The Bad Bits in Brilliant Books

So, I’ll just put it out there, I *love* classics! They’re practically my favourite thing in the whole world!! But for some reason- amazing authors like to punish us with the occasional dose of boredom! I mean, I’m currently reading War and Peace and a friend of mine has just told me to watch out for the boring bit (I guess I will have to wait and see about that- and you’ll have to wait for my review!). Why do they do that and what are they playing at? It’s literally like they almost want us to give up on their work in favour of something less impressive or well-written. Don’t believe me? Well, here are some examples:

anna karenina1- Anna Karenina– brilliant, brilliant book- but why does it have to begin and end with a discussion of agriculture? I don’t know why this book had to continue for another 100 pages after it was clear the story was over!

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middlemarch2- Middlemarch– another one with a lot of descriptions of the countryside. I mean that does make sense, since a huge part is dedicated to provincial life. So not only do you get the treat of these terribly dull passages- there are also lots and lots of irrelevant farmer characters to add to the boredom. No wonder I didn’t relate much to a lot of this book (but hey- if you’re a farmer, you’ll probably love it)

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les mis3- Les Miserables– so much of this book is phenomenal- however, every other part seems to be another awfully dull description. I figure this was Hugo’s thought process: forget Jean Valjean, let’s talk about a random priest for a hundred pages… I’m a bit bored of the plot- let’s talk about the history of the Napoleonic Wars… You know what would be good right now- an intricate discussion of Parisian sewers (yes, that’s actually a whole part)

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count of monte cristo4- Count of Monte Cristo– this is one of the most exciting books on the planet- but let’s face it, the history of telecoms bit is mind-numbingly boring. Fortunately this is the only hiccup in an otherwise stellar book.

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5- And finally… anything with stream of consciousness. Okay if you’ve read my last post then you’ll know I’m not a fan and so this can’t come as a big surprise. I have never liked books written in this style- it doesn’t matter how well-written it is or how well-loved the book is- I really just can’t stomach it. I can’t read Virginia Woolf, or James Joyce- and now it looks like I’m adding Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the list of authors I won’t touch with a barge pole. And you know why? Because they have so many boring bits!

So yeah- writing this post has only left me with more questions! Because, really, I am stumped by this one. Don’t get me wrong- I love good writing and a dense classic will usually make me shout “bring it on!” I just don’t understand why so many fantastic writers have to make me feel like I’m being punished for trying to read their work.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it just me? Or have you noticed this trend too? Why do so many of these brilliant works of literature have to have bad bits? Let me know what you think in the comments!!