at least four different friends whose reading tastes and intelligence I like and respect praise it to high heavens as the most amazing new fantasy in forever, so I went into it expecting something pretty good...

...and got something that reads like someone wrote up a novel starring their first RPG character. Wish-fulfilment Mary Sue doesn't even come close. Not only that, the prose is fecking AWFUL (he spends three pages describing what a certain type of silence sounds like), and Kvothe is just... intensely unlikable in every metric I can think of. I cannot fathom why anybody enjoys his character.


Most classical American literature I loathe. Particularly Steinbeck and Hemingway. I can deal with Hawthorn (except the Scarlet Letter), as well as other Romantic/Dark Romantic writers. Why? Most of the time, it's slow, plodding, the characters are dull, and if it IS interesting, too short. Our teachers always told us about how these people were trying to capture their time in writing. No, you pompous windbags, they were trying to make a living writing-they wrote so they could eat. Doesn't mean it was GOOD, it just means they got published enough to feed themselves.

Modern writing: I too enjoyed Robert Jordan to start. Till the main party got split up and sent everywhere and new characters added, then more characters added, and new places, and...I had to reread each previous book when a new one came out to figure out what was going on.


thejeff wrote:

I actually like Harry Potter. But I tend to have a soft spot for children's/young adult literature and can enjoy it for what it is. It's far from great literature and I had my issues with it, but it was good, light fun.

I found the first two books were excellent for my kids for bed-time reading. (Luckily they were old enough to read the later, longer ones for themselves.) The things that make a book good for personal reading pleasure are quite different to those for bed-time reading (when, for instance, the last thing you want is a page turner or to keep them on the edge of their seat (or mattress or whatever).

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
dien wrote:

Can't stand Name of the Wind. Had at least four different friends whose reading tastes and intelligence I like and respect praise it to high heavens as the most amazing new fantasy in forever, so I went into it expecting something pretty good...

...and got something that reads like someone wrote up a novel starring their first RPG character. Wish-fulfilment Mary Sue doesn't even come close. Not only that, the prose is fecking AWFUL (he spends three pages describing what a certain type of silence sounds like), and Kvothe is just... intensely unlikable in every metric I can think of. I cannot fathom why anybody enjoys his character.

That silence bit is one page. One brilliant page. I adore it.

He writes elegant prose, a pleasure just to read many of his sentences.

Each to their own.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel rather left out, having read almost none of the books previously described. :(

That being said, I have a dispassionate loathing for the Shakespeare plays that I had to study in high school.

Stage direction format + obscure, overly flowery language that left a younger, dumber me mystified = resentment.

perhaps it should be noted that I think my taste in books is, to put it politely, unrefined


thejeff wrote:
I actually like Harry Potter. But I tend to have a soft spot for children's/young adult literature and can enjoy it for what it is. It's far from great literature and I had my issues with it, but it was good, light fun.

I read them all in a 12-day holiday binge about three years back. So, yeah, light fun is apt.

Cole Deschain wrote:
Anything and everything Harry Potter- The worldbuilding is almost terminally lazy, the characters are mostly cardboard cut-outs, and on,and on, and on... Many of my friends are huge fans. I try to forgive them.

The worldbuilding by JKR is not very "gamist", unlike Sanderson who does a good job in building a coherent theme.

Some of the characters are certainly caricatures (Professor Gilderoy Lockhart anyone?) but for YA literature I thought JKR set the bar fairly high.

Mind you, these books are not on my to-read-again-someday list.

hewhocaves wrote:
As for awfulness... Harry Potter probably still tops my list. As I explained to someone yesterday you can't agree with a book on a fundamental level when its main point is "hard work isn't important compared to raw talent".

Ah but Dumbledore was arguably the most talented and also the greatest failure.

Harry wasn't so much talented as marked (or chosen) and he was nothing without Hermione* - who would have added up to not much were it not for her unwavering studious nature (i.e. hard work).

* Don't ask me why Ron was critical to that trio. He surely mattered a great deal in many particular instances throughout the books but, so far as I could tell, he could have been anyone. A cog in the plot machine IMNSHO.

Goddity wrote:

Harry Potter. Name one thing Harry did himself that he wasn't manipulated into doing. Why did they keep him around if all he was going to do was argue, get into relationship problems, and rebel? He might have been necessary to stop Voldemort but they should've stopped heralding him as the saviour.

