People Critique The Literary Classics They Think Are Actually Poorly Written
Here's a confession: Try as I might, I just can't get into J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
It's a book that just didn't work for me, and I've read it at least three times, at different points of my life, to see if it would click.
Part of the issue is that I don't particularly think the book is all that well written.
I could say the same about Salinger's Franny and Zooey, which appears to be well regarded even by people who didn't care for Catcher.
I know what you're thinking: Who is this Philistine?!
But guess what? I'm not the only person out there with a thing against a literary classic or two.
For that, you can thank Redditor Girafarigno, who asked the online community,
"What novel that is considered a classic is not actually a well-written book?"
"While I enjoyed some of his books..."
"While I enjoyed some of his books, I have a feeling that if you were to completely erase all of Ernest Hemingway's novels from public existence, had everyone pretend they never happened, and had someone else basically publish those exact books under a different name with the same writing style and everything, most people, including book editors and literary experts, would think that person was a bad writer."
You know, at the time I read it, I truly felt like the only person who actually liked The Sun Also Rises. While I have revisited and enjoyed Hemingway significantly, few books have touched me the way that one did.
"It's a great exercise in technique..."
"Ulysses, James Joyce."
"It's a great exercise in technique, but it's f****** damn near unreadable."
This is an incredibly difficult book. Is it really so much a book as much as it is an opportunity for Joyce to flex his muscles?
"The talent is there..."
"Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon. The talent is there, it's just lazy and incoherent masquerading as something on the order of Ulysses, which is boring as hell but a masterpiece for good reason given its incredible depth and tightness."
I've tried and I've tried to get into Pynchon and I just can't. I still have a headache from The Crying of Lot 49.
"I understand that (the first book at least) is cobbled together from magazine prints, but still, it's a jarring read where it still feels unfinished, so much so that I didn't bother with the books after the first one."
"I understand they get a lot better, but still..."
You're just saying that because the movie is out!
Nah, it's okay. It's not for everyone. Took me a while to get through it and I actually ended up loving it.
"It's a lot of very disconnected episodic chapters..."
"Moll Flanders, which is only really a classic in the sense that it's very important to the development of the novel as one of the earliest examples of the form."
"It's a lot of very disconnected episodic chapters, and the author doesn't really keep track of some pretty important details, including the names of most of her children."
"I never fully finished it."
Now here's a book I almost completely forgot about.
The bookstore I once worked at had several copies on hand and I don't think I ever saw anyone pick a single one of them up.
"Twain hated Cooper's writing, too."
"The Deerslayer, by James Fennimore Cooper, which is very long and waffly, and for what's meant to be fairly action-oriented it conveys it quite poorly."
"Twain hated Cooper's writing too, so I'm not alone in finding it tedious.
"Despite that, it was pretty interesting to think about, even though the novel itself was pretty bad."
"I was one of those..."
"I was one of those straight-A students in high school who always did all the homework on time. That being said, the one book I did NOT finish was Wuthering Heights."
You mean you're not a fan of the toxic relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine?
I am, believe it or not. That book was quite the ride, and I think many people read it expecting something totally different.
"Even my teacher..."
"The Pearl. Even my teacher said it was one of the few John Steinbeck works she couldn't stand. The book is tiny and as an avid book lover should've taken me like an hour or two to read."
"It took me the entire summer. I had to force a page at a time. It was awful."
"Decades later and it's still the worst book I've ever read. And I tend to love most classics."
"I'm five volumes in..."
"Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson. It's wayyyyy too long, poorly edited, loathsome characters... I'm five volumes in and at this point hate reading it till the end."
There was no reason for Clarissa to be so long. I took one look and noped out of there so fast.
"I just think..."
"Heart of Darkness. I just think it is so incredibly boring. I had to read it for three separate classes and I really tried to like it each time, but I just can't stand that book."
Moral of the story here: You just won't like everything. I still can't abide Charles Dickens, for instance, who was paid by the word (and it shows).
