Several weeks ago, I asked for suggestions on classic books that I hadn’t read. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions. (I ended up starting The Picture of Dorian Gray because it was shorter than the rest. Bad reason, but with everything going on I though short was better.)
In the midst of the comments, we started discussing what determines a classic, what makes a book a part of the canon of great literature. And, of course, we don’t always like “the classics.” So this is my question for you all today. What classics have you read that you haven’t enjoyed? And why?
Here are mine.
1. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. (My least favorite book ever—I hate pronouns without referents.)
2. The Aeneid by Virgil (It seemed like a total rip-off of Homer’s Illiad)
3. Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. (I’m pretty sure I read this in high school, but I don’t remember anything about the plot. All I remember is wanting to poke my eyes out.)
4. La Modification by Michel Butor. (I had to read this French modernist book in French. I had no idea if I understood the story. So I found an English translation and read them side by side. I still couldn’t figure out the story. The only thing I know is that some woman rode a train a lot.)
5. The poetry of a famous poet who shall not be named, lest you be tempted to look him up. (Why do I hate his work? Because he was a professor of mine and a wretched individual, who never seemed content unless someone was crying in class. His favorite technique was Xeroxing people’s papers, passing them out, and saying that it was the worst tripe he’d ever read—tenure protected him. He was an equal opportunity villain and did everyone’s paper, though he seemed to target sorority girls more than anyone else. Of course, it never seemed to occur to him that not everyone’s paper could be the worse thing he’d ever read. But logical fallacies weren’t strong suit. Being heinous was.
BTW, my mom’s showing signs of improvement. If all goes well, she may be home by the weekend.