Originally Posted by Powerslave
I've heard that from a lot of people in regards to Moby Dick. Lots of people I know started it and never finished it, or suffered through it. I completely understand it. I mean, it's hardly a pageturner. The enormous runs of encyclopedic rambling about every aspect of whales, whaling, whaling history, whaling biology, the whaling industry, whaling ships and the various parts of whaling ships, and on and on and on, of course that will bore a lot of people. Personally, I dug it, I found it interesting, as I have an interest in whales which I partially why I bothered with the book in the first place and stuck with it 'til the end, but I still understand how boring that would be for lots of (most?) people. The rambling nature of the narrative I would think also contributes to that, but I dug that too - it gave the impression of Ishmael as this sort of distracted guy, fascinated with everything and prone to tangents, and his presence as the narrator is also interesting to me, since he just sort of disappears from the scene completely for long periods of time, despite ostensibly being the guy telling the story. And so on, I could keep rambling about this book for a long time, but I'll refrain for everyone's sake. But yeah, though I loved it, I certainly understand hating it too.
Also worth mentioning: I started Moby Dick last summer, and read like 350 pages of it, then over the school year read off and on while reading several other books, then just finally finished it now, almost a year later. I'm sure spacing it out like that helped. The book is just too damn tiring.
Ah, that's too bad that you didn't like Dunces. Though I could see someone not liking that too, though for different reasons. Was it the main character? One of my good friends hated/didn't finish it just because he couldn't stand Ignatius. I can get that, though I personally think he's a great character.
Out of those three, I've actually only read the Scarlet Letter, in sophomore year of high school. I didn't like it. I didn't hate it, I liked certain things about it, but I think it's just ill-suited for 10th graders. For that matter, I don't think I've ever actually met anyone that liked the Scarlet Letter. It's one these books that everyone's made to read in high school, while simultaneously being a book that your average high school student just isn't gonna like. At least from my experience. I've never understood why they insist on assigning it. I mean, I can appreciate it, and I think if I read it again now, I'm sure I would get something more out of it. It would take a lot of willpower to get myself to do that, but I think if I ever did I'd like it more than I did the first time around.
It's funny though, since Melville admired Hawthorne and the Scarlet Letter more than anything else, and dedicated Moby Dick to Hawthorne. Funny stuff.
Brave New World I've never gotten around to reading because I already read 1984 and it just feels like reading the former'd feel redundant. So I just haven't yet bothered. I'd certainly like to someday though.
Stranger in a Strange Land is one I've always wanted to read. I read Starship Troopers a while back and liked that a lot, and Stranger seems to get lots of praise, always being touted as such a classic, so I've always been curious, but nah, never have.