But there's plenty out there that feels made for you: I can read Dracula over and over and never get tired of it.
To each their own.
Want to vent about some books that aren't mentioned here? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again.
Sometimes everyone needs to hush up.
Wouldn't that be nice?
If people could catch onto social queues and actually engage in conversation with another human, maybe then we'd be able to triumph at the basic art of communication.
But humans seem to be failing in this department.
So who among us hasn't been trapped in a nonsensical splattering of words we'd give limbs to escape from?
Redditor Isingsongstomycats wanted to hear about what can completely make us regret speaking to another person, so they asked:
"What instantly ruins a conversation for you?"
I'm ornery. Anything and everything can turn me off.
Blockedhoney boo boo phone GIF by RealityTVGIFsGiphy
"Getting their phone out for no reason mid conversation."
"Sometimes I want to look up something pertinent to the conversation but I don't want to interrupt them to say that. Now when someone checks their notification mid conversation, that really burns me."
Up & Up
"When someone feels the need to one up you on everything you say."
"Had a coworker like this once, his one upping was so bad we would test it. Best one was a guy talking about catching a shark on a pole at the beach. He interrupted with the time he swam out a mile and got attacked by a shark and beat it and swam back with it."
"When they start saying nasty things about people they barely know."
"I have family like this. I once heard them go on on this rant about how the new waitress at their local coffee shop is fat and ugly. They made a thousands assumptions about this woman that included criticism to her service."
"Or start sh*t talking someone the second they leave the room. My dad's sisters do that, I was stuck in my parents house alone with them and I would get so paranoid every time I left the room. If they do that to each other, I can’t image the crap they talk about me."
War of Words
"When they ask for your opinion or talking about something fully subjective and then tell you how you are objectively wrong or get offended by you nor agreeing."
"Similar, but not quite the same: my old roommate would correct me on things that were objective, and not like facts."
"Like I mentioned it was hard for my folks to get a mortgage because they were self employed and he correct me that it wasn't. He wouldn't believe the story i was telling and told me what he thought might have happened with no knowledge on the subject."
"Needless to say I moved out."
Blah BlahBored Chris Rock GIF by BounceGiphy
"When it feels like you're engaging a combination lock just to get responses to simple innocent pieces of a conversation. People who small talk you to death."
I swear small talk people should be arrested for attempted murder.
UselessGolden Girls Rose GIF by TV LandGiphy
"When someone drags a story out with useless details. Like something that happened on the drive to work but they start the story at the point when they first woke up and what they had for breakfast. Just get to the point!"
"When they interrupt me mid sentence."
"If it sometimes happens on accident whenever they think of something and get over-excited it’s whatevs. Now when they constantly step over you it’s like your opinion merely feels like filler at best and they ain’t even listening. Not even worth the energy to continue at that point."
"One of my coworkers only listens long enough to figure out what she's going to say next, and then she interrupts. I guess we're only there to feed her lines."
"When someone gives you completely useless advice you didn't ask for. A couple weeks ago I mentioned to a coworker that I was glad to be going home because I didn't get more than a couple hours of sleep."
"Dude first of all had the audacity to say 'Well, you need to do better.' When I said I have medication resistant insomnia he looks at me like I'm an idiot and asks if I've tried melatonin."
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that. And it doesn’t take you very long to spot one of them, does it. Take you about eight seconds. You’ll be listening to some guy, and say, this guy is f**king stupid. Then, then there are some people, they’re not stupid. They’re full of crap."
"Huh, that doesn’t take very long to spot, either, does it. Take you about the same amount of time. You’ll be listening to some guy, saying, well, he’s fairly intelligent. Ah, he’s full of s**t. Then there are some people, they’re not stupid, they’re not full of s**t, they’re freaking nuts."
Gross...Disgusted Emma Stone GIFGiphy
"Sexualization. We're talking about a new video game and suddenly I get asked if I play naked, or if I'm turned on by a game mechanic or some such nonsense. Yuck."
