Top Ten Tuesday: Classic Novels I Just Can’t Get Into

Posted September 5, 2017 by meezcarrie in Top Ten Tuesday / 55 Comments

Happy Tuesday! Today for Top Ten Tuesday, I’m talking about some classic novels that I’ve really tried to like… but I just can’t. Hopefully I will still have followers (and friends) after today’s post ๐Ÿ˜‰

This has got to be the most boring book ever written. I mean.. really … alll the chapters on whaling. Yawn. I have read it. For AP English. But never again.

I’ve tried to care about Catherine and Heathcliff. I just can’t. I’ve made it through like chapter 3.

Frankly, my dear, I just don’t give a you-know-what about Scarlett. In my opinion, she never truly rises above being a spoiled brat.

My husband loves this story.ย  I… don’t.

If I had to choose between this and The Odyssey, I’d pick The Odyssey.

Another one that my husband enjoyed and I didn’t… and I had to try and explain it to a high schooler from Japan! Go ahead. Be jealous. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two hormone-driven teenagers whose brilliant plan to be together ends with both of them dead? No, thanks!

Apparently I’m not into angsty coming-of-age stories. This probably explains why modern YA novels are hit and miss for me lol.

Considering how many times this book is mentioned in my author interviews, I’m a little afraid of being ridden out of town on the rails for admitting that I don’t really like it ๐Ÿ˜‰ But … I just don’t like animal novels as a general rule.

This is the only book in L’Engle’s time quintet that I don’t like. This one felt different to me… and it was more sensual/earthy than I was comfortable with.

So… which classics DO I love?

I’m so glad you asked!






What about you? Which classic novels can you just not get into?


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55 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Classic Novels I Just Can’t Get Into

  1. marlene

    Never understood Romeo & Juliet. Read “Stone Angel” by Margaret Laurence for school but found it a hard book to read. Always wondered how people who don’t enjoy reading could get through some of these books that I had troubles with.
    Enjoyed ‘Tess of the D’ubervilles’ by Thomas Hardy, ‘1984’ & ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury, ‘Lord of the Flies’ William Golding (yes I know it’s a bit of a disturbing story), ‘The Chrysalids’ & ‘The Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham

  2. I’m with you on Wuthering Heights. I also couldn’t finish Vanity Fair, Catch-22, or most of Anthony Trollope. I struggled through Dickens and Tolstoy … meaning I read the words but don’t remember the plots.

    I loved all things Austen, Anne Bronte, and definitely The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. And Daddy Long Legs.

  3. Bwahahaha. This post is hilarious. I agreed with almost all your don’t like Classics except for The Odyssey and Beowulf. I love them. But yeah, Romeo & Juliet…I just can’t.

    As for your loved ones, you lost me with The Secret Garden. *ducks* sorry.

    • Carrie

      Maybe you could explain The Odyssey and Beowulf to me some day. Although, my husband has tried too lol. And WHAT?!? You don’t like The Secret Garden?!?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Rebecca Maney

    I too, loved “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, but I also loved “Gone With the Wind”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Wuthering Heights”.

    “The Little Princess”, “Little Women”, “Swiss Family Robinson”, . . . I read so many classics, because that’s what I had available . . . . and I share your dislike of “The Odyssey”, but I never liked anything by Edgar Allen Poe; “The Pit and the Pendulum” did it for me.

    Great post!

    • Carrie

      i don’t actually like The Pit & The Pendulum either so I’m ok with you not liking Poe lol. My grandfather loved Poe’s work and he gifted me a collection of his stories … and I fell in love with some of them. But not all….

