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#706237 - 08/09/11 06:37 AM The most boring classic novel?
Lane LitFic Offline
Amoeba

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 57
What is the most boring classic novel of all time?

Isn't that an intriguing question? It was on a 1950 Columbia University Press survey, according to columnist Jennifer Schuessler of the New York Times Book Review ("Inside the List," July 31). The top five answers? Quite a few allegories:

Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan (1678)
Moby Dick - Herman Melville (1851)
Paradise Lost - John Milton (1667)
The Faerie Queene - Edmund Spenser (1590)
The Life of Samuel Johnson - James Boswell (1791)

Possibly it's the didactic nature of allegories that ruins a good story. The survey was directed at teachers, librarians and booksellers - and they should know what they're talking about.

But what book would you choose? Send in your selection, and I'll compile a top five of our own for next week's newsletter.


Edited by Lane LitFic (08/13/11 01:33 PM)
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#706442 - 08/09/11 08:14 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Lane LitFic]
FrankJBN Offline
Gecko

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 403
One hears this about "Moby Dick" all the time.

When I first picked up this book in my late teens, I couldn't put it down, read right through it in a couple of days. I thought it was an exciting novel of adventure and the sea.

I seldom finish boring books - hey, they're boring, I don't care how they come out. That makes it hard for me to nominate a contender. I didn't finish "War and Peace". Maybe that's a boring book.

I did finish Dickens' "Bleak House", but I seem to recall that got a bit 'old' by the last few hundred pages. (Though I recall finding it interesting at the start (and after all, it is Dickens).

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#706443 - 08/09/11 08:19 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: FrankJBN]
Horror_Movies_Editor Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 1130
Loc: U.K
I personally think that 'The Lord Of the Rings' is completley boring. I couldn't even finish it.

'A Midsummer nights dream' I found really boring, plus I couldn't keep up with all the characters LOL.

And although this isn't a classic - I have a feeling that 'Twilight' may be a classic in the future - though I found that very dull. Perhaps not the most boring book ever though.
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#706456 - 08/09/11 09:00 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Horror_Movies_Editor]
FrankJBN Offline
Gecko

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 403
You remind me that I just could not get interested in "The Silmarillion" by Tolkien. read a few dozen pages.

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#706640 - 08/10/11 07:15 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: FrankJBN]
Lane LitFic Offline
Amoeba

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 57
I haven't read that particular Tolstoy or Dickens but have no plans to do so, as they do sound boring to me. I'm afraid I'm like that about sagas; my preference is for short and sweet.

As for Moby Dick, I've actually been "assigned" to read it � the unabridged version at that! And I'm way past the stage when an adventure on the high seas sounds exciting. But if you know of a good audio version, I'll quit stalling and put it on my real to-read list.

My version of a good audiobook is Kenneth Branagh reading Heart of Darkness � I could listen to him for days.
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#706653 - 08/10/11 07:35 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Horror_Movies_Editor]
Lane LitFic Offline
Amoeba

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 57
The Lord of the Rings � agreed! I finished all three volumes but was racing like Shadowfax through the last one, pretending I was actually reading the words.

A Midsummer Night's Dream � couldn't disagree with you more, but Shakespeare is not for reading in your head anyway. I've seen some fantastic productions, and I even like parts of the most recent movie version (Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Kline, Christian Bale, etc.). Maybe if you get some friends together and take on roles? smile

Twilight � a future classic? I haven't read it, but if you found it dull, I'm curious why you predict greatness for it.
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#706654 - 08/10/11 07:40 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Lane LitFic]
Debra // Dogs Editor Offline
Shark

Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Lancaster, New York
Wow, there are SO many! I remember being endlessly bored in high school English class, then discovering classics on my own like Ivanhoe, Gulliver's Travels and The Once and Future King that made me realize classics don't have to be boring.

I remember not even making it through the Cliff's Notes of Ethan Frome. Silas Marner. The Old Man and the Sea. Anything by Hemingway, Austen or a Bronte.

There weren't even enough zombies in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for me to get through it.
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#706656 - 08/10/11 07:42 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Lane LitFic]
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 2185
Loc: United Kingdom
I liked Moby Dick.

But I couldn't read The Silmarillion, though I had read The Hobbit and the Rings trilogy.

Found Tolstoy hard going - War & Peace, Anna Karenina, but worthwhile.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play, not a novel, so no one should have to read it, except actors! Watch it performed by a good company and it's quite different. I can't read Shakespeare, but I've seen some performances that were engrossing, exciting and deeply moving. (Romeo and Juliet isn't one of them, as I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company do that and I still don't like it.)
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#706663 - 08/10/11 08:11 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Horror_Movies_Editor Offline
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Parakeet

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 1130
Loc: U.K
I like ANY movie with Michelle Pfeiffer in - it's one of only a few of her films I haven't watched or don't own - so I might check out A Midsummer Nights Dream, simply to see Michelle smile The book wasn't that bad I guess, though I read it years ago.


I predict 'Twilight' will be a classic, because it sort of already is. It's shoved down our throats by the media. And people are always curious about something when it's so successful. Though I'm against anyone buying that writers work because she donates 10% of all sales to anti gay, hate groups. I've been told that by a lot of people anyway.
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#706666 - 08/10/11 08:26 PM Re: The most boring classic novel? [Re: Horror_Movies_Editor]
FrankJBN Offline
Gecko

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 403
I have not read or seen any of the "Twilight" stories.

I read them described as being "young-adult" novels of high school romance and that they have won such awards as "Kids Choice" for best book..

I fear neither the category nor the award bodes well for future recognition as a literary classic.

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