Divergent. If I read dystopian books, I want an exploration of dystopia. Not a whiney teenage girl having relationship problems for the entire book. And she only preventing bad stuff through being 'special'.

The Hunger Games. Similar to Divergent. Except with more violence.

Harry was important precisely because he was "chosen" (though unintentionally chosen) by Voldemort. The two things that are most important about Harry are the working out of a mother's love and his personal courage.

I overheard two adults at school last week talking about the passing of Alan Rickman. Only the first guy couldn't remember his name and said, "You know, the bad guy from Harry Potter". LOL x'D The most important character in the series was Snape and he was hardly, you know, "the bad guy".

ASP "Dad. What if I am put in Slytherin?"

HJP "Albus Severus Potter. You are named after two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was <pause> the bravest man I've ever known."

As for Divergent. No argument from me. I might be convinced that it was better than Twilight but I haven't read Twilight (or seen the movie).

The Hunger Games. The best of the "Classic or Popular Books You Can't Stand" listed here. The writing was clever because, though the narrator is totally honest in her presentation, Katniss is in no way omnipotent. You have to, and are supposed to, read between the lines to get the whole story. I think. I liked it.

Orthos wrote:
Tolkien and GRR Martin.

Yeah I thought Tolkien was maybe a little "too wordy" until I picked up Martin. I like Tolkien though overall. If I want to read stories like GoT I can just read the news or an explicit history book, so meh.

GeraintElberion wrote:
He {Patrick Rothfuss - author of The Name of the Wind} writes elegant prose, a pleasure just to read many of his sentences.

But a story is more than just elegant prose.

I must admit that I generally read book reviews before starting a read and so don't have anything new to add to the list relating to the OP.

Case in point, the top two 1-star reviews over at Amazon completely turn me off of this book. I don't have a lot of time for reading and a book this long had better be good, really good, to make it worth my while.

If the 1-star reviews are to be believed at all, the character of Kvothe (however wonderfully written) is not someone I can identify with. Maybe Martin can write him into GoT and have him die a horrible and meaningless death and I would be interested. joking :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ah Harry Potter: I read the first book because it was practically shoved down my throat in college by a friend. I don't think the first book is bad, but based on it and the movies, I don't know why anyone past Middle School would read them. It's not remotely written for adults, and it boggles my mind how many people I know obsessed over the books who were around my age.

Also...no one brought up Dean Koontz yet. I read a few books of his in high school, and he manages to be the most unsubtle horror author I have ever read, with very little originality at every level of writing that is important.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:


Then you have things like "Catcher in the Rye" or "Elminster in Hell"
Catcher is straight out awful. There is no redeeming feature of the book to make focus on instead of Holden. The writing is uninspired and bland, there is no plot and no other characters worth mentioning. I don't want to read about Holden, I get enough of whiny, pathetic little brats in real life to feel like I want to read about them too.

^All of this.

HyperMissingno wrote:


Dear gods Romeo and Juliet is terrible. Everyone in that book/play dumped wis and int down to the ground and every conflict is a result of them being stupid.

But at least it had Mercutio going for it.

It was all downhill after he exited.

MMCJawa wrote:
Ah Harry Potter: I read the first book because it was practically shoved down my throat in college by a friend. I don't think the first book is bad, but based on it and the movies, I don't know why anyone past Middle School would read them. It's not remotely written for adults, and it boggles my mind how many people I know obsessed over the books who were around my age.

Of course it wasn't written for adults. It's a YA series.

Basically the whole point of it was you're meant to start reading it at 12, and end up reading it as an adult. The books get progressively more mature as they go on as a result.

Re-reading Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets as an adult, they don't hold up. Prisoner of Azkaban is a bit better, but still eh-ish.

Goblet of Fire on is still good reading though.


MMCJawa wrote:

Ah Harry Potter: I read the first book because it was practically shoved down my throat in college by a friend. I don't think the first book is bad, but based on it and the movies, I don't know why anyone past Middle School would read them. It's not remotely written for adults, and it boggles my mind how many people I know obsessed over the books who were around my age.

Also...no one brought up Dean Koontz yet. I read a few books of his in high school, and he manages to be the most unsubtle horror author I have ever read, with very little originality at every level of writing that is important.