  5. Well, that’s interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually love some of the books you hate. But I also love some of the books you love too, so we’re even. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read a LOT of classics when I was in university and I agree, some I could easily forget. But Gone With the Wind?? Hmm. You should try it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carrie

      LOL i knoooow. You are not the first person to tell me this. But… have you SEEN my tbr pile lately? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. neils

    I totally agree! Don’t you think teenagers especially would actually enjoy reading if they got to read more books that are actually good ? Reading is such a key to being well educated…I think if we could get kids reading and loving to read at a young age it would translate to better academic performance. Wuthering heights was terribly boring-ah i hated it. Also The Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce–So bad! Oh I didn’t like the Scarlet Letter either….Promise I do love to read! Haha not the classics though

  7. Hi Carrie!
    You won’t find me running you out of town. There are some classics that I find difficult to read (Beowulf) and frankly, boring (Moby Dick). I am finding that I can listen to classics in an audio format, especially those with more challenging language, better than I can read them; just a thought in case you want to give a spurned classic another try. I do try to read at least one classic per year. This year it was Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini, which I was surprised to find I enjoyed. If you read it, let me know what you think. Happy Reading!

    • Carrie

      oh that’s an interesting idea – i hadn’t thought of trying audiobooks for some of these. Hmm… thanks, Stacey!!

      • marlene

        I did audio for a couple of Jane Austin books because I knew I’d never read them but wanted to get through them. I find Audio works great for that. I just have to get down to listening to Tolkien’s “Similron” on audio now

  8. Oh my goodness, my top ten Tuesday list also involved the classics. I too included Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights. To be honest, I like some classics, but as a general rule, I have a hard time enjoying them.

  9. Poinsettia

    I love your list! I read Many Waters a long time ago, and I’m remember liking it. Edgar Allan Poe is amazing! Jane Austen, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the Hobbit are also wonderful. I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities, but I have read and enjoyed Great Expectations. Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

  10. Persuasion. Sooooooooo boring. Love the movie adaptations, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I did love Beowulf and The Odyssey, but I’m totally with you on Romeo & Juliet. Hated it in high school. Hated it in college. Hated it when I had to teach it to international students. I love (or tolerate, depending on the play) most Shakespeare, but not that one. Just no.

    • Carrie

      Now … on Persuasion… I agree with you BUT it has some of the greatest romantic lines! So I have to mark that in its favor ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Man, Carrie, we hate some similar classics. I was an English major too. I’m supposed to dig all that stuff, right?


    Moby Dick–Call me bored.
    Portrait of Lady–How about a portrait of all kinds of other ways to spend my time wisely?
    And I wish Jane Austen knew about deep point of view. Anything with an omniscient POV I find… tough. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I looooved, though, Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. Short story, I think. So good! And The Great Gatsby too. Talk about an honest book about finding everything you think will make you happy and realizing it won’t.

  12. Winnie Thomas

    Okay, I’m with you on most of your top ten, except for Gone With the Wind. Yes, she was a spoiled brat, but Rhett Butler. . . ! This book looks very impressive on your reading shelf, and you can always put it in your purse when you need to purse-whomp someone. It really adds some oooomph to the whomp!

    I LOVED The Secret Garden. It was one of my favorites when I was young (which was a loooong time ago).

  13. I get swoony about The Secret Garden. I loved it as a child and reread it a few years ago and found that I loved it just as much if not more! Same with The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. I never was a big Romeo and Juliet fan. When people talk about how romantic it is I always want to say “you know they both died right? Because they didn’t verify the facts before they offed themselves.” but I typically don’t! I did enjoy A Separate Peace but I think it’s more because of what else I had to read at the time (lots of Hawthorne) and it was short. Also I was maybe 16 so I think that’s probably the right age for angst. I have zero patience for it now. Great list!

    • Carrie

      โ€œyou know they both died right? Because they didnโ€™t verify the facts before they offed themselves.โ€ – hahahaha!!! YES. This.

  14. I agree on Wuthering Heights! Couldn’t get into that. I managed to finish Vanity Fair, but it could have been half the length–and it still would have been dissatisfying!

    We share a lot of favourites too. Sadly, no top ten from me this week. Just too busy!

