- quotes in Remembered Yesterdays, Robert Underwood Johnson
To me his prose is unreadable--like Jane Austin's [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane's. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.
- Letter to W. D. Howells, 1/18/1909
Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.
- Following the Equator
I haven't any right to criticise books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
- Letter to Joseph Twichell, 9/13/1898
Wow, some harsh words there Mark Twain! As a bit of a Jane-ite, I have to disagree with his statements but the fact remains that there are definitely books (and authors) out there that I do not care for. Take a deep breath, my friends, in order to be prepared to gasp.
Charles Dickens - with possibly the exception of "Great Expectations"... I don't know what precisely it is about his plot lines that rub me up the wrong way, but I won't ever read his texts of my own volition. I had to read "Hard Times" for a paper this year, what a prophetic title that was.
J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" - I know that it's meant to be a classic, but if I wanted to listen to some perpetually whinging self involved teenagers I'd become an English and Drama teacher... oh wait, I am :P. Plus the excessive use of "goddamn" becomes really grating after a while.
Harry Potter - ALL of them. I opened the first book and just couldn't get into the storyline. Subsequently I have not seen ANY of the movies, nor read any of the books.
Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" - While I love the idea of the story and the belief that love should be mad, passionate and endure for ever, the thing is so damn hard to read. Her sister's novel Jane Eyre follows a similar track and is ever so much easier to read. I also cannot forgive a novel that inspired the ear-splitting caterwauling namesake by Kate Bush that my dad likes to listen to.
Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" - I read this novel through to its conclusion and felt oddly dissatisfied. I'm actually interested in going and seeing the movie of this to find out whether this is the exception to the rule "The book is always better than the movie"... and whether I can make more sense of it.
Are you scandalised? Do you agree? Or have you gasped so sharply that you've made yourself pass out? What books don't you care for?