Great Books… for Putting You to Sleep

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Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust:  You know how Seinfeld is a show about nothing?  This is an epic series of books about exactly that.  It is beautifully written and supremely dull.  I managed to finish the first three books of Proust’s masterwork but only because my alternatives to reading Proust involved spending time with the in-laws.  The whiny tone to Remembrance of Things Past make the experience like taking a seven hour bus trip when the person next to you is a chatty hypochondriac…

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Wuthering Heights:  To be honest, I started reading this book because I wanted to know what “wuthering” was.  It was important to me to know if I had ever wuthered at any time in my life.  I never found out.  What I got for my efforts was the dreariest romance imaginable, set in what was essentially a swamp… in England.  You can only cram so much unwanted material into the human brain.  After a few pages, my consciousness would switch off and I would either fall asleep or go out and buy lottery tickets…

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Book of Laughter by Bennett Cerf:  This was a library book at my elementary school.  I had high hopes for it.  It was my first experience with being disappointed in a book.  Apparently, some vandal had broken into the library, removed all of the laughter from the book and replaced it with tedium.

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The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas:  You’d think a book starring the Three Musketeers would be more exciting; but, to get to the musketeers, you have to wade through page after page of gossip and intrigue.  And, the gossip part involves Aramis, the least interesting of the three musketeers.  This book is essentially one long drawn out conversation.

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Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck:  I’m a big Steinbeck fan; but, the layers of misery in this book are such an assault that I usually pass out in self-defense.  My father, who grew up in the Dust Bowl, enjoys the book and the movie… and, if I were someone who’d picked cotton at the age of four, I’d probably see Grapes of Wrath as more of a sitcom, too…

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Any book by Honore Balzac:  Legend has it that Balzac once wrote an entire novel in one sitting.  After reading his work, I have no trouble believing that.  Yes, I know he’s a “genius” and I’m not worthy to touch the hem of whatever garment the French wore during that era, but I still contend that he is to literature what sleeping pills are to everything.

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The Confidence Man by Herman Melville:  Most of Herman Melville’s works I consider to be mandatory reading for anyone with a penis; however, the man had a few misfires.  The Confidence Man is a cunning satire that reads like a formal proposal to install metal shelves on U.S. submarines.  Melville was like Aqua-man… only effective when he was around the ocean…

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Africa by John Reader:  Most probably have never heard of this book.  It definitely is an ambitious work, covering the African continent from prehistory to last Thursday.  The beginning of the book is so dull that I fell asleep while reading it in a tornado.

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The Iliad:  This book is exciting at the beginning… and the end.  The middle, however, reads like a gory repetitive travelogue.  As men fall in battle, Homer describes each death, the soldier’s name, where he was from and what that town or region was known for.  It’s actually pretty informative if you are looking for a place to vacation in Greece or Turkey and you don’t mind traveling across the ocean and thousands of years into the past. As it was original recited, I doubt anyone could’ve sat through those parts of the epic poem without nodding off; but Homer was too blind to see it…

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Purgatorio by Dante: Liked Inferno? Fascinated by the punishments doled out for all of the deadly sins? Found the crimes of the occupants of Hell compelling? Well, get ready for a lot less as Dante travels into Purgatory. He finally gets with his girlfriend in this one; but, still no hot sex. Is Purgatorio really that dull? Well, to this day, just from hearing the title, I fall unconscious like one of those fainting goats.

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Finnegan’s Wake: Note that “Wake” doesn’t refer to the state of the reader but more the death of one of its characters… or maybe the disturbance in the water as he was dragged behind a motorboat. I really don’t know because there is literally no WAY to tell what is going on in this book. I read a hundred pages a half page at a sitting and I know no more about the book than someone who has never heard of it…

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15 thoughts on “Great Books… for Putting You to Sleep

  1. You missed to of my not favourites – Milton Paradise Lost. I wish it had been lost and maybe not a classic but The Power of One by Bryce Courtney. I got it as a gift and laboured through it – on completion I threw it against a wall in disgust. When I worked in a bookstore and anyone asked about it I told them jumping off a bridge without a parachute was more fulfilling

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve read Paradise Lost twice. That being said, it almost made the list.

      You aren’t alone. I’ve thrown a LOT of books. I’ve never given a review as succinct as the bridge jump review you gave but it sounds like an accurate take on the book…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep in mind that I have a writing persona who may not agree with me, the person. That being said, Swann’s Way is probably one of the better books in the series because it concentrates less on the author…

      Good luck!

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    1. I’m glad SOMEBODY agrees with me. I worked with a Russian lady who highly recommended Balzac and monitored my progress on reading him. She really took it personally when I told her that he was pretty unreadable…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your list … and especially “Wuthering Heights”. I plowed my way through that book, expecting with every page that it would get better. After all, it was a classic I’d heard about my entire life. There must be SOMETHING good about it, right? Wrong! I hated everyone in the book and wanted them all to die horrible deaths. So, WH rocketed to the top of my “Worst Books Ever Written” list and has remained there without a challenger for 20+ years.

    Great list! Hope to see more soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha. I love this list. Why do we plough through to the end instead of putting it down? The hope that it will get better? You know generally after the first three chapters if it’s going to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

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