  15. Wuthering Heights is pretty dark. I did love Gone with the Wind, because I really love headstrong heroines, like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair (one of the few books I have read twice!). I looove The Great Gatsby (that writing! So poetic!), and Thomas Hardy has written some of my fave books (though most of his are bleak). I don’t care much for Hemingway and I really can’t get into Dickens. I enjoy short stories like DH Lawrence’s and O Henry’s. I did like Many Waters, but I liked A Ring of Endless Light more. I could talk classics for hours, and I only wish I had time to read more of them. Oh, and one I couldn’t finish would be The Catcher in the Rye. I just never understood the hype!

  16. I read gone with the wind. And I agree about Scarlett. Ugh. Anna Karenina I had a hard time getting into. Altho8gh war and peace was good! The Pilgrims Progress is one I have a tough time reading:/

    • Carrie

      yea…. that’s another one my husband loves (Pilgrim’s) that I just can’t get into as much as he does

      • marlene

        Try the children’s adapted version by Helen Taylor. While reading the adult version so much later, all I could do was compare it to the children’s version which I rather enjoyed, so much so that I have a copy on my shelf for my niece.

  17. Great Post!
    I’m terrible when it comes to reading classics. I find them so hard to get through. The only classics I’ve ever enjoyed are Great Expectations, Narnia and the Secret Garden.

  18. I love love love Pride and Prejudice, A Wrinkle in Time, and Narnia, so I agree with you on those.
    I’m also struggling to get into Gone With the Wind, but there is still something about the writing style and historical background that fascinate me, so I’ll keep on trying.

    I don’t like animal books either, so I won’t even try with Black Beauty. I’m so glad you did the classic edition of this theme! This was a great post!

  19. Sunshine S.

    I echo nearly everything on your lists! I was an English major and just. could. not. get into Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, Moby Dick, The Odyssey, or Beowulf (and some of those I had to read more than once, ugh!). Another one I was somehow required to read for THREE classes and disliked immensely was The Scarlet Letter. Now, Jane Eyre, any of Jane Austen’s books, The Secret Garden, and anything by C.S. Lewis, on the other hand….

  20. In college “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was a book choice to analyze for a Children’s Lit class I was taking. Of course, the book as I come to looking up information on it mixes wiccan occultism into the storyline unbeknownst to the reader. Some dub C.S. Lewis as Christian author that they would have you believe this is Christian reading though. The main “good” main characters themselves recite wiccan chants.

    • Carrie

      i respectfully disagree – the analogy here to Christianity is so strong and so clear. I think a lot of people just try to find things to become outraged and/or paranoid about. CS Lewis isn’t a wiccan bandwagon to jump on. Aslan is such a beautiful picture of Jesus that to miss it because of something that isn’t there is a shame.

    • Carrie

      I should also point out that, growing up in a city overrun with the occult and witchcraft and Satanism, I am very educated to such things and even more sensitive to them. I have no problems with Lewis, Tolkien, or Rowling’s books.

  21. Marilyn

    I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen. Many of her books are full of shilly-shally[is this a word?] to me. I do like “Tess D’Urbville”. “Little Women” is a favorite. “”David Copperfield” was read every Friday in my 8th grade English class. That could be the reason I liked and understood the book. I tried Scott Fitzgerald, not to my liking. I did not finish the book. “Gone With The Wind” I did enjoy. I am not too keen on Shakespeare either. “Wuthering Heights” is a favorite also. “Black Beauty” is a favorite read.I probably will think of more cons and pros after I send this. Thanks for your list.

  22. Adrienne

    I hated Wuthering Heights. Also not a fan of Jane Eyre. And A Separate Peace has the grand distinction of being the only book I’ve ever thrown against the wall TWICE because I hated it so much. I read it twice, years apart. The first time I read it voluntarily and hated it, but then when I had to read it again for 10th grade English, I thought maybe I’d just been too young the first time I read it. Nope. Still hated it. Threw it against the wall again.
    Romeo and Juliet…I don’t like it as a love story (because it’s NOT!), but I do like discussing it and character motivations, idiotic teenage decisions, and stuff like that.
    Also hate: Catcher in the Rye, One Flies Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and anything by Steinbeck.

    • Carrie

      hahahah! I didn’t throw A Separate Peace against the wall but i remember feeling like doing so ๐Ÿ˜›

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