Those of you who know me know that I love literature, especially the classics. I have a growing collection of classics that I am quite proud of. I walk through bookstores not looking for the latest from Sarah Dessen or Jodi Picoult or Stephen King. No, I’m looking for the $2 copy of Little Women. I get squealy when I see a torn, doodled-upon edition of Wuthering Heights.
I’ve read a lot of classics. That said, there’s a few that were too much for me. I can’t lie: A lot of the great masterpieces of influential authors are just, well, boring. I’m sure everyone has their own list. Here’s mine:
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This may surprise many, because it is often required reading in elementary or junior high school. Somehow, I managed to escape it being assigned. Since so many people told me how great it was and how they loved it so much, I decided when I was a junior in high school that I was going to read it. I didn’t want to be missing out. So I started it, but pretty soon I put it down again. What the heck were you people talking about?? I was bored out of my mind.
2. Sense and Sensibility. Again, this may be surprising. But let it be known that I have always been a Bronte fan, and until the end of high school I was thoroughly unimpressed with Miss Austen. It took me years to get through P&P the first time. Now it’s one of my favorites, along with Emma, and I have come to understand why Miss Austen is so admired. I even admire her now myself. So this is one that I would like to try again.
3. Don Quixote. Crazy guy riding around on a dumpy old horse. ??
4. Great Expectations. I have actually tried to read this all the way through several times. I really really really want to! It’s sitting on my shelf right now staring at me. The characters are interesting, the plot is interesting. It’s just so…. long. The last time I tried reading it was Christmas break of my junior year of college. I didn’t finish it before school started again, and by then I was too busy. Sigh. I’m sorry, Charles!
5. Anna Karenina. This was one of those books that I got from the library, read about two paragraphs, and said, “No way. This is not happening.” I was just not ready for Mr. Tolstoy. Since then I’ve read The Brothers Karamazov. Maybe now that I’ve read one Russian author, I can try to read another. (Or maybe not…)
6. Vanity Fair. I wanted to read this because, as a Bronte fan, I know that Charlotte Bronte admired Mr. Thackaray. She even dedicated the first version of Jane Eyre to him. So I thought he must be worth reading. And he probably is. But I think Charlotte Bronte was much smarter than I am.
7. The Phantom of the Opera. I thought this would have to be good! It’s a great play and a great movie! But as soon as the plot started to deviate from that of the play, I felt cheated. (Of course, this is entirely unreasonable because it was the play that deviated from the book’s plot. However, that is how I felt.) I’ll take the play/movie, thank you. Less gruesome. Happy ending.
8. The Count of Monte Cristo. Again, I really want to finish this one. It was just taking so long! I need to try again.
So that’s my list (as far as I can think of right now). I definitely have my limits. Have you ever felt the same way about any books?