As Sundakan said, HP wasn't written for adults. I've got a fondness for reading, so I enjoyed it despite that. They do get more mature as you go on, which I'm sure worked well when they were coming out. I'm somewhat curious how they'd with kids who fall in love with the first one now and could read them all quickly.

I do think she didn't quite stick the ending, partly I suspect because she'd raised her standards as a writer during the course of the series, but still wrapped it up the way she'd originally intended.

As for Koontz, a friend of my with somewhat suspect taste was a big fan. I'm not into horror so I never really gave him a try.


I think Harry Potter hits a good stride at the end of the fourth book and onwards. The last book actually deconstructs a lot of the s#*#ty morals and implications of previous books, too.

But this thread isn't about books we like.

Wildwood is a newer book I did not like very much. I hope Laika's adaptation makes the boy character actually interesting and likable. I couldn't stand him.


Romeo and Juliette works a lot better when you realize it's a semi-comedy.
Teenage morons getting worked up over details and doing a bunch of stupid stuff, and you're supposed to look at it and wince and think "thank goodness I grew out of that mentality"

Sovereign Court

The Talisman- I've tried to get through this a couple of times but just can't. People tell me it's amazing. I... disagree.

Bag of Bones- This is the only book I have read wherein I got so angry I threw the book across the room. Prolly not considered a good book but I still hate it.

Not a huge fan of Piers Anthony

Wheel of Time just dragged for me. I got through book 7 but got so bored I just stopped. I do intend to try this one again.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

Tell that to all the English teachers who do an entire semester analyzing one of them...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

A local outfit did a version of King Lear... a little over half in Gwich'in.

It was great. And perfectly illustrates your point- these texts were meant to be performed.

More books fated to an eternity of cobwebby obscurity if I'm anything to go by:

A decent chunk of Stephen King's output. He has several books I enjoy a great deal- 'Salem's Lot, The Stand, Carrie, his first three or four short story collections... but the more he publishes, the more the same old junk keeps obviously and irritatingly popping up. Of course, there's also stuff he wrote reasonably early in his career that still just kinda stinks. As my username should indicate, his Dark Tower series and I have a bit of a history- but where the first book is rock-solid in its prose-poem weirdness, the series as a whole almost charts a bell curve. And while I enjoy most of the sections of IT set in the 1950s and the historical sections used as interludes, the 1980 sections feel slapped on and pointless. That, and I never found it as viscerally scary as so many of my peers. Hated the TV miniseries.

Empire of the Summer Moon. This one was all over the popular history front... and I can't stand it. The story of Quanah Parker and the Comanche (which is fascinating) is buried beneath a bunch of Texas chest-thumping and ethnographically illiterate scribblings.

EDIT: Oh! Geeze, this is one I dislike so much it slips my mind, but it occurs to me that this board might actually contain people who know what I'm talking about...

Legend, by David Gemmel. Druss is fine. The Sathuli are fine. But the narrative is a shoddy slapped together tropeheap devoutly and passionately focused on the least interesting characters and story elements. And Rek, introduced as a shiftless layabout bumming a bar tab, turns out to be phenomenally skilled fighting man. Because of course he is. My buddy who suggested it keeps telling me there are other, better books in the series, but this one just... feh.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

Go watch a play.

It's not supposed to be a movie either.

That said, I've read and liked plenty of Shakespeare.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Romeo and Juliette works a lot better when you realize it's a semi-comedy.

Teenage morons getting worked up over details and doing a bunch of stupid stuff, and you're supposed to look at it and wince and think "thank goodness I grew out of that mentality"

I always got the sense it was sort of a, "This is what happens when you quash your kids under really stupid and bloody feuds." In a normal upbringing, Romeo and Juliet would have done standard teen things like go out and break up and whatever else they needed to do. Instead, because their options were so limited, they panicked and started making stupid and dangerous decisions. The s&*~ really hits the fan when two other kids died and suddenly Romeo is wanted for murder, putting them in a very desperate situation.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Romeo and Juliette works a lot better when you realize it's a semi-comedy.

Teenage morons getting worked up over details and doing a bunch of stupid stuff, and you're supposed to look at it and wince and think "thank goodness I grew out of that mentality"
I always got the sense it was sort of a, "This is what happens when you quash your kids under really stupid and bloody feuds." In a normal upbringing, Romeo and Juliet would have done standard teen things like go out and break up and whatever else they needed to do. Instead, because their options were so limited, they panicked and started making stupid and dangerous decisions. The s~#+ really hits the fan when two other kids died and suddenly Romeo is wanted for murder, putting them in a very desperate situation.

There's also a big dose of "Love is bad. Makes you do stupid dangerous things. Stick with the arranged marriage."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Atlas Shrugged. I flogged myself into reading over a weekend, because a Libertarian friend said it would help me understand the Libertarian philosophy.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Atlas Shrugged. I flogged myself into reading over a weekend, because a Libertarian friend said it would help me understand the Libertarian philosophy.

I'm impressed you managed that over a weekend.

"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force." -- attributed to Dorothy Parker


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Atlas Shrugged. I flogged myself into reading over a weekend, because a Libertarian friend said it would help me understand the Libertarian philosophy.

At least your friend was correct, it does help one understand Libertarian philosophy, much to the detriment of Libertarianism.


I enjoy many books... but The Catcher in the Rye was one of the few I genuinely didn't like. XD Of Mice and Men was low, too.

...

Most books I had to read in school were pretty droll, really. XD There were a few I liked, at least, but... yeesh.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rednal wrote:

I enjoy many books... but The Catcher in the Rye was one of the few I genuinely didn't like. XD Of Mice and Men was low, too.

...

Most books I had to read in school were pretty droll, really. XD There were a few I liked, at least, but... yeesh.

If you have to study it for school, then all the fun gets taken out of it. :(


There was nothing fun about either book. XD I've always been an avid reader, so even if it was for class, I would've enjoyed reading them. Those two were just... bleh.

A lot of stuff in school ultimately boiled down to The Human Condition™, which was basically "Life sucks, so get used to being depressed and failing". XD;

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

Go watch a play.

It's not supposed to be a movie either.

That said, I've read and liked plenty of Shakespeare.

Potato, potatoe.

You honestly think there's a meaningful difference there?

Or that, popular hack that he was, Billy Shakespeare would be writing plays instead of moviesending or TV?

Sure, there are bad movie versions, but there are some wretched stage productions too.


Sundakan wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Ah Harry Potter: I read the first book because it was practically shoved down my throat in college by a friend. I don't think the first book is bad, but based on it and the movies, I don't know why anyone past Middle School would read them. It's not remotely written for adults, and it boggles my mind how many people I know obsessed over the books who were around my age.

Of course it wasn't written for adults. It's a YA series.

Basically the whole point of it was you're meant to start reading it at 12, and end up reading it as an adult. The books get progressively more mature as they go on as a result.

Re-reading Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets as an adult, they don't hold up. Prisoner of Azkaban is a bit better, but still eh-ish.

Goblet of Fire on is still good reading though.

This. I wasn't impressed by the first two Harry Potter books. I thought "These are just kids' books." The ending of the third book was interesting though, and the fourth book got me hooked on the series. That fourth book made me realize how cool the Potterverse was, to the extent that I had to re-read those first four books with my newfound appreciation.

And don't judge a book by its movie. I thought the fourth HP movie did such a horrible job adapting the book that I never saw any of the HP movies after that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'll break this up by time period:

Classic books I can't stand:

The Iliad--I loved the Odyssey, and I liked some sections of the Iliad, but overall it underwhelms me.

Euripides' Alcestis--I am a fan of Euripides' work and enjoyed all of his extant plays to varying degrees, except this one. Yes, okay, we get it, everyone is obsessively adoring of Alcestis, but did you really need to spend 3/4 of the play on nigh-identical soliloquies bemoaning her death? It's somehow even less interesting than actual funeral eulogies.

Medieval books I can't stand:
The Prose Edda--It does not come anywhere near the level of its Poetic predecessor. It feels in that sense like a typical Hollywood sequel. Sturluson also tried way too hard to pound Christian ideas into the source material.

New Age MMO-inspired Hitler-y anime Books Written after 1500 that I can't stand.
I've been told that anything written in modern times is the result of mindless MMO players corrupting modern culture. Then again, I heard it on a website that isn't known as credible source. Turns out not everything on the internet is reliable:D Anyhow, on with the list of popular post-1500 works I don't like:
Romeo and Juliet -- It's Pyramus and Thisbe with a ton of dull padding. I'll grant that you could make similar claims about some other Shakespeare plays. For example, Hamlet is really just The Libation Bearers but five times the length. However, what takes up the extra space in Hamlet are additional subplots and characters from varied sources and of the Bard's creation, and IMO they are actually interesting and don't' just seem like padding. With Romeo and Juliet, on the other hand, everything is playing second fiddle to what is ultimately a really short and simple myth that Ovid told better without all the filler.