Good conversation is hard to keep these days.
Do you have any conversational red flags to add? Let us know in the comments below.
People Describe The Most Intense Moment Of Their Life That They'll Never Forget
Moments of distress where you think your life is on the line are unshakable.
Many people have at one point experienced situations where they thought they wouldn't come out the other side alive but are somehow spared through some miracle.
They are lucky enough to tell their stories.
From mild to wild, strangers online shared their most humbling experiences when Redditor Intelligent_Role_675 asked:
"What was the most intense moment of your life?"
Traffic accidents were a common example in which Redditors feared for their lives.
The Universe Had Other Plans
"My ancient, used car randomly decided to stop working while I was doing about 70mph on the freeway. I skidded out, couldn't gain control of the skid, and slammed straight into a metal guardrail. I crashed through the guardrail, flew off the side of the freeway, and impaled my car halfway through a tree. I was perfectly fine afterwards, but my car was a smoking wreck. It was virtually unrecognizable as an automobile, it was so messed up. But I was ok. Not a scratch on my body."
"The moment my car spun out of control, and I knew I was going over the edge at that speed, I assumed I was going to die. I gripped the wheel, closed my eyes, and made my peace with the universe."
"For some reason, the universe decided it wasn't done with me. I was shocked to open my eyes and find myself alive and unharmed. Truly shocked. I thought for sure I was going to die."
"To this day, I'm always a little bit shook whenever I drive past that section of the freeway. For years, you could see the skid marks on the road. They cleared them off eventually, but it took a long-a** time."
Reclaiming Loose Articles
"I had a wreck years ago. A semi clipped the front passenger side with its trailer and sent me spinning, then started to flip when my car got caught by those metal cable barriers. I was going backwards down the interstate as the cables just shredded the passenger side of my car. The trunk busted open and I saw a tote bag that was holding my hair stuff and makeup fly in front of me as my car was trying to stop. When it started to flip, my head bounced off the driver's side window."
"Finally, when it was over, I was sitting there just stunned. Then, my stupid brain decided I needed to walk out on the interstate to go find my flatiron. Because apparently I thought, hey, I have head trauma, but I can still look good🤦♀️."
There are heroes around us.
Trapped In A Burning Car
"Driving to work one morning. Icky, rainy day, lots of highway traffic. I assume a car hydroplaned in front of me but it was far enough ahead that I couldn’t tell exactly what happened. Took out several other cars with him. Highway was basically completely blocked."
"I was essentially the first car to pull up on the wreck and one of the more badly damaged cars was already on fire. Myself and a couple strangers run up to the car and realize his door is jammed. One of the guys starts kicking the window. I’m not sure how much time has passed (probably not much) but you can feel the heat and making eye contact with this dude you can see the fear in his eyes."
"I ran to the passenger side and as I’m pulling on the handle the driver is kicking on the door from the inside. It popped open enough that I was able to grab a portion of the door itself and we were able to pull it open and pull him out."
"I went to work but I shook for hours from the adrenaline."
The River Wild
"Saving a woman from drowning. We were River tubing in a river that was way way more aggressive than normal. Long story short a woman got dumped off her tube and pinned under a log next to me. I had to bail on my tube and fight to get to her and pull her up, she was under for a few minutes. I was shaking for hours after. Two teenagers died there the next day."
"Moral of the story, if you’re going river tubing and the tubing company that normally runs there isn’t operating it’s probably because it’s unsafe."
These Redditors didn't know what hit them.
The Human Body Is Unpredictable
"Two and a half yrs ago I woke up halfway on my way to work with blurry sight and an immobile body. I assume it was on a sidewalk. I remember I wondered if I had died, but quickly shifted to a theory of suddenly gotten drunk on a tuesday morning. But that didn’t make any sense. Couldn’t grasp what was going on, really. Suddenly an older man rushed to me and asked if I was ok. I said yeah. He told me to lie still. Looked concerned. An ambulance came and took me to the nearest ER - about 1 km down the road. It was a stroke. Still puts me off a bit when I think about it. Occasional aphasia, but pretty much fine now."
