Back in 1950, Columbia University Press polled hundreds of editors, writers, booksellers, librarians, literary critics, and general readers in order to produce a list of the 10 most boring books among the great classics. The winners were:
Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan
Don Quixote, Cervantes
Silas Marner, Eliot
Life of Samuel Johnson, Boswell
Faerie Queene, Spenser
Paradise Lost, Milton
Moby Dick, Melville
Such lists are always entirely subjective. For instance, I would question how anyone could produce such a list and not include anything from French literature. Take Remembrance of Things Past. That has to be up there among the great snoozers of all time.
Taught by Simon Critchley, who explains that he intends it partially to be "a way of mocking creative-writing workshops." Full article at the New York Times:
With Mr. Critchley kneeling before a blackboard on Saturday and his 15 attendees gathered tightly around, class began with a discussion of the shifting ethics of suicide, from antiquity to modern-day Christianity to right-to-die debates in the news media.
The suicide note, which he identified as a literary genre with a unique form, is a fairly recent invention coinciding with the rise of literacy and the press, he told the class.
“In antiquity, there was no need to leave a note,” he said. "It would have been obvious why you killed yourself."
His sentences were as eccentric as his plots. Viz:
"I know how to get to the inside of a chilled-steel receptacle with no more noise than a cockroach, drunk after emerging from an uncorked gin-bottle in a garbage can, would make as he sneaked back to Mrs. C., waiting up to biff him on the beezer for leaving her to mind the youngsters while he went skyhooting. "
Edward Packard invented the "Choose Your Own Adventure" genre, which made him a good living -- and still does. According to wikipedia, he recently started a company to bring Choose Your Own Adventure apps to the iPhone and iPad. Packard may also have caused an entire generation of kids to be confused about their identity: