Talk about a great blog post! I filed it away for a dry day, and lo and behold, it looks like today is the day. So here for what it's worth is my list of books you should be very afraid of and, if you encounter them in a bookstore, reading group, college classroom, television adaptation, or dark alley, should summarily turn your back on and run screaming from in the other direction. (All you wordsmiths, please don't hassle me about the dangling prepositions, okay? I know they're there. But I'm not in the mood to do anything about it.)
I'm not going to justify my non-recommendations with lots of quotations and critical observations or wax eloquent of witty about them. I hated these books, remember? I've blocked the unpleasantness from my mind. So please don't ask me about plots and characters and themes and such. Just trust me. There are better ways to spend your time than reading these books.
1) Wuthering Heights - Interesting how many "hated" lists this one seems to make. It really is a dreary thing. But it's also a classic. If you've never read it and want to get the basics, you can do so courtesy of Monty Python, who some years back gave the world "Wuthering Heights in Semaphore."
(Be patient; Wuthering Heights is not the very first element of the skit.)
2. Life and Loves of a She-Devil - All I have to say is that I didn't choose to read this. It was assigned for one of my college literature courses. (All you parents that are getting ready to shell out big bucks for college degrees, consider yourselves fairly warned.) You can get an idea of the nature of the book here; to read the entire article, you have to be a member of the site. But why would you want to read the whole article? The first page is should suffice to steer you clear of this book.
3. Equus - also read for college literature. From Wikipedia (full article here): "Equus is a play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man who has a pathological religious/sexual fascination with horses. . . . Most important are religious and ritual sacrifice themes, and the manner in which character Alan Strang constructs a personal theology involving the horses and the supreme godhead, 'Equus.' Alan sees the horses as representative of God and confuses his adoration of his 'God' with sexual attraction." Enough said.
By the way, this is the play for which Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, in case you've been marooned on a desert island for the last decade) disrobed on Broadway.
4. Henry James
5. Romantic and Victorian British poetry
Wonder if the presence of numbers four and five on my list has anything to do with the fact that I took full semesters of each as a grad student in English literature?
If you're a bibliophile and want to play, feel free to jump right in with a comment or go to it on your own blog. Time is of the essence when you're my age and I don't want to waste any in reading purgatory when there's plenty out there capable of launching me straight to reading heaven!