The Wrong Shot
"Had a severe allergic reaction and collapsed in the stairs of the cultural history museum. I had been prescribed penicillin a few days earlier. It turns out that this particular type of penicillin can cause me to die."
"Took four 9mm rounds to the chest while delivering pizza."
"Was delivering to a party, and some kids jumped out and pointed a gun at me. When I first saw the gun I thought it was some kids trying to prank me with a bb gun or something. I heard 4 loud bangs. Next thing I know I was on the ground and I felt them tugging on my keys that I had clipped to a belt loop."
"I remember one of them actually crying, and I remember him saying sorry over and over."
"Don't know how long I was there but that party I was supposed to deliver too emptied out and I remember hearing a lot of crying and screaming. I just remember some guy saying, 'don't close your eyes dude, stay with me.'"
"Ambulance got there and picked me up, and from there it was going in and out, felt like I was just a passenger in my own body."
"The kids who mugged me and stole my car got picked up like 20 mins later at a gas station trying to use my card to fill the car. They all ended up going away for several years, and I got 4 scars that raise eyebrows everytime I go to the beach."
Part Of The Atmosphere
"Probably jumping out of a plane. Unfortunately I don't remember the first few seconds, which was exactly what they warned us would happen. You go from a somewhat known environment into an entirely new one and I guess it's literally just too much to process. Next thing I knew, I was under canopy, and I knew what to do with that."
The Big Tremor
"I was stationed in South Korea in 2015-2016. This was when the north had been initiating a wave of nuclear tests. It was a Monday evening, me and some of the guys from my shop were taking a Korean language class on base after hours (basic sh*t like how to tell a cab driver where you were going, etc)"
"The heightened tensions because of the nuclear test had everyone pretty on edge. The classroom we were in had no windows, and we couldn't see outside. The building started shaking, violently. We all thought it had happened, and the world was about to end."
"In reality, A 5.8 earthquake hit not far from base."
"Once we walked outside, didnt see a mushroom cloud, and realized we hadn't become the ww3 rapid response force, we all had a good laugh about it. But for about 2 minutes, it was the opposite of funny."
Almost losing a loved one can be the scariest thing in life.
A Father's Worst Nightmare
"When my son was 2.5yo he had a febrile (fever-induced) seizure in my arms. I thought he was dying - scariest, most intense moment of my life."
"He’s fine now. Never re-occurred, but we went after any fever hard with alternating Tylenol and Advil for both him and his brother after that."
"My special needs son had his first seizure when he was 1. My wife was in Mexico for a wedding and I heard him breathing funny, like snoring. I looked at him and he was grey and unresponsive. I was terrified, I didn't know whether to do CPR or what. I called my mother in law who is a nurse but I couldn't reach her. He came out of it after about 2 minutes and I just held him and held him. He's had like 50 seizures since then, some of them lasting upwards of 20 mins. He had one this morning, actually. Every time it happens we think it might be his last. The scariest part to me is that I know it will start as any normal day then my life will change forever."
These moments shared by Redditors are a reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
And whenever we encounter a life-threatening situation and end up living long enough to tell the story, each day following is a blessed day to be alive.
We can't ever prepare for the worst, but we can embrace the present with every fiber of our being.
Everyone has their own opinion about what qualifies as a good read, whether based on literary merit or the joy of reading it.
But there are some titles that people can pretty easily agree took a turn that really didn't do the book any favors.
Redditor 2D_brain asked:
"What's the worst book you've ever read?"
50 Shades of Grey
"'50 Shades of Grey.' It's just the worst. Not remotely interesting. There is way better erotica out there. Way better. This is just the worst."
The Darksword Trilogy
"'The Darksword Trilogy' by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It started out as a decent enough swords and sorcery series. Nothing special, but an amusing time-waster."
"Then, towards the end of the last book, a wormhole opens up, and the US Army invaded their fantasy realm."
"I’ve read 'Mein Kampf' for a history project and it definitely is the worst piece of literature I've ever read."
"Not only by the message, which already would make it the worst, but it’s just horrible writing. Feels more like an angry social media comment than a book."
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
"I want to tack on 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,' as well. It's not literal Nazi propaganda, but it basically perpetuates Nazi myths like the Clean Wehrmacht and has you sympathize with the Nazis. In fact, not any Nazi, but an SS and leader of the Auschwitz camp."
"But even ignoring the plot itself, the book is so awful. It's full of historical inaccuracies. It claims to aim to bring awareness of the Holocaust to a young audience, but there are so many better literary works including those written by actual children as they went through the experience. But nope, let's go with the historically inaccurate book written by someone with basically no connection to the Holocaust (like, not Jewish, minority, researcher, that kind of thing) stupid drivel."
"So, of course, it made millions and got a movie out of it. There are now millions of children who think this story is true and might have become more sympathetic to Nazis as a result as well. None of that money (last time I checked, has admittedly been a while) went towards anything relating to education (or awareness...) regarding the Holocaust or anything else related or tangentially related to the Holocaust."
"I hate this book. It's nonsense and it is insidious."
Go Ask Alice
"'Go Ask Alice' when you’re old enough to realize it’s just propaganda to scare kids and not an actually found diary of a drug user."
Go Set a Watchman
"'Go Set a Watchman.'"
"'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a masterpiece. Her first book, it won the Pulitzer and then Harper Lee lived the rest of her life a recluse, never publishing another work. UNTIL… her caretaker/grifter sister came forward right before Harper passed away and announced to the world that there actually was another book, a sequel to TKAM."
"It was awful. Poorly written, boring story, rehashed characters…except for Atticus Finch. In Mockingbird, he was one of the greatest characters in american literature. In Watchman, he was a dime-a-dozen redneck racist. There was clearly a reason she never published it."
"'Wicked.' My wife and I listened to the audiobook on a road trip because friends had invited us to see the play. It was way too long and I remember it seeming like it was written by several different writers who didn't really communicate with each other."
"One was a totally nuts conspiracy theorist, another was on a really bad acid trip, and another was a child from a strict household who'd been told they could use no-no words and say naughty things all they wanted."
"We came super close to making up an excuse to not see the play but luckily we didn't. The play was actually terrific! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend going. Just skip the book."
"Everything after Book Three of the 'Maximum Ride' series. I use them as my go-to examples of bad writing and they are what made me entirely lose faith in James Patterson. The last book especially cost me so many brain cells."
"I wish I'd had the foresight to stop with Book Three, but I finished the whole thing. The last book was... interesting. The whole thing had the most self-contradicting plot and conflict stuffed with a hasty attempt to wrap up loose ends by just killing everyone and just as the cherry on top, the sky explodes in the end? I don't know, it was kind of unclear."
The Divergent Trilogy
"I loved that series so much until that ending..."
The Dune Prequels
"'The Dune' prequel books written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Talk about missing the point of the original series! They read like a YA fan fiction based in the Dune universe."
"I was hoping someone would mention Colleen Hoover, if only to talk about how absolutely terrible and hilarious her book 'Slammed' is. Reading it was honestly just such a ridiculous experience that I may never find again in another book."
"'The Necronomicon.' I found it pretty boring and repetitive after the first five pages. Got halfway and said f**k this and read 'Good Omens' again."
"'Darling Girl' by Liz Michalski. It’s a Peter Pan spinoff where Peter Pan impregnates Holly Darling, Wendy’s daughter, and then abandons them, and when the girl is a teenager, Peter tries to take the daughter back."