Bram Stoker's Dracula--The style and language puts me to sleep. I'm also not fond of the ways in which he ignored so much of the previous literature and myths on vampires.
Though, I suppose in the grand scheme of all modern fantasy dealing with vampires, Dracula is far from the worst.

Baum's sequels to Oz: The first book is, in my opinion, a strong example of early 20th century children's fantasy. But I think Baum lost steam some time before he got through his third book. The complete lack of internal consistency also bugs me, and even bugged me as a child.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Much like with Dracula, the style and dialogue puts me to sleep. This one bothered me far more than Stoker did, and I was unable to even finish the book, let alone start Two Towers.
I've heard fans of the books complain that the movies don't properly capture the tone of the books. As someone who hated the tone of the book (the part I read, anyhow), you might think I'd be more inclined towards the movie, but I wasn't. I was at least able to sit through the entire thing, but I had no desire to see the next five movies Peter Jackson made.
Also, I get really annoyed at how often its most devotedly religious fans hold it up as the be-all-and-end-all of modern literature. Or, worse, when Fellowship and its sequels are alleged to be the pinnacle of "traditional fantasy", in spite of the facts that they are
a)Not traditional in any sense of the word, and
b)While LotR is many things, it is not a comprehensive representation of the thousands of years of literature that proceeded it.

The Lord of the Flies--of the novels I had to read in high school, I think this one was my least favorite.

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting in all its iterations. I haven't read any of the novels, so my opinion of FR is based solely on the campaign world sourcebooks.

HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban--I loved all of the Harry Potter books except this one. I don't know why it didn't do anything for me when I first read it. I'll admit it's grown on me over time, but it's still my least favorite in the series by a considerable margin.
And while I did enjoy all of the other books in the series, I did not like any of the Harry Potter movies, with the exception of the first one.


Krensky wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

Go watch a play.

It's not supposed to be a movie either.

That said, I've read and liked plenty of Shakespeare.

Potato, potatoe.

You honestly think there's a meaningful difference there?

Or that, popular hack that he was, Billy Shakespeare would be writing plays instead of moviesending or TV?

Sure, there are bad movie versions, but there are some wretched stage productions too.

It's not a matter of plays being less "sellout", it's a matter of them being different mediums. Yes, it is a different art form. Just like animated movies versus live-action movies. That's why Les Miserables worked so much better as a huge stage production than as a Hollywood blockbuster. It's why these live-action Disney adaptations of their animated films are so..."mediocre-at-best".

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cole Deschain wrote:
Legend, by David Gemmel. Druss is fine. The Sathuli are fine. But the narrative is a shoddy slapped together tropeheap devoutly and passionately focused on the least interesting characters and story elements. And Rek, introduced as a shiftless layabout bumming a bar tab, turns out to be phenomenally...

Legend isn't all that great. Quite a lot of early Gemmel isn't all that great, as it happens, where the plots are all identical, the action sequences all feel the same, and the characters all very similar. Reading one of his book was a bit like bad sex - you carried on to the end, since they are fairly readable, and then wondered why you bothered starting.

Someone at work lent me his book Dark Moon and I put off reading it for ages. But the guy was going back to Australia so I read it so could give it back to him, and funnily enough I really enjoyed it. And his subsequent stuff carried on being good, and I began reading Gemmel again. So, while he retained his essential style, his ability to build character and plot had improved infinitely. So you might choose some of his later stuff, like the Trojan trilogy.

(Apparently his wife, Stella, was quite heavily involved in some of the books, and she finished off his last one posthumously. She has a book of her own, The City, which is in the mould of late Gemmel. I wonder if his books started getting good when she started adding her input.)

Dark Archive

137ben wrote:

The Iliad--I loved the Odyssey, and I liked some sections of the Iliad, but overall it underwhelms me.

I think The Iliad suffers by being not a tiny bit as gonzo and awesome as The Odyssey. It was like reading the Silmarillion after reading Lord of the Rings. (That said, I liked both the Iliad and the Silmarillion, but I was a weird kid.)

And then there's The Aeniad. Ye gods and little fishes, that was deadly dull...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragoncat wrote:
Krensky wrote:

I always find it funny when people say they can't read Shakespeare.

