Top Ten Classics Dissed: Amazon Commenters Fight Back!

Recently, the blog Brain Pickings wrote a piece titled “The Greatest Books of All Time, as Voted by 125 Famous Authors.”  Well, apparently none of these “famous authors” consulted some of the people who had previously commented on their selections at Amazon.com. Here is a sampling of their….err…. opinions….

1.  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

“I ended up throwing this book away after reading about 5 chapters..if you enjoy reading the pedophilic ramblings of a perv, go for it! Yuk! And I’m a very open minded person but this book is just gross.”

2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“That book was the poorest excuse for literature I ever had the displeasure of reading. I did read it twice, but each time, I was disgusted with it. The characters in the story were worthless wastes of human flesh. Daisy was a ditz, Gatsby himself was a possessive stalker and everyone else didn’t have enough brains to realize that they were all being used!!”

3.  Ulysses by James Joyce

” ULYSSES is tiresome, tedious, and passe. The appeal of reading the mind wanderings of a pasty, weak pseudo-intellectual grows stale after the first dozen pages. For those enterprising readers such as myself who feel guilty dumping a Joyce work after only a chapter, read on. It gets worse. Confession: the genius mind-maze that is Joyce is sometimes just not worth exploring. One would have better luck escaping the Minotaur than successfully exiting this lingual labyrinth.”

4.  To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

“Someone needs to end the farce that Virginia Woolf is a good writer. Her work, to me, is neither thought-provoking nor well-written. I was really disappointed with this “work” and actually threw my copy into a box headed for Goodwill (not really good will to pass it on, but I had to get it out of my house)…and I never give away books. Let’s stop pretending folks… “.

5.  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

“The book starts nowhere, ends absolutely nowhere, and has little of interest in between. The characters are not interesting. They don’t do anything interesting. Their thoughts, the main feature of the book, are not interesting.”

6.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“Whomever claims this to be a great book needs their head examine or probably has been subjected to a lobotomy. This 900 page of rubbish is no more than a glorified, pompous, shallow soap opera nicely ensconced in a setting I would terrorize and throw rocks at with much enthusiasm. I gave it one star because it makes a much needed bookend on my shelf. Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, and even Raymond Chandler, trumps and surpasses this hail storm of snobbish prose. I propose a petition to burn all Anna Karenina novels from the face of the earth and implement a law of 10 years in prison if caught with this novel in your possession. There, I said it… “.

7.  Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

“Every time I have to help a high-school student or college freshman slog through Madame Bovary, I find myself wondering why the assignment isn’t a violation of the Geneva Convention. I’m as dedicated a soldier as any in the war against illiteracy, but there is such a thing as an inappropriate and inhumane weapon.”

8.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville

” I will tell you something…YOU haven’t read Moby Dick either. Why else would you be considering buying it? Most people who have read Moby Dick are just happy to have been done with it. I’m sure the majority of people who have read this classic novel/slapstick comedy indeed are overjoyed to have been at it and done with it. I bet they would never want to read even a long-winded review of it. So, there you are. Proof that you have not read Moby Dick, just as I have not read Moby Dick. Maybe you better just forget about Moby Dick entirely and just go have a nap. Maybe a cup of blended celery juice will fix you of the notion of reading Moby Dick. Come to think of it, maybe that would solve my bladder disease.”

9.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

“BY FAR the worst book I’ve ever had to read. I along with half of my class could read no more than one page of it without falling into a deep slumber. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it. Anyway, if someone does want to buy this book for some strange reason, I hope that they do not have Great Expectations for it, because they will be very disappointed at the end when their expectations aren’t fulfilled!”

10.  Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoevsky

“Reading C&P is like getting hit on the head with a sledgehammer, repeatedly. The author has a point to make; he makes it. Then, just in case you didn’t get it, he makes it again. And again. And again. There, now did you get it? The entire book could be condensed into a short story and still effectively convey the same message. And on a more minor note, shouldn’t *something* happy happen at least once in a novel? Shouldn’t there be at least one scene in which a little birdie chirps a happy song from a pretty tree? Does *everyone* have to be spitting up their lungs into the gutter on a dark and gloomy day? Sheesh!!”

4 Comments

  1. chazgallant

    I wholeheartedly concur with the review for #9. A prime example of backward masking on that title.

  2. oveeja

    I was disappointed by The Great Gatsby with everyone saying it’s a must read and a great achievement of American literature. It has really well structured writing in my opinion but that is as far as it got with me. It is such a boring read. As you said, I couldn’t feel sorry for Gatsby; nor could I empathize with him or any other character.

    I am currently reading “A Tale of two Cities” and I don’t know if it’s because I had too high expectations for this book (cause I like historical fiction and the French revolution), but I am not enjoying it as much as I expected to. It has taken me two weeks to read half of it when it normally takes me two or three days to read a book that thick.

    If you think Lolita is hardcore I wouldn’t recommend American Psycho.

    I was actually considering reading most of the books in this list, now I’ll give it a second thought.

  3. Siobhan

    Of all the books I’ve read on that list I completely agree. I’ll come back to you on the others if I can get around to reading them.

  4. Bookish Hobbit

    I loved reading Moby Dick. I don’t know what they’re talking about.

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