"I couldn’t stomach the idea of Peter Pan, a childlike figure, impregnating someone and all that ick. Peter Pan is 'the boy who never grew up.' But he’s a father now? No thanks. I got about 30 pages in, and literally gave up."
"'The Fountainhead.' I was going to put 'Atlas Shrugged' down until I remembered how much worse 'The Fountainhead' was. And yes, I read both; any suffering inflicted by 'Atlas Shrugged' was something I deserved."
Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and they should not be ashamed to read what they love to read. But they also should not feel bad about wasting time on a book they are not enjoying, when there are hundreds and thousands of books out there that they'll love that they could read instead.
Some people don't take in information as quickly as others.
Which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, nor does it necessarily reflect on one's intelligence.
Even so, we all can't help but feel the tiniest embarrassed when we've found ourselves a little slow on the uptake regarding certain pieces of information.
Be it a random fact of trivia that everyone knows, or even realizing there's a reason your parents were trying to instill a life lesson in you.
Being hit by a ton of bricks might actually be a welcome relief to the embarrassment that will run through your body.
"What did you learn embarrassingly late in life?"
It's Hard To Love Others If You Don't Love Yourself
"Trying to treat myself as I would others."
"The ol' reverse golden-rule."- kageroshajima
Hey, It Worked!
"My grandmother had a clock that would break if anyone touched or tried to move it."
"I always found that curious."
"Then some time in my 30s my wife and I were talking and it came up."
"I was wondering how they moved it out of their house after they passed."
"As I was explaining, 'I think it must have had some delicately balanced mechanism or something that would be disrupted if moved...'
" My wife’s face made me quickly realize it was just a lie told to young me to keep my dirty clumsy hands off of it."
"Also, I’m an engineer."- P-eh-triot
Do We Ever Really Grow Up?
"There's no such thing as 'feeling like an adult'."
"I'm 34 and still forget I'm an adult sometimes lol."- scelestai
Hey, It's Not For Everyone...
"Riding a bike at 15."- Graehaus
"That my height shapes how people perceive what I say."
"I'm a 6'4 male with a deep voice."
"I learned it at 40 when I had a boss who was 6'6."
"I was suddenly aware of my own height and the power position, looking up to him."
"I realized pretty much everyone is looking up at me, and I began smiling more and asking people questions about themselves to reduce the power implications of my height."- ClydePincusp
Easy To Get Tripped Up On Exotic Spellings
"How to say the last name Nguyen."- TD-Eagles
Though It Wouldn't Surprise Many If She Did...
"Martha Stewart does not own Martha's Vineyard...."- valhalla-at-your-grl
Shouldn't Be The Case... But Sadly Often Is...
"Hr is there to protect the company, not you."
"Hr is not your friend."- Puzzleheaded-Mood689
Just Focused On The Wrong Possibilities
"It never made sense to me that we would go under tables during an earthquake, because wouldn't the ground crack open?"
"The table wouldn't do anything then?"
"Wasn't until last year I realized that it was to stop debris from falling on us."
Easy To Get Tripped Up On Math...
"4% of 25 is the same as 25% of 4."- cdn_gooner
A Penny Saved...
"The importance of saving money or buying property early."- wetpickle_antichrist
Too Many People Need Reminding Of This Every Day...
"Who I am is more important than how I look."- Lazy-Thanks8244
Oral Hygiene Is Tougher Than You Think
"How to brush my teeth."
"I was super neglected as a child so that is something I've always struggled with and even after going to a dentist for 2 years and having exams every 4 months I only learned last month that you need to brush your gums."- HersheySquirtz2014·
"I learned that we're supposed to brush both sides of our teeth."
"The inner side needs to be brushed as well."
"I saw all of the commercials just showing them brushing the outer portion so I assumed that this is the way."- FaTes-EnD
Your Life Is Yours To Live!
"That I don't have to become a mother if I don't want to."- detective_kiara
Needless to say, should you find yourself making this realization in certain company, you might be met with jeers and laughter.
But as the saying goes, "slow and steady wins the race".