My personal list:
1. Ulysses by James Joyce. I know, it's one of those Great Books. I just can't do stream of consciousness. I'd like to think I'm not too stupid, but I just don't have the patience.
2. Anything by Thomas Pynchon. Because my roommate after college implied that I wasn't cerebral enough to "get him." Hmpf.
3. Don Quixote. Sounds really boring, and reaaaallly long. Sorry, there are too many good books I still haven't read to suffer through that.
4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Didn't like All the Pretty Horses, and it sounds just too depressing. No thanks!
5. Anything by Stephenie Meyer. I have wasted too much time on her Twilight drivel. I'd like those hours back but I guess that's too much to ask.
6. Anything by Saul Bellow. As a former Chicagoan, this is sacrilege, but I started Humbolt's Gift and found it pointless.
7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I read As I Lay Dying, which I found confusing at first, but once I figured out all the characters it was pretty enjoyable. For the life of me I could not get past 20 pages of S & F. Stream of consciousness plus the constant changing of narrators is just too much trouble at this point in my life -- I have so many books on my to-read list, I am just going to pass on this one. But I admire those of you who have actually finished this and even enjoyed it..
8. Tropic of Cancer (and Tropic of Capricorn) by Henry Miller. Tried reading it after seeing Henry & June. There was so much sex and foul language in it, I couldn't figure out what the story was supposed to be about. I know, it's a groundbreaking, important book, blah blah blah. I'm not opposed to sex or swearing in books, but this seemed like it was just lots of sex and and language to shock people.
9. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. Saw the movie in college, it was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen next to A Clockwork Orange.
10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. See #9.
Now, so I don't feel like a complete idjit, I have to add a short list of some books that many other people hate that I have actually loved:
1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck -- for years I had Fear of Steinbeck because of this book. I could not put this down, thought it was fantastic. Yes, it's depressing and parts are a little disturbing, but it was so worth it.
3. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I was one of the few people not forced to read this in high school. I am so glad I read it as an adult when I could appreciate it. Ethan's another fascinating train wreck. It's so bleak but I've read it several times and it's still one of my favorites.
4. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. See #3. Not my first Wharton, but the one that made me a huge fan. Lily Bart is another heroine on a downward spiral, but I find her much more sympathetic than Emma Bovary.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Another book I somehow avoided in high school (my freshman English class watched the movie instead. What a crap teacher). The writing is so beautiful it's almost like poetry. I'd love to hear it read aloud, must get an audiobook next time.
Does anyone else have a favorite book that everyone else hates? What books will you never read? I'd love to read your love/hate lists.