Duh.

It's a play. It's not supposed to be read.

Go watch the movie.

Tell that to all the English teachers who do an entire semester analyzing one of them...

My class started by having a proper outloud read through. It needs to be spoken.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I liked table-reading Shakespeare when I was in college. I felt I learned the most with that combination of hands-on acting and reading, with background reading/research sloughing off of it as needed. I also really liked Shakespeare in high school, but I was reading him on my own as well at the time so I didn't have much trouble with his language. After the weak-sauce of "Romeo and Juliet" I got to study "Henry IV" - & my English elective teacher looked like Falstaff!

They had an article on the recent DVD release of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Los Angeles Times today. It works as a film, apparently because Tom Stoppard directed it. But it is also post-Walter Benjamin's "Task of the Translator", an Absurdist play working on different levels. Which is kind of why I like Julie Taymor's film "Titus" and her adaptation of "The Lion King" as a play. Things don't always have to resemble themselves. Plays can be films, if the difference of the medium is respected. Kurosawa's "Ran" is a great movie! & I own a comic-book version of the Iliad!

However, my favorite "Hamlet" movie is the scene in Last Action Hero, with Arnold. ; P

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Popular hack writes terrible verse...

ROMEO

[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

ROMEO

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

ROMEO

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

JULIET

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

ROMEO

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

JULIET

You kiss by the book.

---


Not a book, but an author: Charles Dickens.

Perhaps if he lived in a different era, but his "paid by the word" style really stands out sometimes. Like you come to a passage where he's clearly padding his word count and it just completely takes me out of the book. I just start seeing

"$$$$ $$ $$$$$ $$$ $$$$$$," said $$$$$ to the $$$$$$$.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I've heard it argued that Watchmen, while important for its time, really doesn't hold up anymore. I tend to agree.

I would agree somewhat with this. The execution of the book is above average, but not genre defining. It's important only because of the concepts it contained and it helped introduce them into comic books.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Well, if we're sticking with the fantasy/sci-fi genre...

I've tried several times, but was never able to get into Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. (My wife is a huge fan.) While I like the premise (i.e the tales of King Arthur from the point-of-view of the women in the stories), I guess I'm too much of a traditionalist when it comes to Arthurian tales. Of course, I wasn't able to get through The Once and Future King by T.H. White either.

While I did very enjoy Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, it was very much a hippy-dippy period piece from the 1960s, and large parts don't really hold up today. For that matter, I really haven't liked any other Heinlein novel I've read (including The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Time Enough for Love, Starship Troopers, and Number of the Beast) They've been interesting enough to finish, but I have no need to ever read another Heinlein novel.

Several of my friends strongly recommended to me The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. I did get through the first novel of that trilogy. While I thought the imagery was gorgeous, the plot and characters seemed completely derivative of every other fantasy novel I'd ever read. I got bored about a quarter of the way through the second novel and never picked it up again.

While I am a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke, I did not enjoy Childhood's End. I just thought the book was a huge downer, and it really bummed me out for a while.

I tried to read Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard before I realized he was the same guy that founded Scientology. (It turned out that the friend who recommended it was a Scientologist.) That book was just awful, and I gave up about four chapters in.


Someone else who didn't like Childhood's End? Oh, I actually preferred Heinlein's juveniles to his more adult works.
And I did read a bit of Battlefield Earth. Definitely junk, but I've tried to read worse.

Liberty's Edge

GeraintElberion wrote:
Popular hack writes terrible verse...

Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I've heard it argued that Watchmen, while important for its time, really doesn't hold up anymore. I tend to agree.
I would agree somewhat with this. The execution of the book is above average, but not genre defining. It's important only because of the concepts it contained and it helped introduce them into comic books.

It is often referenced or used for various plot points though. Much of the Bruce Wanye: Murderer? story when Bruce was in prison was a bad lifting of when Rorschach was in prison, as just one example.


GeraintElberion wrote:

Popular hack writes terrible verse...

ROMEO

[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

ROMEO

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

ROMEO

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

JULIET

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

ROMEO

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

JULIET

You kiss by the book.

---

Too much "Get thee to a nunnery!"

Not enough "Or did you think I spoke of country matters?"

/bardstyle

51 to 91 of 91 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Entertainment / Books / Classic or Popular Books You Can't Stand All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Books